Anquetil, Alone by Paul Fournel: a Romantic and Poetic Homage to one of Cycling's Greats

Cycling biographies can, let’s face it, be a bit of a bore sometimes. More often than not they’re an extended catalogue of a rider’s palmares and it can be difficult to get under the character’s skin. I’ve dutifully ploughed my way through many of those as I try to bone up on my cycling history, but it’s rare that you get an essence of the romance and poetry of bike racing.

Well, romantic and poetic are exactly the adjectives that spring to mind with this compact and concise book about Jacques Anquetil, the controversial cycling star of the 60s, told through the eyes of the novelist and cycling fan Paul Fournel.

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Richard Long's Portraits of Cycling Greats

While Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Geraint Thomas set off for the first day of the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia today, it seems apposite to look back on some of the great winners of this beautiful Grand Tour. Artist Richard Long has created a series of portraits of legendary cyclists from days gone by to help us do just that.

Influenced by vintage posters of the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s and illustrators like René Gruau, Richard’s portraits capture an essence of the glamour, glory and heroism of these cycling greats from another era. Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali and Jacques Anquetil are just the first of a series of  prints that he is working on at the moment. We caught up with him in his studio/bike shed in a village in the New Forest to find out what inspires him.

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