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Gironimo Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy By Tim Moore

Release date: 30th April, 2014
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

List Price: £14.99
Our Price: £10.34
You Save: £4.65 (31%)
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When confronted with sporting cheats, specifically those who succeed courtesy of a noxious cocktail of drugs, most of us shake our heads and tut in disgust. We’re unable to understand how sprinter X or tennis star Y can continue to fool his or her sport’s authorities when it’s plain that they’re born charlatans.

Tim Moore, who wrote French Revolutions, an hilarious account of tackling the Tour de France a dozen years ago, does disgust better than most.

Moore became so riled that Lance Armstrong and his ilk had sullied cycling’s reputation, that he embarked upon a one-man cleansing mission, his objective to show that injecting IPO or swallowing dozens of multi-coloured pills were not essential prerequisites for completing a grand tour.

Having ‘done’ le Tour, Moore decided his mission would be best served by cycling the route of the 1914 Giro d’Italia, all 3,162 kilometres of it. In the interest of authenticity, he tackled this monumental challenge (the Giro is considered the world’s toughest bike race) on a 100-year-old bike – that built himself.

His exploits are captured in a wonderfully written, extremely funny book which mixes sporting prowess (or lack of it) and evocative, ‘I-want-to-go-there’ travelogue.

From heading across to Brittany to acquire a pile of ancient, rusty parts that would form the basis of a lovingly-restored bike, to describing a terrifying Alpine descent, or another near-miss with a crazy Italian motorist, Moore has the reader rooting for him, willing him to succeed.

His effortless peppering of phrases and similes season the narrative beautifully, so ensuring you read Gironimo with a permanent smile on your face. Realising, for example, the enormity of his self-imposed task twelve years after tackling le Tour, he writes, “At thirty-five, you can still cut it. At forty seven, you’ve forgotten where you put the scissors.”

For good measure, Moore decides to don period clothing, including a woollen jersey, for his epic journey on his ancient, pedal-powered machine.

Gironimo is a serious contender for sports book of the year. It’s also Radio Four’s ‘book of the week’ (12-16 May), while Moore is interviewed on Sports Book of the Month.com next week as the 2014 Giro d’Italia departs from Belfast.


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