Alpe d’Huez by Peter Cossins is a cycling history of the famous Alpine climb. The book looks at the dramatic moments on Alpe D’Huez which have featured in the Tour de France. It also looks at some of the winners and the factors that make Alpe d’Huez such an iconic climb. It also examines the combination of myth and reality behind the great climb and examines some of the criticisms of the climb and whether it has become a victim of its own success.
I received a copy of Alpe d’Huez by Peter Cossins on my way to the Pyrenees a few weeks ago. It was good timing because riding up the Pyrenees gave a much more vivid understanding of the attraction behind real mountains. As Cossins mentions towards the end of the book – a succession of doping scandals in cycling has caused a shift from a focus away from riders to the actual climbs. Modern day magazines place less emphasis on just the cycling personalities – the climbs themselves have become much more central to the interest in cycling. Witness the explosion in books about climbs and mountains. Riders come and go, but mountains are always there. Mountains are 100% reliable – they don’t have skeletons in the cupboard, but are a permanent feature on the landscape – tantalising any cyclist in the world to ‘come and have a go.’ As it is often said, it’s hard to have a knock around on Center Court, but anyone with a bike can ride up Alpe d’Huez and compare their times.