Tomorrow, We Ride Paperback – Sep 3 2008
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"A moving account of how two lowly Breton 'ploucs' upheld French honour during an era of great champions, epic Alpine battles, and the hard realities of postwar Europe." Luke Edwardes-Evans, Cycle Sport; "His story is of courage and disappointment, of highs and of lows and of two young Breton brothers who set out together on a road to cycling glory. It's a wonderful read that's just as inspiring as all those superb old Tour mags from years ago." Roger St Pierre, Cycling Plus
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Jean Bobet of France originally, was an English teacher and that is what he studied in University and an Anglophile and he even taught in Scotland but his brother being one of the premiere racers of the day compelled Jean to go and join him. I believe the author refers to he and his brother as a couple of "ploucs" which seems a little bit like "blokes" and the Britanny region of France was their home. If cycling has anything like an age of innocence, this might be close to describing it.
This book likewise, treats who were the big four of racing back after World War II, those being Fausto Coppi, Jean's brother Louison Bobet and the Swiss riders of Kubler and Kobet, these were racers who dominated for a time along with the very able Van Steenbergen who may not have won the Tours and Giros but was up there. Others appear as well, Anquetil towards the end of Bobet's career, Bartali at the beginning.
Practically all of the major races of today are mentioned in the book, Paris-Roubaix, Wallonia/Liege in Belgium, World Championships and some races that are no longer in existence.
Certainly, this is a different kind of cycling book from other first hand accounts that often seem to reflect the hyperness and frenzy of racing in the Peloton. Some darker aspects do get mentioned as well but are not dwelled on, a few pages worth. Yes, there was doping back in the day and probably always has been and at the lower levels, perhaps even organized crime was involved in race outcomes. Can we really expect any cyclist, even the honorable Jean to give us the total lowdown?
What makes things different with the bespectacled and mild-mannered Jean is that though a very competent rider in his own right, he was if I'm not being disparaging to say so, consigned to the background and his cycling career at times, seems just a little bit more, not to understate the matter, than a sidelight to his life...yes, his cycling career, his racing, but of course, bicycling itself Bobet gives tribute as being a great liberator, friendship maker and past time.
You can read info on the Bobet brothers on the web and then read this book and the biographies really are quite a bit different. Heck, I'm not sure if he even tells us the marque of bike they used...however, Jean Bobet also has written a book on his brother Louison in French still, 'Louison Bobet : Une vélobiographie.' I believe those interested in the Tour de France of which there seem to exist a large number of books on would find this very interesting in talking about a number of the riders on a more personal level.
If you are amazed and excited about today's racing stars, you will appreciate the greats of a byegone era.