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10 things you didn't know about Miguel Indurain

Miguel Indurain is Spain’s greatest cyclist and one of the best Tour racers in history. Alasdair Fotheringham, author of Indurain, lists 10 things you might not know about 'Big Mig'

1. His school nickname was Torpedo, but not because of his build, because of the baguette-sized giant sandwiches he’d bring to eat at break-time.

2. For years, he took the same book - a romantic novel -  to the Tour de France, but only because he would read the same half-chapter each evening before falling asleep - and then would have to go back to the beginning again, having forgotten what happened!

3. His father and his uncle married two sisters from the same farming family.

4. Indurain, despite being considered the Tour’s greatest time triallist, never kept a time trial bike in his home. 

5. Indurain’s brother, Prudencio, was also a rider in Banesto, Indurain’s team and he looked so similar to his brother when in race gear he was said to have signed autographs for Miguel.

6. The helmet Indurain used in his successful 1994 Hour Record bid is currently in the offices of the Club Ciclista Villavés, his old amateur club.

7. Indurain was legendary for never crashing in the Tour de France. But despite his considerable bike handling skills, he once crashed twice, in a Vuelta a Murcia race in the same day, because he had not got any sleep the previous night thanks to a team-mate’s snoring.

8. Until Bradley Wiggins won the Tour in 2012, Indurain was the tallest ever Tour de France winner.

9. Indurain is a very good card player.

10. When visiting Rome, Indurain once gave the Pope a mountain-bike.

More about the author

Indurain

Alasdair Fotheringham

Miguel Indurain is Spain’s greatest cyclist of all time and one of the best Tour racers in history. He is the only bike rider to have won five successive Tours de France, as well as holding the title for the youngest ever race leader in the Tour of Spain. This is his story.

As the all-conquering hero of the 90s, Indurain steadfastly refused to be overwhelmed by fame; remaining humble, shy and true to his country roots. Along with his superhuman calmness, iron will-power and superb bike handling skills, he was often described as a machine. Yet 1996 saw Indurain, the Tour’s greatest ever champion, spectacularly plummet, bringing his career and supremacy to an abrupt end.

In Indurain, Alasdair Fotheringham gets to the heart of this enigmatic character, reliving his historic accomplishments in vibrant colour, and exploring how this shaped the direction taken by generations of Spanish racers - raising Spanish sport to a whole new level.

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