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The special appeal of this story lies in its simplicity and naturalness, with which Blickensdorfer connects fiction and authenticity. What I like is the roughness of the language his people use, and in which he narrates. The filth comes through-in the peloton, and in bed. And the sun comes through-between the spokes and in the head. In this book something unbelievable has been rendered believable.- Stuttgarter Nachrichten (Stuttgart Evening Post) Excerpt: As they came out of the woods, they pedaled through a shimmering wall of heat into the barren roughness of the mountain side; it seemed a glowing staircase without steps. The field tore apart in many spots, and Lemaire disappeared from Bud's rear wheel. Two Spaniards pushed past him, thin-legged mountain fleas who had less than 130 pounds to force uphill and who were still riding at an easy cadence, as if the road were level.Bud too shifted back, but he was still in a high gear. It cost energy but covered more distance, and after every switchback, his team lost three or four riders. He was in the group out front, and halfway up the mountain there were twenty men left. In the front positions gleamed Antonelli's yellow jersey, and he had three teammates with him.He has strong helpers, Bud thought. Merlin was riding close behind Antonelli, but other blue Valetta team jersey accompanied him. The second blue jersey in the top group was Bud's. Four kilometers below the summit he recognized the spot where yesterday he had turned around to get rid of the tiresome cars. But he also remembered how hunger had seized him, and he took a few cubes of sugar and a rice cake from his jersey pocket. Only ten men were left in the front group.The tempo was set by the two Spaniards; again and again they tried to detach themselves with short sprints. But this was the meeting of the strong. Only in the rear groups did such explosive spurts still have an effect. Before the last kilometer below the summit they lost a Belgian and one of Antonelli's domestiques. The others stayed together but didn't speed up as the two mountain fleas started their sprint to win the mountain points. They were ahead by 150 feet, and on the downhill stretch allowed the others