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To this day, Raphaël Geminiani is the only rider to have finished in the top ten in all three grand tours in the same year. Now in his mid-90s, he’s one of the last living members of an iconic cast of riders that illuminated cycling’s golden era. Raised on the legends of racing in the 1920s while building wheels in his father’s bike shop, Geminiani took part in no fewer than fifty Tours de France, competing as a rider against the likes of Coppi, Bartali and Gaul, and later guiding Anquetil, Simpson, Merckx and many more as a directeur sportif. The latest title from celebrated cycling author Isabel Best, Raincoats are for Tourists draws on a myriad of memories from Geminiani’s decades in the peloton. From the unpaved roads and unending stages of the postwar period to the emergence of clipless pedals and disc wheels in the 80s, to plot Geminiani’s career is to recount the history of modern cycling. And who better to tell the tale than a man who was always at the centre of the action?
“I suspect many will be intrigued by chapter 15: Everything That's Wrong With Modern Racing. Sure, there's a bit of 'things were better in my day,' but I think most people will find agreeing with a lot of it. Few of today's riders meet with his approval, with the exceptions including Peter Sagan, Julian Alaphillipe and Annemiek Van Vleuten.”
★★★★☆ Richard Peploe, road.cc
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