Riding High by Paul Howard
The Tour de France is a world-renowned sporting competition in which, since 1903, participants have battled not just with each other, but also with the vicissitudes of 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. Now, however, the event has been tarnished by the institutionalized doping of some riders and some teams and, 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 the contents of the local pharmacy in 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 2000 miles, was it possible to put a human face on a super-human undertaking? Could a fan's homage to the glories of the past and the legitimate heroes of today help the Tour regain its place as one of the most admired physical and sporting challenges? "Riding High" is Howard's diary of his experiences as he follows the Tour de France route from start to finish, at each stage sharing anecdotes from previous competitions and noting the historical highpoints that have made the Tour one of the most iconic sporting events in the world.