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The Rider (1978)
by Tim Krabbé
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Wikipedia in English (1)
The Rider describes one 150-kilometer race in 150 pages. In the course of the narrative, we get to know the forceful, bumbling Lebusque, the fine-snared aesthete Bartholemy, the young Turk Reilhan and the mysterious 'rider from Cycles Goff'. Krabbe battles with and against each of them in turn, failing on the descents, shining on the cols, suffering on the (false) flats. The outcome of the race is, in fact, merely the last stanza of an exciting and too-brief paean to stamina, suffering and the power of humour. This is not a history of road racing, a hagiography of the European greats or even a factual account of his own amateur cycling career. Instead, Krabbe allows us to race with him, inside his skull as it were, during a mythical Tour de Mont Aigoual.
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