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We Were Young and Carefree: The Autobiography of Laurent Fignon

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  394 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
The international bestselling autobiography of twice-Tour-de-France-winner Laurent Fignon, one of the greatest and most charismatic cyclists of all time.

'One of the most charismatic and flamboyant cyclists in recent history' Daily Telegraph

Laurent Fignon is one of the giants of modern cycling. Twice-winner of the Tour de France in the early eighties, Fignon became the sta
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Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 10th 2010 by Yellow Jersey (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 763)
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Garrett
Jun 24, 2014 Garrett rated it liked it
Shelves: cycling
This an interesting read into Laurent Fignon cycling career. The book covers the cycling life very well but rarely mentions anything of his family life. I not sure if it me but he doesn't come across a like-able person in his book. He stop talking to his friend Alan because he goes to work for another team.He always complaining about the press and seem to rarely give interviews, what he expected jouranlists have to make a living by interviewing stars, he was the one the biggest cyclist of the 80 ...more
Nick Sweeney
Jan 24, 2013 Nick Sweeney rated it it was amazing
The autobiography of one of the men who, for a period in the 1980s, rescued French pro road cycling from the encroachments of Italians, Belgians and, almost, Americans. One of Fignon's most watched moments was his loss of the 1989 Tour de France to Californian* Greg Lemond by a mere eight seconds, and Fignon panders to the car crash watchers by beginning the book with this episode. His dignified riposte to strangers who said, "You're that bloke that lost the Tour de France by eight seconds, aren ...more
Gali
Aug 23, 2013 Gali rated it liked it
First, I should say that I deeply regret reading this in English because the translation seemed to be wonky and word-for-word a few times. I don't know if the original version is to be blamed, or did the translator just didn't try to write this out to be a good read.

Second, I'm part of the generation of 25-30 year old French people who mainly know Fignon from his cycling commentary work for France Télévision and archive footage of his wins. While he never seemed like the happiest of chaps, this
...more
Jtomassetti
Jan 18, 2016 Jtomassetti rated it liked it
"Aren't you the guy who lost the Tour by 8 seconds?" he answered "No, I'm the guy who won it twice."

LAURENT FIGNON, WE WERE YOUNG AND CAREFREE was first published in French in 2009. Laurent was born in 1960 and passed away from cancer in August 2010. About the time of his death the book was translated into English by William Fotheringham. Because it was written for a French audience there is not much explanation of cycling rules and tactics or the geography of France like one would find in cycli
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Peter
Dec 09, 2015 Peter rated it liked it
Laurent Fignon had an interesting story to tell unfortunately the way he tells it is a bit odd and I found it difficult to read. However I stuck it out and got used to the style. He was certainly a very talented rider as well as being a 'delicate' person and it's a bit sad that he will mostly be remembered as the person who lost the TDF in 1989 by 8 seconds rather then the person who won the TDF twice and also the Giro d'Italia and many other top races. The chapters on the time after his retirem ...more
Jacqui N
Apr 18, 2014 Jacqui N rated it really liked it
Laurent Fignon (and Bernard Hinault) were my cycling heroes in the 1980s. I did some local racing, and followed the professional racing scene closely. I subscribed to Velo News and Winning magazine. I haunted the foreign magazine shelves at Out Of Town News and the News Corner in Harvard Square for L'Equipe, Mirroir du Cyclisme, and Sport80, occasionally getting lucky to find something in Paris Match, the French version of People Magazine. With all that, Laurent Fignon disclosed as much in his a ...more
Steve
An unvarnished, yet fascinating story of a unique, iconic bicycle great, and one of the more unusual autobiographies I've read. With better editorial support (a broader perspective, less repetition, better vocabulary, and tighter editing), this book could have been a classic, but, it was a quick, fun, entertaining read nonetheless. What struck me most about the book, however was that: (1) a reader could conclude that Fignon was such a physical specimen, a legitimate freak of nature, that his suc ...more
Martin Mccann
Sep 11, 2012 Martin Mccann rated it really liked it
While cycling provides the source for the best sports writing, French cyclists take it even further, deviating from the simple linear narrative to something more cerebal-rather than just a "this happened, then this and after that....", there is a more philosophical and historical depth, as found in Bobet's "Tomorrow, We Ride"- Fignon's autobiography continues in that tradition. He kickstarts the whole book with an honest and insightful retelling of perhaps his most (in)famous moment. losing the ...more
Matt
Aug 24, 2014 Matt rated it it was ok
If you are a middle aged cyclist who remembers the emergence of the TdF in the early 90s then this book is for you. Great reading about the behind the scenes attitudes but, I found it difficult to empathize or even rationalize with LF. Good reading but, Im not sure enjoyed in the right summary.
Rob
Jun 21, 2011 Rob rated it it was amazing
A pretty frank and open book from a man usually referred to as an enigma by the (largely French) press. I found Fignon's honesty refreshing though at time felt he was perhaps holding back on the truth everso slightly (part of me liked this as he was my first cycling hero). Definitely a different cycling book. Much of Fignon's focus is on the shift in cycling, first based around his relationship with the legendary Cyrille Guimard; secondly, and perhaps inevitably, in the shift in doping culture f ...more
Jimmy Burns
Jun 04, 2012 Jimmy Burns rated it it was amazing
This is a fine insight to professional cycling and the mindset of a cerebral and outstanding athlete. Fignon was known as 'le Profesor' during his cycling career and was a big name in an era festooned with big names e.g. Hinault, Jalabert and Lemond.

