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Colouring the Tour de France - coming to a bookshop near you next month

Collaboration between writer William Fotheringham and illustrator James Nunn lets you add your own colour to cycling's biggest race...

Colouring books for grown-ups, you may have noticed, are a thing. And while a decade ago, you may have struggled to find more than a handful of cycling titles on the shelves in the book section of your local bookstore, now there is a wealth of them to choose from.

It’s unsurprising, then, that there’s a bit of a cross-over going on between the two genres – and forthcoming title Colouring The Tour de France brings together two heavyweights of their respective fields, cycling journalist and author William Fotheringham, and illustrator James Nunn.

Guardian journalist Fotheringham is the author of books including Put Me Back On The Bike, about the late Tom Simpson, Fallen Angel, which followed the career of Fausto Coppi, and collaborated with Sir Bradley Wiggins on his 2012 autobiography, My Time. All three are featured in the latest book.

Nunn, meanwhile, drew the panda that appears on the cover of Lynne Truss’s bestseller Eats, Shoots and Leaves, and also came up with The Corbyn Colouring Book, described by the Guardian when it was published in 2015 as “hilarious” and by the Daily Telegraph as his “magnum opus.”

Published on 3 November by Yellow Jersey Press, Colouring The Tour de France combines Fotheringham’s expert knowledge with Nunn’s artistic skills for what is an at times irreverent, at times informative journey through the 113 years of the race’s history.

Double-page spreads to colour in include some iconic moments in the race’s history – among them, Octave Lapize’s 1910 cry on the Tourmalet of “Assassins!” and Chris Froome running up the Ventoux this year via the Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali bidon pass on the Izoard in 1952.

Colouring the Tour de France - Assassins.PNG

There’s also a series of drawings entitled How To Cheat – the first is Take The Train, the second is Hold The Sticky Bottle, and the third is simply called… Ask Lance.

Colouring the Tour de France - How to Cheat No 1.PNG

You’ll also find one called Where’s Wiggo? as well as a picture of one of the Tour’s most famous bit players, Didi “The Devil” Senft, urging the riders on with his cry of “Allez! Allez! Allez!” trident in hand.

It will help you unleash your inner artist in other ways too – here’s a drawing in Vincent van Gogh’s distinctive style that is crying out for you to bring it to life in the style of the Dutch post-impressionist who spent his final, tormented years in the south of France.

Colouring the Tour de France - Vincent van Gogh.PNG

Nunn says: “The imagery thrown up by this wonderful race is endless. Aside from the riot of colour racing through the sun-drenched countryside, there is an infinite supply of scarcely credible stories; from the endeavours of the early riders to the heroes and villains of the race we know now.

“Delving into these tales of the Tour and the men whose lives it has consumed one will, at some point, discover Pellos, the pre-eminent illustrator of the Tour from 1932 to 1982. One of the many charms of his drawings is his characterisation of the mountains as malign and mischievous gods and monsters toying with riders for sport.

“In tribute to him I have occasionally imbued my mountains with a touch of this personality and I urge fans of cycling and illustration alike to seek him out. I hope that this book has a fraction of his panache.”

Here's Nunn's Tumblr of the book as a work in progress which gives a flavour of the creative process behind it.

Colouring the Tour de France is published by Yellow Jersey Press on 3 November 2016 and costs £9.99.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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