Blazing Saddles Plunges into the Tour de France's Rousing and Rowdy History

Award-winning Sports Writer Matt Rendell Reveals an Astonishing Side of Le Tour

Boulder, CO, USA - Death-defying rides, bare-faced cheating, blind passions, double dealing-the Tour de France is the greatest show on wheels. For more than a century, the Tour de France has captured the world's imagination as the ultimate test of man's strength and willpower. Blazing Saddles: The Cruel and Unusual History of the Tour de France spins a riotous tale of the inspiring and sometimes astonishing history of cycling's most famous race, its whimsical mishaps and astounding feats. Blazing Saddles is available now in bookstores, bike shops, and online.

Award-winning sports writer Matt Rendell plunges into "La Grande Boucle," describing everything from the clothing of the first Tour winner (white blazer, black trousers, wool socks) to the earliest method of cheating (riding the train). Blazing Saddles recounts the famous rivalries and riders that contested the Tour, setting the record straight with complete results of every podium finisher. Rendell's vivid storytelling is complemented with more than 100 black and white photographs, portraying cycling's heroes and martyrs, villains and cheats, from the very first race to modern times.

Blazing Saddles is an entertaining romp through 105 years of Tour mania and it's sure to be enjoyed by record numbers of American cycling fans. American cycling continues to enjoy the boom in spectatorship and participation begun with Lance Armstrong's seven consecutive Tour de France victories. In 2007, 20.5 million American households watched the Tour, an 11% increase over 2006. In 2008, for the first time in history, two American cycling teams will represent American cycling at this year's Tour de France. The Outdoor Industry Association reports that cycling is America's fifth most popular sport, with 1 in 5 Americans riding a bike in 2006, and newspapers across the country have noted a shift from golf to cycling for fitness and networking. USA Cycling, the governing body of the sport, reported a record high membership last fall.

Matt Rendell is the author of Kings of the Mountain and A Significant Other. His biography The Death of Marco Pantani was the 2007 National Sporting Club Best Biography and was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year.