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2005 Race Companion by Bob Roll and Dan Koeppel

2005 Race Companion by Bob Roll and Dan Koeppel

A year ago, we reviewed the first edition of this fine introduction to The Race. Rick offered this opinion:


Avid fans… will find most of this old hat. But those who need a primer about race strategy, about the "races within the race," this book is for you.

Race Companion 2005Most of what stood out in this book last year is still here. Bob Roll, a former pro cyclist and Tour competitor himself, lends an authenticity and enthusiasm to the subject that makes for an entertaining and informative read. The various jerseys are clearly explained, as are the individual and team time trials. The race’s history and the legends of Tours past are given their due in both prose and familiar photos of grimy cyclists carrying spare-tire bandoliers.

The production values are similar to last year’s edition as well. Some of last year’s typos have been fixed, but this remains a book that is somewhat hastily rushed to press in anticipation of a single year’s race. One caption, for example, helpfully refers to Jan Ulrich as the rider "in pink" even though the photo is black and white; it’s a mistake made more than once in the book. To be fair, though, the timeliness of the material about this year’s course and the drama of last year’s race is worth the occasional glitch.

The only real reason not to recommend this book is that so much of it is taken from last year’s edition. If you own the 2004 edition, the lion’s share of the new printing will seem very, very familiar – the only substantially new material is the five-page crib sheet on this year’s route and the 12-page retelling of the events of the 2004 race.

So if you didn’t follow our advice last time, and have yet to read The Race Companion, allow me to renew Rick’s recommendation. And if you have read it before, you could do worse than passing your 2004 copy on to a needy friend or relative to make room on your shelf for this updated edition.