Welcome to Cycle Sport’s Big Read of the Year 2010, a collection of some of the finest writing from Britain’s best monthly cycling magazine.

It’s time to sit back, relax and immerse yourself in some engaging and evocative tales from the most exciting sport on the planet. Over the course of this week we’ll add more stories for you to enjoy over the Christmas holidays.

LAURENT FIGNON: A TRIBUTE TO AN ICON
French cycling lost one of its most enigmatic figures when Laurent Fignon died earlier this year.  Lionel Birnie’s profile of the man and his place in the sport is a touching and at times personal account of what made Fignon such an appealing figure.

CLASSIC RACE: MILAN-SAN REMO 1982
Hardly anyone in Italy had heard of Marc Gomez. He soloed to victory in the Via Roma to bemused murmurs. The Frenchman was 26 years old but was a first-year professional and he’d just sealed the most unlikely victory of modern times. We pieced together the tale of a remarkable race in pure documentary style.

A CRIT ON THE SIDE
When the Tour de France ends, the work starts for many of the top professional riders, as they hit the criterium circuit where they can earn huge appearance fees. Edward Pickering was by Robbie McEwen’s side for two hectic days in August.

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO RIDE THE TOUR
The Tour de France can make you and break you. But what is it really like to ride?
Cycle Sport’s writing team cut through the cliches to find out, asking a range of riders about their diverse experiences of the world’s greatest race.

CLASSIC RACE: PARIS-ROUBAIX 1990
The closest race of all time. Eddy Planckaert and Steve Bauer hit the line in the velodrome in Roubaix and held their breath. Who had won? It took a photo finish to decide. We talked to all the key players from a day that has gone down in history.

CLASSIC RACE: TOUR DE FRANCE 1990
The 1990 Tour couldn’t possibly live up to the drama of the previous year, could it? Well, not quite, but it was one of the most gripping races of modern times. A four-man break gained 10 minutes on the first Sunday and it took Greg LeMond almost three weeks to reel in the last of them, Claudio Chiappucci. We spoke to all the main players to tell the story of an epic Tour.

THE 50 BEST CYCLING BOOKS OF ALL TIME
We sat down with a huge pile of books, read them and then spent a long time debating their merits before coming up with our list of the 50 finest cycling books ever written. From the modern classics to the forgotten gems, there is something for everyone – and a surprising winner.

JEREMY HUNT INTERVIEW – ON THE HUNT AGAIN
Recent Sky signing Jeremy Hunt is one of the most experienced and respected riders in the peloton. He looked back over 15 years of highs and lows with Cycle Sport

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