Introduction by Jean-Marie Leblanc If there is one mountain climb that embodies the spirit and magic of the Tour de France, it is the Alpe d'Huez. Its twenty-one hairpin turns and average gradient of 8.1 percent over 13.1 kilometers have become legendary, changing the careers of Americans Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong, and nearly destroying Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani. Here at last is the definitive history and unforgettable story of cycling's greatest challenge. In The Tour is Won on the Alpe: The Classic Battles of the Tour de France, cycling historian Jean-Paul Vespini tells the story of this celebrated climb and the mountain that so often acts as the ultimate arbiter for cycling's biggest prize. Each chapter covers one ascent, starting with Fausto Coppi's astonishing victory in 1952. Cycling's most famous names are all present and accounted for: Coppi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Pedro Delgado, Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, and of course the American victors Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong. Jean-Paul Vespini's riveting descriptions of each battle to the top include candid interviews with riders, new insight into epic rivalries, and little-known but fascinating facts about the climb that has become a rite of passage for every rider in the peloton.
Born in Gardanne, where the road racing season is launched every year, Jean-Paul Vespini has been a journalist for 25 years (first with Proven