The Tour de France, 1903-2003

Hugh Dauncey & Geoff Hare (editors),
The Tour de France, 1903-2003. A Century of Sporting Structures, Meanings and Values.
London: Frank Cass, June 2003. 304 pages. Paperback ISBN: 0714682977,
Price: £18.50 Online Price: £16.65. See the publisher's website (Cass now taken over by Routledge): or Amazon [also in hardback]

To read the first chapter see this page on Amazon site and SCROLL DOWN.

Written by academic specialists from France, USA and Britain, the work analyses the Tour de France over its long history both as France's most prestigious and famous sporting event and as a European and, increasingly, a world cycling competition. It provides interdisciplinary and varied perspectives on the sporting, cultural, social, economic and political significance of the Tour within and outside France, giving a comprehensive and authoritative investigation of up-to-the minute thinking on what the Tour means, now and in the past, to competitors, to France, to the French public, to the cultural history of sport, and the sport of cycling itself.
Tour de France, 1903-2003 book cover
Foreword, Eugen Weber
1. The Tour de France: a pre-modern contest in a post-modern context, Hugh Dauncey and Geoff Hare
2. The changing organisation of the Tour de France and its media coverage - an interview with race director Jean-Marie Leblanc by Dominique Marchetti
3. The Tour de France and cycling's Belle Epoque, Philippe Gaboriau
4. The Tour in the Inter-War years, Christopher Thompson
5. The Economics of the Tour 1930-2003, Eric Reed
6. The Tour as an agent of change in media production, Fabien Wille
7. Beating the bounds: the Tour and the creation of national identity, Christophe Campos
8. French cycling heroes of the Tour: Winners and Losers, Hugh Dauncey
9. Se faire naturaliser cycliste - The Tour and its non-French competitors, John Marks
10. The Tour de France and the doping issue, Patrick Mignon
11. A côté du Tour - ambushing the Tour for political and social causes, Jean-François Polo
12. Chronology of the Tour 1902-2003

Click for Geoff's photos of the 2002 Tour de France.

The Times says of the book:
" ... one for the connoisseur. This excellent collection of essays offers an in-depth insight into the Tour's unique place in French society and the sporting world." (Calvin Shulman - The Game supplement (30 June 2003), p. 19)

The eminent American historian of modern French popular culture Eugen Weber says in his Foreword:
"As much a part of the national and international fabric as Soccer's World Cup or the Olympic Games, the Centenary Tour deserves its centenary tributes. Hugh Dauncey and Geoff Hare have provided one that is worthy of it." (Hugo Gladstone): "Written by a line up of Francophile intellectuals, this collection of eleven thoughtful essays, provides an entirely refreshing perspective on the Tour de France."

Phil Liggett M.B.E., 'the voice of cycling around the world on television', has said of the book:

"This is the finest book written in the English language chronicling one of the world's great sporting events in a manner never read before. This is not a sports book, but a history of France's most famous happening throughout the month of July. It is the cruellist, toughest, annual sporting event in the World, and this book will tell you how it evolved, why, and what heroes are made of. You don't have to be a sports lover to enjoy this magnificent story."

Phil Liggett
(Photo from Tour de France official site:
Phil Liggett's daily reports during the Tour have been available for many years on the Tour site (click this photo for his 2008 Daily Reports for -

Cycling Weekly (19th July 2003) says:
"While a conventional history of the race tell of epic duels and triumphant rides to victory; The Tour de France 1903-2003 steps back from the racing intricacies and takes a much broader view. If your interest is solely in the Tour itself, this book will seem overly academic. But if you want to know more about the race and the context it has created, it will provide a deeper understanding than all of the other Tour-related books that have been published for the centenary race put together. "

On the Association of British Cycling Coaches website reviews pages, in 2005, Gordon Daniels wrote:
"Anyone who has waded through lightweight contemporary books on the Tour de France will find these essays challenging and rewarding."

Cycle Sport Online (in December 2010) includes the book in its "greatest 50 cycling books of all time" (at number 38, ahead of classics by Geoffrey Wheatcroft, William Fotheringham, Graeme Fife, Matt Rendell, not to mention Bradley Wiggins), commenting: "Quite unlike any other of our top 50 books Ė this is an academic look at the Tour de France. It looks at the raceís history, and casts a sociologistís eye over the Tourís place in French culture and history. Warning: itís not a lightweight read."

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