Wednesday, August 5, 2009 9.00am
By Ruth Schofield
If you love the Tour de France and you've always wanted to follow the peloton as it winds it way ever closer to the finish line in Paris, this book is a brilliant guide. It will help you to plan your trip beforehand and ensure that you enjoy every moment while you’re there.
Photographer Graham Watson has been hooked on this amazing spectacle of human strength and character since he first experienced it in 1977, and after 31 years of following the race he has some brilliant insider knowledge to share.
His obvious passion for the Tour is captivating – he admits that in the early days he would sleep anywhere he could, be it a youth hostel or a park bench, in order to keep up with his heroes.
Watson offers everything from tips on where to stay to useful phrases for navigating your way around France, as well as advice about how best to enjoy the tour – for instance, he warns against trying to see both the start and the finish of each stage.
He also includes information on the great heroes of the Tour, from five-time winner Bernard Hinault to comeback king Lance Armstrong.
Some of Watson’s many impressive photos of the peloton can be found throughout his book, as well as shots of spectacular scenery and jubilant victory celebrations.
The final chapter is appropriately about how to photograph the Tour. Watson offers an insight into his greatest achievements and the ways in which he manages to capture the sheer determination on the world-class riders' faces.
This guide is engaging and informative, and Watson’s intimate knowledge of France is equal to his impressive creative talent and skills in photographing the Tour.
The combination makes for an interesting read, and is a useful aid if you are planning your first trip to watch the uniquely impressive spectacle that is the Tour de France.
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