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Reviewed by:
  • Dictionnaire du cyclisme par Alexandre Roos
  • Hugh Dauncey
Dictionnaire du cyclisme. Par Alexandre Roos. Préface de Jean Pruvost. Paris: Honoré Champion, 2015. 312 pp., ill.

This is . . . a dictionary of cycling. More specifically, it is a French dictionary of mainly French and continental European cycling. Or is it a glossary? The entries are arranged alphabetically, but their content is more than simply definitional, since the wider significance of the object or subject under discussion is also provided. Whatever the precise genre of reference literature this work should be classified as, it is an interesting and informative read. Those who feel they already know about cycling in France and Europe since the late nineteenth century will find much information that is familiar to them, but may also acquire new facts and factoids to spice up their existing knowledge. The entries range widely from riders of all categories (champions to domestiques), through races of all kinds (grand tours to the ‘kilo’) and cycling slang, the sporting media and race organizers, to technology. There is perhaps, as is so frequently the case in such labours of love on cycling, a tendency to over-emphasize the importance of star riders. But the hagiographical drift of the volume is mitigated in particular by the consideration given to the changing technologies of cycling, and by the inclusion of numerous period illustrations. It is strange, however, that these illustrations are mainly from the golden ages of cycling during the Belle Époque. The dictionary concludes with listings of the winners of the major European professional road races, and a bibliography of the usual French sources on cycling. The more you know about cycling, the less significant this book will be; but that is the essence of such a work. All in all, however, an agreeable, pleasant volume, providing much of anecdotal interest. [End Page 644]

Hugh Dauncey
Newcastle University


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