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1923: The Mystery of Lot 212 and a Tour de France Obsession (Hardcover)

1923: The Mystery of Lot 212 and a Tour de France Obsession By Ned Boulting Cover Image
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The story of an obsession. When cycling commentator Ned Boulting bought a length of Pathé news film featuring a stage of the Tour de France from 1923 he set about learning everything he could about it - taking him on an intriguing journey that encompasses travelogue, history and detective story.

In the autumn of 2020 Ned Boulting (ITV head cycling commentator and Tour de France obsessive) bought a length of Pathé news film from a London auction house. All he knew was it was film from the Tour de France, a long time ago. Once restored it became clear it was a short sequence of shots from stage 4 of the 1923 Tour de France. No longer than 2.5 minutes long, it featured half a dozen sequences, including a lone rider crossing a bridge.

Ned set about learning everything he could about the sequence – studying each frame, face and building – until he had squeezed the meaning from it. It sets him off in fascinating directions, encompassing travelogue, history, mystery story – to explain, to go deeper into this moment in time, captured on his little film.

Join him as he explores the history of cycling and France just five years after WWI – meeting characters like Henri Pélissier, who won the Tour that year but who would within the decade be shot dead by his wife's lover. And Theophile Beeckman – the lone rider on the bridge.

About the Author

Ned Boulting began his television career in 1997 when he joined Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday. He moved to ITV Sport in 2001, and has covered a range of football events including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the FA Cup over a period of fifteen years. Ned is the author of five books, including the bestselling How I Won the Yellow Jumper and On the Road Bike. He lives in London with his wife and two children. @nedboulting

Praise For…

“[a] fascinating and often touching book… Wonderful” —The Times

“An absorbing mix of historical sleuthing and travel writing” —The Telegraph

“Spellbinding” —Daily Mail

“A captivating journey of discovery into a lost world. A real joy to read.” —Tom McTague

“Witty, discursive, and tons of fun, Ned Boulting has the Tour de France under his skin, and you will too by the time you've read this” —Al Murray, comedian, author and presenter of history podcast, We Have Ways of Making You Talk

“Ned's captivating book explores one man's obsession with this magnificent event and casts an intriguing light on a tiny fragment of a race long gone by” —Alexei Sayle

“Ned has created a rich tapestry from the finest of threads ... I felt transported back with him to the very origins of bike racing and the world that created it” —David Millar

“one of the most intelligent sporting books i have come across…the writing is compulsive, eloquently conveying the twists and turns of the story as it unfolds…excellent” —thewashingmachinepost

“There has never been a cycling book quite like this one. A scrap of newsreel film, a century old and two and a half minutes long, sweeps Ned Boulting back not just into the world of a forgotten hero of the Tour de France but into the forces that shaped that world: a collision of sport, war, family and destiny. And as he searches for the tiniest clues among the faded celluloid shadows, he carries us along with him, making us his companions on a remarkable mission of rediscovery” —Richard Williams, music and sports journalist

“Delightful” —Dara Ó Briain, Twitter

utterly captivating…an amazing concept and a truly fascinating adventure into cycling, history and people… a truly addictive read.” —Cyclist

“Beginning with a fragment of a century-old race, Ned has written a 'biography of the unknown rider'. And in honouring him he's told us more about bike racing, the Tour and about Europe in the years between the wars than we'd ever have learned from a book about a star” —Michael Hutchinson, racing cyclist and writer

“This is a wonderful piece of writing that transcends sport.” —New European

“Boulting's enthusiasm for the footage is catching. [He] is a sympathetic writer and an extremely knowledgeable historian.” —Times Literary Supplement

“Witty, discursive, and tons of fun, Ned Boulting has the Tour De France under his skin, and you will too by the time you read this” —Al Murray

“An engaging melange of sports writing, history, travelogue and detective story... Fascinating” —Waterstones

“An exceptional book” —Pez Cycling News

“A great example of what constitutes the best longform writing about sport” —The New European

“A reminder that bike racing is inextricably bound to the history, characters and contours of its surroundings.” —Cyclist

“Such a poignant book. Ned Boulting is conjuring ghosts. I don't know of many things more thrilling than this” —Philippe Auclair

Product Details
ISBN: 9781399401548
ISBN-10: 1399401548
Publisher: Bloomsbury Sport
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2023
Pages: 288
Language: English