Rivière’s last ride

Cycling Weekly - - Interview -

Paul Smith’s book is not just about ob­jects — it’s also full of the hu­man el­e­ment, and no story is more gut-wrench­ing than that of Roger Rivière.

Il­lus­trated with an ar­rest­ing pic­ture of the French golden boy in the mo­ments af­ter his crash on the de­scent of Mont Aigual in the 1960 Tour, Smith re­counts the af­ter­math of Rivière’s mis­judge­ment on a cor­ner: “They car­ried him back up to the road as gen­tly as they could but when they got him to hos­pi­tal they dis­cov­ered he had bro­ken his back in two places. Paral­ysed, Rivière never re­gained full move­ment of his limbs and lived the rest of his days in a wheel­chair.

“The pho­to­graphs of him ly­ing crum­pled on a hill­side, face down on a bed of fallen leaves, are rem­i­nis­cent of re­li­gious iconog­ra­phy.”

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