In 1978, one of the best-known books about bike racing was published. De Renner (The Rider) was written by Dutch journalist Tim Krabbé and was translated into English in 2002.

The novel describes a bike race in South-West France and Krabbé goes into detail discussing the tactics and psychological aspects of racing. Matt Seaton of The Guardian listed his top 10 books about cycling a number of years ago and The Rider came out on top.

Seaton said of the book: “The Rider has a strange, dark, philosophical flavour: it is both a paean to pain and a hymn to the fellowship of the road. Nothing better is ever likely to be written on the subjective experience of cycle-racing.”

Tim Krabbe The Rider

The race featured in the semi-autobiographical novel is the 137-kilometre Tour of Mont Aigoual and Krabbé describes his battle against the race’s other protagonists – Kleber, Lebusque, Reilhan, Barthelemy and Teissonnière. The book has now been translated into eight languages in total and has become a cult classic amongst cycling and literature fans.

This film is an intimate portrait of Krabbé who is also a keen cyclist. At the age of 71, he is still active on the bike, riding about 10,000 km per year.


    • Thinking about it, he had to have ridden that race and others like it to get into the head of The Rider. Great to see he has rediscovered his love of cycling.


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