It is one of sport's toughest ordeals and the ultimate test for professional cyclists. The Tour de France sees riders pitted against all kinds of terrain and weather, in unrelenting competition with their rivals for three weeks. This entertaining book gives an insight into the mystique of the race and the unique fascination it has always exercised on devoted bike fans and occasional enthusiasts alike. It tells tales of great solo rides, amazing fortitude, terrible misfortune and triumph over the odds from the race's remarkable history, which began in July 1903. Within a few years, the Tour was taking the riders across the mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees and they had to carry out their own repairs, find their own food and drink and ride without support - a far cry from today's sophisticated organization. Combining meticulous research with a pacey narrative style, Fife paints a colourful picture of the men whose exploits have given the Tour an enduring universal appeal. Tour de France has been fully revised to include the 2003 race in the competition's Centenary year.