Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies
The rise and fall of bicycle racing's champions
By Les Woodland
Back to McGann Publishing's home page
Amazon Kindle eBook, 377 pages, $3.99
Publisher: McGann Publishing
When more than 100 men or women go racing down a road, inches away from each other, in all weather, over all kinds of roads, the opportunity for a brilliant win or a terrible accident is always there.
For more than a century bicycle racers have sought glory, but have often found only misery. There can be only one winner, and even that triumph can be mixed with terrible loss. Fausto Coppi, coached by a blind man, set the World Hour Record in Milan during the war while the city was being shattered by bombs.
Tom Simpson was world champion in 1965, but by 1967, he was nearly a has-been. Desperate to win the Tour de France, he took an overdose of amphetamines and died by the side of the road of heart failure, probably caused by dehydration triggered by the drugs that were to help him win.
Great joy and tragedy so close together.
Join cycling’s most accomplished writer, Les Woodland, as he explores the heroic, sometimes triumphant side of cycling, all the time reminding us that for every winner in cycling there have to be a hundred losers. Sometimes their tale is better or sadder than the winner’s.
We’ll go on a journey round fifty sites of success and sorrow. Some of them, tragically, combined.
Les Woodland discusses Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies
Les Woodland is a tall and balding man who never once troubled the judges in his lengthy and persistently unsuccessful career as a racing cyclist. Having failed to make even a mild profit at cycling, let alone a living, he took to writing about it and anything else that struck his fancy. That was in London in 1970. His mother dismissed the idea as no job for a grown man. Mrs. Woodland is no longer with us and her son now lives in southwest France. But somewhere unseen, she is shaking her head in despair.