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Rolf Rae-Hansen

Rolf's a freelance copywriter based in Edinburgh

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tour de france

Review: Full Gas by Peter Cossins

It’s a long time since I last pinned a number to my cycling jersey. Back in my day (when MTB wheels were all 26 inches and fluro lycra wasn’t retro) I entered a lot of cross-country races. The only tactic I observed, with mixed to middling results, was to ride flat-out from start to finish. My only ‘glorious’ road-racing memory involves failing to ride my breakaway companions off my wheel on a climb, then leading out the sprint, ignoring my inner monologue, which was breathlessly shouting, “you shouldn’t be leading out, you shouldn’t be leading out!

I have no immediate intention of returning to competitive ways and so picked up Full Gas – How to Win a Bike Race: Tactics From Inside the Peloton, to give it its full title, unsure if this book was really for me.

It didn’t take long for those doubts to be dispelled.

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Cycling Book Review: Butcher, Blacksmith, Acrobat, Sweep – The Tale of the First Tour de France

Butcher, Blacksmith, Acrobat, Sweep – The Tale of the First Tour de France by Peter Cossins (Yellow Jersey Press) is part explanation of how the world’s greatest bike race came into being, and part sporting reportage of the inaugural Grand Tour’s monstrous stages. There’s a lot of historical detail packed in here but, thanks to Cossins’ telling and the nature of the events being told, none of it makes for dull reading.

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Review: The Invisible Mile by David Coventry

The Invisible Mile by New Zealand author David Coventry is a fictionalised account of the five Australian and New Zealand cyclists who, in 1928, formed the first English-speaking team to ride the Tour de France.

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Travel Review: Morzine Mountain Cycling

When it comes to spectacular TV shots of the Tour de France, forget yellow sunflower seas and the Champs Elysees, the mountains are where it’s at. And if you think they look good on your 58-inch HD, try them up close and personal. They’re dangerously distracting, I realised, braking hard as the hairpin bend turned abruptly to sheer drop.

I was in the Savoie Mont Blanc region of eastern, Alpine France, descending the Col de la Colombière, first tackled by the Tour in 1960. Its 16km ascent, particularly the last steep stretch into the headwind, had left me dazed.

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Cycling Savoie Mont Blanc

I’m recently back from a few day’s riding in the Savoie Mont Blanc, the lumpy, Alpine part of Eastern France that borders Switzerland and Italy. The area, hugely popular with winter skiers, is making a big push to promote its many mountainous delights to summer cyclists. Not that cyclists haven’t already discovered the place. I stayed in Morzine, which has already hosted 19 Tour de France stages, including this year’s Tour’s penultimate etape (the soggy stage won by  Ion Izagirre’s demon descent off the Col de Joux-Plane). The locals clearly took the Tour to heart and a month on from the big event the whole area was still decked out in white with red polka dots to match the maillot a pois rouge worn by the race’s best climber. 2016-08-20_17.25.00.jpg

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The Season’s Cycle

I live my life by the season. That’s not a spelling mistake, I don’t mean seasons, plural, I mean the cycling season.

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