Fignon was known for his forthright views and was never scared to make them known on or off the bike his confrontational nature was admired by the cycling tifosi if not by the administrators.

This is no-holds barred autobiography that will be enjoyed
...more
Jude Nonesuch
Apr 07, 2015 Jude Nonesuch rated it really liked it
Shelves: factual, biography
This book is so good. I'm clearly not feeling in a 5 star mood at the moment. But yes it basically lives up to the promise of its title throughout: reflective and often poetic, in a unique yet understated way, reflections on a past era of cycling. One of the most successful aspects, in the vein of Carson Mccullers or Tove Jansson, is how the poetry appears naturally: it stands apart from the factual recollections but seems right and appropriate; it adds an extra perspective, one of the inner lif ...more
Anthony Davenport
Jun 03, 2013 Anthony Davenport rated it it was amazing
An interesting walk through the life of one of cycling's enigmas. I suspect he wasn't as open as he could have been about the extent of his 'preparation' as this was a time where cycling was all about attacking until you could attack no more. Fignon details a romanticised view of cycling before it became corporate and devoid of characters, in a similar way to football before the Premier League, and that makes the book stand out from the plethora of doping-centric drivel that is out there at the ...more
Dean Fawcett
Apr 29, 2015 Dean Fawcett rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book as I'm a Fignon fan but his tendency to keep the media and fans at arms length during his career extended to this book. It would have been nice to have a greater glimpse into what made the man, apart from simply recognising himself. Sure Guimard and Gallopin were 'recognised' but you hear nothing of his family apart from a few sentences in the first couple of chapters.
A legend of the sport who will always be greatly admired nonetheless.
Ryan Benson
Jan 30, 2012 Ryan Benson rated it it was amazing
Laurent Fignon was a true champion. He rode to win and for the love of cycling. And the end of his book he mentioned that no one ever came up to him thanking him for being an inspiration to them. As a 13 year old boy I idolized Laurent and his no-holds-bar style of riding. I was probably the only kid in my town riding around with a System U jersey on. Thank you Laurent for your candor and free spirit. You will be greatly missed.
Michael W.
Feb 19, 2013 Michael W. rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-read
I have to say that the first chapter of this book is the best stuff on professional bike racing since 'The Rider'. Very philosophical.... I love Fignon's writing style, choice of language and his topics. It's obvious that he can be qualified, similarly to Greg Lemond, as a racer who saw what started happening to the peloton in the early 1990s with 'Oxygen vector doping' as it's now known and chose to leave the sport.
Jeroen Ensink
Feb 23, 2015 Jeroen Ensink rated it liked it
Good holiday read, in the months of June/July
Chris
Dec 30, 2011 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: sport
An honest if a little melancholic biography of an amazing athlete. Because of injuries, illness, and the bending of the rules by others; he never quite reached his full potential. But hey, 2 Tour de France victories is none too bad? Sadly he died last year of cancer.
Matt Fitz
Jul 24, 2012 Matt Fitz rated it liked it
Rough translation of one of my favorite cyclists from my childhood. The man who lost to Greg Lemond by a matter of seconds in the 1986 Tour de France. Laurent died of cancer a few years ago and it was nice to see him put his life on paper for his fans.
