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Author: Paul Howard

Jacques Anquetil, first five-time winner of the Tour de France. Nine-time winner of the Grand Prix des Nations, (essentially the world time trial championship), two-time winner of the Giro d’Italia. The book is a candid look into Anquetil’s career and provides a great deal of insight into him as a man. It also provides a candid look at his social and marital life, a life that many outside the family look down upon.

From the book’s jacket: “Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape” is the astonishing biography of French cycling star Jacques Anquetil. For the first time since his death in 1987, it reveals the extraordinary truth behind the legend, the man and the cyclist.

His list of ‘firsts’ alone makes him worthy of a place in the cycling pantheon: the first man to win the Tour de France five times; the first man to win all three grand tours – Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana; and the first man to win both the Tour and Vuelta in the same year. More notable still, in 1965 he forsook the Tour de France and what he assumed would be a ‘meaningless’ sixth victory. Instead, within an hour of winning the prestigious, wee-long Dauphine Libere stage race he was whisked – in a get said to have been loaned to him by none other than General de Gaulle – to the start of cycling’s most grueling one-day race. Setting off at midnight, with no sleep, he duly won the 350-mile Bordeaux-Paris.

However, the extraordinary life of Anquetil does not stop at his achievements on a bike. He candidly admitted to using drugs, offended legions of fans by confessing his only motivation for riding was financial and infamously indulged his enthusiasm for the high life: champagne and langoustines were part of his Tour de France menu. he also seduced and married the wife of his doctor, had a child with her stepdaughter and then sustained a manage a trois with both mother and stepdaughter under the same roof for 12 years. When this ‘family’ eventually imploded, he attempted to inspire jealousy in his former lovers by having a child with his stepson’s ex-wife.

Containing exclusive and intimate contributions from Anquetil’s family, as well his friends, teammates and rivals, Sex Lies and Handlebar Tape untangles myth from reality and confirms that fact is definitely stranger than fiction.”

Other accomplishments not mentioned about include: winning the Giro d’Italia twice, in 1961 he took the yellow jersey in the Tour de France on the first stage and wore it on every stage of  the Tour, winning the Grand Prix de Nations, at the time the unofficial time trial championship of the world, a staggering nine times, Paris-Nice five times, held the hour record.