The Tour de France is sport's most compelling battle -- an annual cauldron of heroism and treachery, spectacle and controversy, mind-games and endurance.
But the 1986 Tour stands out as the year in which a show-stopping rivalry had spectators across the world gripped.
When Greg LeMond -- a blue-eyed, blonde-haired Californian boy, dubbed 'L'American' -- won the 1986 Tour, he made history. The first non-European to win the Yellow Jersey, he broke the Old World stranglehold and changed the face of the competition.
But LeMond's victory was hard won. It was seemingly snatched from the jaws of the man ominously dubbed 'The Badger'. Frenchman Bernard 'Le Blaireau' Hinault was five times winner of the Tour and as tough as boots. After winning the 1985 Tour, in which LeMond came a close second, Hinault vowed to return for one final Tour, and with a single purpose: to help LeMond win.
But could Hinault be trusted? As the race circled France, he repeatedly attacked LeMond. Hinault claimed to the press that his apparent treachery was merely intended to make LeMond stronger. But LeMond, who didn't believe him, became increasingly fearful, anxious and paranoid.
The Tour is renowned for its psychological complexity - but what played out in 1986 was unheard of. Why was Hinault putting his own teammate in jeopardy? Would LeMond crack under the pressure? Something sinister was going on but no one - not even LeMond -- knew quite what.
Slaying the Badger relives the adrenaline, the agony, the camaraderie, the betrayals, and the pure exhilaration of the 1986 Tour. Richard Moore has interviewed all the key players including the story's two enigmatic, eccentric and fiercely different protagonists. As he delves behind the scenes, the biggest conundrum of Tour history is finally laid bare.
"Moore entertainingly unravels the complexities of the relationships within the peloton during a three-week stage race, the sort of battle in which alliances can shift from one mountain peak to another and your enemy's enemy can suddenly become your most valued friend" -- Richard Williams Guardian "From the opening pages this is a book that grips. Combining great insight, interviews and anecdotes with wonderfully vivid writing, it is thoroughly researched and well written. Like the event itself, the book is so engrossing, you don't want it to end" Scotland on Sunday "As a matter of some urgency, arm yourself first with Slaying the Badger by Richard Moore and immerse yourself in the epic story of the 1986 Tour and the two greatest riders of their era. ... The race and the book builds towards a gripping page turning climax which you don't want to end" -- Bredan Gallagher Daily Telegraph "A gripping narrative of this psychological and physical three-week war... It is good to be reminded that the race used to have twice-a-day stages, that helmets didn't always obscure the riders and that technology once had little place in the Tour" Wall Street Journal "Captivating... Slaying the Badger is a mixture of clear-eyed journalistic analysis and unashamed nostalgia" Times Literary Supplement
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 7th June 2012
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.1
Weight (kg): 0.258