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Mountains According to G By Geraint Thomas

Release date: 06th November, 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: Ł16.99
Our Price: Ł11.55
You Save: Ł5.44 (32%)
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After Spain’s Vuelta powered to an exciting finish last Sunday, it ensured that despite the restrictions imposed on sporting events throughout an extraordinary year, cycling fans have been able to enjoy the unexpected pleasure of watching three Grand Tours in the space of nine weeks. Almost enough to take one’s mind off the lockdown. Almost.

The 2020 Tour de France retained the title of the world’s largest live sporting event (thanks to there being not much evidence of social distancing), while Italy’s Giro once again proved the toughest race, although the Vuelta wasn’t far behind.

The Grand Tours are cycling’s equivalent of football’s World Cup. Watching the Tour’s Grand depart is a sporting experience not to be missed. Similarly, the final stage around Paris, preceded with a glass of Champagne, combines Gallic style and sporting drama: we already know the race winner but let the sprinters finish in a crowd-pleasing blur.

Time trials, when riders don suits that look like something from a 1960s space movie, are deceptively appealing. When speeding along in teams, especially through narrow streets with fans crammed eight-deep on adjoining pavements, the excitement is palpable.

However, it’s the mountains that attract millions of TV viewers and have fans camping overnight to secure the best vantage points from which to watch riders struggle up impossibly steep roads.

Who better, then, to guide us up Monaco’s beast, the Col d’Eze, Italy’s Stelvio plus Le Tour’s Col du Tourmalet and the moon-like Alpe d’Huez than Geraint Thomas, winner of the 2018 Tour de France and a man who has tackled them all and survived.

In his new book, Mountains According to G, Thomas sets the scene, advising readers that: “Mountains are where the biggest races are won and lost. They’re where the atmosphere is best… It can feel impossible getting up them and crazy getting down.”

Thomas talks us through 20-odd different climbs (strangely, no Spanish mainland mountains feature) in his typically breezy style. It’s not great literature, but you can hear Thomas’s voice, often as though he were riding next to you, encouraging you up a lung-busting hors catégorie, the monsters that pepper Le Tour.

The book’s engaging style and dry humour make it an ideal Christmas gift for cyclists likely to be persuaded by Thomas’s invocation to tackle these beasts: “My mountains are your mountains. Let’s climb.”

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