Books

Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape

Paul Howard

Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape is the astonishing biography of French cycling star Jacques Anquetil. For the first time since his death in 1987, it reveals the extraordinary truth behind the legend, the man and the cyclist.

His list of 'firsts' alone makes him worthy of a place in the cycling pantheon: the first man to win the Tour de France five times; the first man to win all three grand tours - the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España; and the first man to win both the Tour and Vuelta in the same year.

However, the extraordinary life of Anquetil does not stop at his achievements on a bike. He candidly admitted to using drugs, offended legions of fans by confessing that his only motivation for riding was financial and infamously indulged his enthusiasm for the high life. He also seduced and married his doctor's wife, had a child with her daughter and then sustained a ménage à trois with both wife and stepdaughter under the same roof for 12 years. When this 'family' eventually imploded, he attempted to inspire jealousy in his former lovers by having a child with his stepson's ex-wife.

Containing exclusive contributions from Anquetil's family, friends, teammates and rivals, Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape untangles myth from reality and confirms that fact is definitely stranger than fiction.

Two Wheels on my Wagon

Paul Howard

As bicycle races go, the attractions of the Tour Divide are not immediately apparent. For a start, it is the longest mountain-bike race in the world, running nearly 3,000 miles down the Rockies from Canada to Mexico. But the distance is not the only challenge - the total ascent of 200,000 ft is the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest nearly seven times.

Then there are the dangerous animals likely to be encountered on the route: grizzly bears, mountain lions and wolves, not to mention rattlesnakes and tarantulas. Worse, the rewards for all this effort are strictly limited. Unlike in the Tour de France, there is no fabled yellow jersey and no prize money.

Yet, undaunted, and in spite of never having owned a mountain bike, Paul Howard signed up. Battling the worst weather for generations, drinking whiskey with a cowboy and singing karaoke with the locals, Howard's journey turned into more than just a race - it became the adventure of a lifetime.

Riding High

Paul Howard

The Tour de France is a world-renowned, almost mythical sporting competition. Since 1903, participants have battled not just with each other but also with the terrain, mechanical hindrances, the occasional sadism of the organisers and even with the fans. The demands on the riders are so great that the achievements and rivalries of those involved have passed into sporting legend. Recently, however, the event has been tarnished by the institutionalised doping of some riders and teams. As a result, the authenticity of these very achievements and rivalries has been called into doubt.To find out whether an increasingly sceptical public could once again laud the exploits of the past century with conviction, club cyclist Paul Howard set out to complete the Tour - in the year of its 100th anniversary - on level terms with today's riders. But, instead of teammates, mechanics and possibly the contents of the local pharmacy as support, he had a handful of friends, his dad and a sense of humour to see him through. With only three weeks to complete over 2,000 miles, was it possible to put a human face on a super-human undertaking? Could a fan's homage to past glories help the Tour regain its place as one of the world's most admired sporting challenges? Riding High is Howard's diary of his experiences as he rides the Tour de France route from start to finish, setting off each day only hours before the professionals, at each stage sharing anecdotes and noting the historical highpoints that have made the Tour one of the most iconic sporting events in the world.

Biography

Paul Howard is a writer who contributes frequently to cycling magazines and the national press. His first book, Riding High, was shortlisted for the National Sporting Club's Best New Sports Writer prize. He is also the author of Two Wheels on my Wagon.