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  • Wide-Eyed and Legless

  • Inside the Tour de France
  • By: Jeff Connor
  • Narrated by: Ben Elliot
  • Length: 4 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (122 ratings)

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Editor reviews

Starting from its fabulous title, this work of nonfiction is a must. Listen to Jeff Connor's sparkling English accent chronicle the 1987 Tour de France. Almost as exciting as watching the event, this book gives insider knowledge on the ins and outs of cycling - the intrigue, the cheating, drug use, the high emotions, the physical exertion, the competition, and ecstasy of this endurance sport. Cycling enthusiasts will keep this audiobook on the most convenient shelf - funny, entertaining, and informative.

Summary

Named ‘The No. 1 Cycling Book of All Time’ by Cycle Sport, Wide-Eyed and Legless is a fast-paced, fly-on-the-wall story of courage, endurance, bungling, rows and cheating in sport's greatest marathon.

In 1987, the Tour was won by Irishman Stephen Roche. It was the first time the champion had hailed from outside the Continent or the States and the first time in 20 years a British team - ANC Halfords - had competed in the world's toughest and craziest race. Jeff Connor not only stayed with the British team but also found himself an unofficial team member.

In this new edition of Wide-Eyed and Legless, now widely regarded as a classic, Connor describes what it takes to compete, survive and win during those 26 days of gruelling effort. Alongside the heroism and athleticism, he reveals the extraordinary amounts of chicanery, from pulling riders along to illicit drug use.

Time has not dimmed the impact of this eye-opening and entertaining close-up look at the supreme endurance event, and Wide-Eyed and Legless is destined to be acclaimed by a new generation of cycling enthusiasts.

©2011 Jeff Connor (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic reviews

“One of the most vivid and entertaining books ever written about the Tour de France” (Richard Moore)
“A true classic of cycling literature” ( Cycling Weekly)
“The British squad were out of their depth but Connor's documentary does not poke fun or seek to humiliate. Instead, it makes you feel like you're there with them, suffering and biting your lip” ( Cycle Sport)
“A fabulously observed diary of July 1987, when the dream of British cycling joining the European mainstream crashed catastrophically...side-splittingly funny” ( Cycling Books.Com)

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What listeners say about Wide-Eyed and Legless

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, but beware the "unabridged" claim

If you could sum up Wide-Eyed and Legless in three words, what would they be?

It's a great book, but watch out for the "unabridged" claim. The audio version is incomplete, as it misses out several of the appendices at the back of the book, even ones that are quite amenable to be read out loud.

3 people found this helpful

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The narrators style was tedious

Would you try another book written by Jeff Connor or narrated by Ben Elliot?

My first impression is that the book may have had more to offer but was spoilt by the narration. There was no variation of tone or pace - this made the reading soporific - and boring.

What could Jeff Connor have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Not employed Ben Eliot

Would you be willing to try another one of Ben Elliot’s performances?

don't think so

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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British cycling in Le Tour in a more shambolic age

The story of the ANC team's first and only entry into Le Tour means both the era and the attitudes to preparation, racing and doping come from a different age.
Now primarily a historical document, its a reasonable yarn, and satisfactorily narrated although with some mangling of place names and terms from a narrator unfamiliar with the sport. Overall a reasonable listen as a piece of history, but newer books are a better guide to the sport as it is now.

1 person found this helpful

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nice listen

Don't need to be a cycling fan to enjoy this... A good insight into what life is like at Le Tour.

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mixed. not for the casual listener

it's the account of 1 race in 1987 but jumps backwards and forwards in its telling. definitely fit cycling fans rather than the casual listener

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Finished this audiobook within x2 days as it was so good.

Not sure how I ended up with this in my library but so glad it was there! I love the Tour de France and this book has offered a real insight into a cycling era of 1987 which is quite honestly fantastic. The author has offered a refreshing outlook I’d never heard of before.

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If you like cycling then a great listen

Fantastic insight to TDF in 1987. Excellent narration. Cycling in the 80s has it changed today you may find yourself asking.

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very entertaining

Good story - interesting insights into the deep dark world of Le Tour. shame it didn't have more in depth thought process of the riders mentality

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It Kept Me Interested

I have absolutely no interest in the tour de France, or cycling in general. My only exposure to it was through the Storyville documentary on Lance Armstrong, and indeed I only listened to this book on the titles promise of details of drug taking which have been endemic in professional cycling since the very beginning.
What I got was an extremely engaging reading of the intricacies and regimens of professional cycling. At 5 hours it does not require an extreme commitment and listening to this made for a very enjoyable weekend, quote often scoffing in disbelief at the granular and arguably petty level of the cheats and shortcuts taken in this sport (water bottle pull anyone?).
Don't get me wrong, this is not sports journalism on the par of HST; there's no deeper meaning here. But it is very accessible and entertaining on its own merits; I'm absolutely sure that I enjoyed listening to it more than I would have reading it. 7.5/10

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Rubbish

What a dreadful book. I've lasted 15 minutes and even that was a stretch. First thing the author tells you is that to win a Grand Tour you have to be good at climbing (yes), time trialling (sort of) and sprinting (nope). Secondly, he tells us that the best sprinters are the biggest guys in the bunch. Not true! Look at Evan, Cav or Viviani.
Do yourself a favour and get a different book about cycling because this one should have never been published.

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  • Claire
  • 11-02-17

Who gave Connor this assignment?

This is an in-depth article about the Tour de France by a journalist who knows nothing about cycling and doesn't care to learn. His accounts of the hotels are more vivid than the description of the racing. The race is more like a background description of the weather in the story of one man's long and boring road trip. Skip this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Joe
  • 31-07-14

Into the Tour de France? This is your book.

Would you listen to Wide-Eyed and Legless again? Why?

For anyone who enjoys watching cycling and especially the Tour de France, this book is one that should not be missed. It is a bit dated, but the classic nature of the book fits nicely with the traditions of the great race. A bit hard to follow at times, this books may be a bit of a bore to a regular sports fan. This is a book about cycling for cycling fans.

Who was your favorite character and why?

More than just going into the peloton, this book takes the the listener into team meetings, team cars and the dynamics of how teams are started and sustained. The characters in the book are, in fact, true characters, and the authors does an outstanding job in introducing the listener to them.

What aspect of Ben Elliot’s performance would you have changed?

The narration is good, just, apparently, a bit dated. I got used to the unclear recording in time.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This is a short book that covers a lot of ground. It is one that requires listeners' attention. It can easily be listened to in one long setting.

Any additional comments?

If you are in to the great race, this is a must read. Wish I had listened to it long ago.

2 people found this helpful

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  • James R Simon
  • 03-01-22

1987 Tour de France

Quick audiobook following a low-tier pro team in their first TDF. Gives overall sense of the Tour, follows the team riders, issues of keeping a new tream together, while touching on the lead gc’s. More time could’ve been spent on iconic climbs, but good enough.

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  • L. Ajaye
  • 13-12-20

Not really all that funny...

Maybe this was lost on me, but I really didn't see all that much that was enjoyable or even funny about this audiobook. Read well enough, but humor...what humor?

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  • P
  • 08-02-17

Insightful

Historic perspective is always good. I love how doping is terrible and unprecedented., not so much, just tested and known. The "Greats" did it and we hear little of it. It is going to be an uphill slog to clean up this great sport but efforts are worthy and just. Great read.