Tour de France winner Jacques Antequil title to Pursuit

Tour de France winner Jacques Antequil title to Pursuit

Pursuit, the cycling imprint of Profile Books, is to publish a book on "controversial cycling superstar" and five time winner of the Tour de France, Jacques Anquetil.

Written by French writer Paul Fournel, Anquetil, Alone, tells of the "legend" Anquetil, French cycling star of the 50s and 60s. Pursuit acquired world English rights to the title from from Editions du Seuil.

Anquetil was the first man to win the Tour de France five times, and the first to win all three Grand Tours - the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. He died from stomach cancer in 1987.

The publisher said: "Jacques Anquetil was arrogant and iconoclastic, with a relaxed attitude to rules - including those about drugs - and morals. But Paul Fournel always preferred him to his great rival, working class hero Raymond Poulidor, and followed Anquetil's career from childhood with the passion of a fan and the eye of a poet. In this stunningly original biography of a complex and divisive character, Fournel blends elements of memoir and imagined autobiography to tell the captivating story of this cycling legend."

Fournel is a French writer, poet, publisher, and cultural ambassador.

Fournel said: "Fifty years later I wonder why I loved Anquetil so much. I wanted so badly to look like him on my bicycle: elegant, fast, slim in his yellow jersey, very very fast in fact, and terribly different. Of course, I was his exact contrary… Anquetil was riding like no other, but French people loved Poulidor better. Because Anquetil was reinventing the race, reinventing the peloton, shaking the old stories. On top of being a great rider, he was a great man, free to speak about doping, money, leadership, training… This is the reason why I am so happy to see my book translated into English at a time when Chris Froome (after Sir Bradley Wiggins) is winning and changing the rules again. In a very different style, I must say…"

James Spackman, publisher of Pursuit, said: "Paul Fournel is the godfather of cycling's soul. His writings help us understand our own, less well-articulated, feelings about bike riding. We're honoured to be publishing Paul's new book in English. More than just a biography of legendary champion, stylist and playboy Jacques Anquetil; it's a fascinating meditation on youth, fan worship and obsession. I believe it will come to be considered as a classic of cycling literature, alongside Tim Krabbe's The Rider (Bloomsbury)."

The book was originally published in France in 2012. Pursuit will publish in the UK in June 2017.