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Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape: The Remarkable Life of Jacques Anquetil, the First Five-Times Winner of the Tour de France
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Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape: The Remarkable Life of Jacques Anquetil, the First Five-Times Winner of the Tour de France

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  324 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Jacques Anquetil remains one of the most outstanding figures in the history of cycling. He was the first man to the win the Tour de France five times; the first to win all three grand tours (the Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and Giro d’Italia); and the first to win both the Tour and Vuelta in the same year. The fame Anquetil received for his cycling success was matched ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Mainstream Publishing
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Start your review of Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape: The Remarkable Life of Jacques Anquetil, the First Five-Times Winner of the Tour de France
Nick Sweeney
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jacques Anquetil became a legend when he became the first rider to win the Tour de France five times. In doing so, he set a benchmark that was (to him) rather meaningless, just left it behind him as something for other cyclists to strive for. He could probably have won it six times, or even seven (as Lance Armstrong did, for a few years, anyhow). This book talks about the man and his considerable achievements on the bike, and the life he lived off it.

He was a paradox: he pushed himself hard, but
Jun 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, sports
Brisk, abbreviated and somewhat misleading biographer of professional cyclist and curmudgeon, Jacques Anquetil, the first TdF 'Fiver'. Misleading in the sense that only 2 chapters - about an 8th of the book - explore his highly unconventional private life. (In sum: he nicked his first wife from his doctor, bore a child with her daughter - his stepdaughter - because his wife had sterilised herself before they met, then formed a relationship with his stepson's ex-partner. Which is to say, his wife ...more
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I so enjoyed this book, but I'm a rider and valued he history of the sport. Anquetil was an intriguing and unique character, not a model in many ways, but certainly interesting! Howard's treatment appears blanched, yet sympathetic. I think in the end Anquetil's physical and cycling achievements warrant the read and cover a multitude of sins; a very interesting read for fans and participants of the sport of cycling!
Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Fascinating subject, written eloquently. Who lives like this?! The story is outlandish, but apparently accurate. It appears to be well-researched. Accounts of racing were fun. While I respect the skill of the author, I found his style to present a rather laborious read. Like a flavourfull, if relatively tough steak. A pleasure to the taste, but difficult to digest.
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great book about one of the first "patrons" of the peloton from the golden age of cycling. This book is a must for Francophiles who are cycling fans. Anquetil was a true Gourmand who had the ability to convert cholesterol into the energy to win.
Doctor Moss
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, cycling
Before reading this book, I had little knowledge of Jacques Anquetil. I knew he was one of the greats of cycling, and I thought of him as a special hero within French cycling.

Setting aside his personal life for the moment, let’s not forget how great a cyclist Anquetil really was. He was the first of the five time Tour de France winners, and he could arguably have won more. He won the Giro d’Italia twice and the Vuelta a Espana once. He once owned the hour record, won one of the classic “Monument
Bill Catchings
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Howard pulls off a remarkable feat in this book—he makes boring the life a five-time Tour de France winner who had an affair with his doctor's wife, married her, had a child by (and an affair for twelve years with) her daughter, and finally broke up his marriage by having an affair with his step-son’s ex-wife who he ultimately married. While the book is full of interesting facts and controversial topics, it fails to be compelling. The reason may be that the author does not do much in the way of ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Disappointingly, I found the book inconsistent in its general readability.

Some chapters jumped all over the place chronologically and in general, making it difficult to read/follow. Others, were well put together and flowed well.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Average biography of an incredible man. Worth reading to learn about Anquetil but you’ll need to show the determination of a TdF rider to get through some of the more turgid sections.
Harriet Dickerson
3.5 Stars: A well-written biography of a flawed hero

3.5 Stars. Not usually my kind of read, but I found myself drawn in to learn about the mettle & quirks that make up such a man. I would recommend this especially for cyclists or those interested in the history of cycling in Europe. There is less than I'd hoped about Anquetil's personal life and what led him to be the kind of man he was. However, I found the racing segments of his life (probably ~3/4 of the book) to be quite fascinating with exc
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was more of a biography about the cyclist and what he accomplished than it was a story about the races and competition in the races. I like cycling stories that talk about the strategy within a race and how the racer felt as he was climbing the mountain or struggling to catch the group. Anquetil may have had a kind of messed up faimly life but it wasn't that fascinating.
A. J.
Apr 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Good read. I had no idea Anquetil lead such a sordid life. I would ideally not like to pass judgement but his 12 year affair with his hi step daughter condoned by his wife whom he left to marry his stepson's wife... The author does a nice job of mixing cycling (my interest) with the life choices of Anquetil. The writing got dry at times and I found my self hoping it would wrap up. 3.5 stars.
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure how a story about one of the greatest cyclists of all time, with one of the most scandal filled personal lives, could come across as boring but credit to Paul Howard for making it so dull.
Mark Karnowski
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Maybe it should have been titled Handlebar Tape, Lies and Sex, since it was more about racing and racing rivalries than anything else. If the author is correct, Poulidor and Anquetil became card playing buddies after Anquetil retired from racing. Who knew?
Susan Robertson
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Legend of cycling. Crazy life. Writing makes it all seem very dull and descriptive. Shame.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
A boring book about an interesting man.
Erik Eckel
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Howard's biography offers an intriguing history of French cycling and is well researched.
Jeff Rastatter
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Paul Howard is a journalist with The Irish Times on Saturday.
Howard is best known as the author of the paper's Ross O'Carroll-Kelly columns and has written a series of books based on the the character of Ross.

Howard is the former chief sportswriter for the Sunday Tribune, and a former Irish Sports Journalist of the Year. He has written several nonfiction books, including The Joy, an account of lif

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Summer is a great time to lose yourself in a page-turning mystery. To help you sleuth out a new read, we asked five of the season’s hottest myst...
34 likes · 12 comments
“Anquetil won the Grand Prix de Lugano seven times, I think,’ says Brunel. ‘After he’d won it six times, the organiser said to him it would be better if he didn’t come back next year, as he was finding it difficult to get sponsors because Anquetil kept winning. Then, in the winter, he changed his mind and said he could come after all, as he was a star, an important rider, but if he were to let Baldini win, it wouldn’t be a bad thing. “I’ve not got anything against you. It’s for the good of cycling,” the organiser explained. Anquetil said, “OK, but you have to pay me at the start. I don’t want to wait around after to be paid and have to face the journalists. And it’s double the normal rate. If not, I won’t come.” It was all agreed, but when he arrived he went to see Baldini and said, “Listen, don’t say anything to the organisers, but if you want, I’ll let you win today, but you must give me your appearance money.” Baldini agreed and gave him the money up front, so he took all three fees, and he went and won the race. Just for a laugh. It was just a game for him. He got on really well with Baldini. They were very good friends. In fact, Baldini is still a good friend of Jeanine. It wasn’t about the money for Anquetil. It was about having fun. He just wanted to have fun.” 0 likes
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