portlester
Sep 21, 2012 portlester rated it really liked it
A surprisingly good read. Fignon's story is told in his own words in a refreshingly open and blameless manner. The world of the professional peleton during the seventies and eighties is opened up for all to see.
Bill Murphy
May 16, 2013 Bill Murphy rated it liked it
Enjoyable, A very frank and absorbing tale of atermination to succeed. Fignon does come across as someone who does not tolerate fools gladly but perhaps its that arrogance that drove him to the top of the cycling world.
Dyoll
Oct 29, 2012 Dyoll rated it really liked it
Although Fignon was never a favorite of mine having read his book I find him an interesting character. Normally don't like people talking about themselves to much but really enjoyed this book.
Philipp Wehmann
Jan 13, 2011 Philipp Wehmann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Keine große Literatur, aber ein interessanter Einblick in das Leben eines Radsporthelden. Und berührend angesichts der Tatsache, dass Fignon im Sommer seiner Krankheit erlegen ist.
Paul
Jul 12, 2011 Paul rated it it was amazing
This book gives the reader the chance to see Laurent Fignon from a completely different point of view, and his thoughts on the sport of cycling make interesting reading..
Bob Kuehn
Sep 12, 2015 Bob Kuehn rated it really liked it
Good read. He was perhaps the last of the great generation of riders. Everything changed and though still the most beautiful sport cycling will never be the same.
Niall Pelota
Sep 02, 2012 Niall Pelota rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book about the professor , sadly no longer with us. An upfront, courageous and powerful read, giving a great insight into the 1980s peloton.
Declan
Jul 02, 2012 Declan rated it it was amazing
bought this for a flight i'm taking next week, sneaked a look at the opening chapter earlier today, alas i will need to get a new book at the airport.
Cathy M.
Dec 10, 2011 Cathy M. rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, sports
I didn't like him much when he was riding, but this put him in a new light and I really now admire all that he went through. A very good read.
Guy
Oct 19, 2013 Guy rated it it was amazing
An outstanding autobiography from a great champion; dignified, soul-searching and even at times poetic.
Martin Linkov
Jul 30, 2010 Martin Linkov rated it it was ok
Shelves: cycling
Slightly boring with all this repeating of the 8 seconds back in 1989.
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“What made it harder to stomach was the fact that the pilot of the helicopter with the television cameras was particularly keen to do his job to the best of his ability by coming as close as he could to get pictures of me, even though he was almost mowing the number off my back with his rotor-blades. Obviously, the turbulence he caused pushed enough wind at me to slow me down a fair bit. Two or three times I came close to crashing and shook my fist at him. Guimard was beside himself with rage. So was I. In normal circumstances, if all the stages had been run off in the usual way, or even with the bare minimum of morality, the time trial would only have been of secondary importance because the race would have been decided well before. And I would have won my first Giro d’Italia in the most logical way possible. Instead of which my chest burned with pain: the pain you feel at injustice.” 0 likes
“In life, just as in sport, you must never ever let an opportunity go.” 0 likes
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