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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

The Shattered Peloton


Martin Bennitt

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Just got this book out of the library. I'm not particularly a cycling fan -- though living in France you can't avoid it completely, notably the gaggles on Sundays who think they own the road -- but I know several Forum members are and it looked interesting anyway. Until I get round to reading it as a layman, here is a review by a specialist to whet your appetites.

http://thetour.co.uk/news/9850.php#.U6K02C-jOcs

Cheers Martin B

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Another book to chase up! I have read other books on the subject, the war did indeed kill some promising and star riders but the after affects of lack of stuctured training/racing and food was a big issue leading into WW2. WW2 is another break point and produced some intresting anomilys. Fausto Coppi was a POW and used the time to train leading to some top riding.

I shall seek this book out and digest.

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Thanks Martin, I have a copy on its way to me.

Mandy

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I hope that Martin won't mind my adding this, though it is semi-relevant: In January 1919 a new cycle race was announced, Le Circuit des Champs de Bataille (the Battlefield Circuit), between Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Brussels, Amiens, Bar-le-Duc and Belfort - despite the roads being almost unusable. It was run off in April, with snow, sleet and hail adding to the misery.

That year's Tour de France was the longest to date: 5,560km, taking in the newly captured Alsace Lorraine and the Somme. It ran into problems with shortages (of sugar and tyres, for example) exacerbated by factory strikes, checkpoints and military bureaucracy.

Hotels were closed, and motor-bikes (to be used by race officials) had been requisitioned. And the bicycle industry itself was in sore straits.

(Taken from Lanterne Rouge by Max Leonard (Yellow Jersey Press 2014). (The title refers not to houses of ill repute but to the term used to describe the last rider in the overall classification at the end of the race; this derives from the red lamp attached to the last vehicle of a railway train.)

Moonraker

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Cycle race held to commemorate assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand:

report

Not quite sure how significant it is the winner being Slovenian? (Most Slovenian soldiers served in infantry regiments and other units of the Austro-Hungarian Army.)

(Should that be Slovene soldiers?)

Moonraker

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I've now read this book and found it reasonably interesting for a non-cyclist, though hardly a work of art. The author's style, or lack of it, irritated me somewhat, with a few errors of fact about the war, and the publishing quality is poor, with a gap in text between one page and the next. But I suppose it's aiming at a minority audience and they want to keep costs down. Cyclists may well find it worthwhile.

Cheers Martin B

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