Starting in 1969, Eddy Merckx began his run of 5 victories. Bernard Hinault, who also managed to win 5, followed him. Unable to fulfill his destiny as a likely 5-time winner because of a hunting accident, Greg LeMond won the tour 3 times. LeMond's era was followed by the remarkable Spaniard Miguel Indurain, the first man to win the Tour 5 times in a row.
The late 1990s were a time of extreme crisis for the Tour as the culture of doping within the professional cycling community erupted into the scandal of 1998. "The Story of the Tour de France" deals with this episode at length.
Emerging from a near-fatal bout of cancer, Lance Armstrong went on to do what no other rider in the Tour's long history had ever been able to accomplish, win the tour 7 times. Following Armstrong's retirement, the Tour was again seized by scandal, this time Floyd Landis' disqualification for drugs after winning the 2006 Tour.
The book concludes with the story of the 2007 Tour, followed by a quest for the greatest ever Tour de France rider, and an epilogue that explains the reasons for the extraordinary success of the Tour.
What they are saying about "The Story of the Tour de France":
"After forty years of study on the subject, I can with some confidence say Bill and Carol McGann's 'The Story of the Tour de France' is the finest such work ever produced in the English language, perhaps in any. Most of my preferred references are in French, one runs to over 800 pages, yet the McGanns' opus revealed information new to me in almost every paragraph. Their research has been not only impeccable, but insightful." —Owen Mulholland, author of "Uphill Battle" and "Cycling's Golden Age"
"'The Story of the Tour de France: How a Newspaper Promotion Became the Greatest Sporting Event in the World' by Bill and Carol McGann is a must read." —"Road Bike Action Magazine"
"For any historian of the sport the McGanns' Tour de France history is essential reading. Details of the stages and the riders are not glossed over. For those who are new to the sport, the McGanns bring the glory days of the sport alive with the intrique that still exists today. Epic stages that might have faded into oblivion are eloquently recounted so that future generations of cyclists wil know the rich history of our beautiful sport." —Neil Browne, editor, "Road Magazine"
"Besides towering over all bicycles races, the Tour de France endures for its unique Gaulic character, like Victor Hugo's 'Les Miserables'. The McGanns' passionate and insightful writing evokes the raucous cast of riders, promoters, and journalists thrusting through highs and lows worth of opera. This volume stands out as a must-read book for anyone seeking to appreciate cycling's race of races." —Peter Joffre Nye, author of "The Six-Day Bicycle Races: America's Jazz Age Sport" and "Hearts of Lions"