Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Culture @ Le Tour De France.

I used to watch Le Tour as a kid on “Le Canal Francais” as we referred to it in Quebec. I was just a fan of the event, I did not follow any other cycling race, I did not have a favorite rider or team cause only few Canadians have ever competed & ever fewer have been competitive. 

I do remember getting pumped after watching a stage finish, the furry of the riders pushing down on their pedals, swinging their bikes & elbowing each other. I immediately bolted outside to my bike & raced around my block, against city buses from the STO - I would strait up draft them, pull up beside & try to out-sprint them to the nearest bus stop!


I was maybe 10 years old.


But over time, I now see pro cycling under the same light as American wrestling: SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT.

Trying to make sense of this non-sense, cyclists don't even make that much cash or get that much consistent attention, why cheat like that??? I can believe the 'big leagues of ball sports' have a massive doping problem because that's what money & the lime light can can make people do.

I feel there’s a need to better understand why cycling went down this grey road. If you take a look at history, you will see that this year’s Tour De France at 3663 klm's over 21 days is short compared to lets say the longest Tour De France stage in history, in 1926 at 5745 klm's over 17 days - without a rest day - that's over 100 klm's per day MORE! This years tour also has 3 rest days.


1926 was a literally, pun intended: A TOUR DE FRANCE!

Now, considering how much worst road conditions where back them, pre-mature equipment, less support, less training knowledge, ect.












It was pretty much necessary to dope <--- this could be a lesson to young & up-and-coming sports, start conservative & grow the challenge, not the other way around. 

Today’s Tour riders have NO EXCUSES to cheat, they simply have shady ego drive.

Here are more facts to show old difficult Le Tour once was:

-In 1904, Le Tours 2nd only edition, defending champ Maurice Garin got disqualified for taking a train. I'm sure he said it was his first time ;)

-In 1919 only 10 out of 69 starters actually finished the tour that year.



-The 5th stage of the 1920 Tour De France was the longest ever at: 482 klm's - won in 19 hours & 44 seconds by Firmin Lambot. This years longest stage is about half at: 237 klm's.

-Longest Individual Time Trial was 139 klm in 1947 won by Belgian Raymond Impanis. This years longest ITT is about 1/3rd at: 54 klm's

-I even counted quite a few tours with 5 or more ITT's of over ~60 klm's!


-Longest Team Time Trial was 153 klm's in 1978 won by team DI Raleigh

-The numbers back to 1926, the longest tour in history:

Stage & Distance
Stage Winner
Race Leader
Stage 1 EVIAN-MULHOUSE, 373 km
Jules Buysse (Bel)
Jules Buysse (Bel)
Stage 2 MULHOUSE-METZ, 334 km
Aime Dossche (Bel)
Jules Buysse (Bel)
Stage 3 METZ-DUNKERQUE, 433 km
Gus Van Slembrouck (Bel)
Gustaaf Van Slembrouck (Bel)
Stage 4 DUNKERQUE-LE HAVRE, 361 km
Felix Sellier (Bel)
Gustaaf Van Slembrouck (Bel)
Stage 5 LE HAVRE-CHERBOURG, 357 km
Adelin Benoit (Bel)
Gustaaf Van Slembrouck (Bel)
Stage 6 CHERBOURG-BREST, 405 km
Joseph Van Dam (Bel)
Gustaaf Van Slembrouck (Bel)
Stage 7 BREST-L'SABLES D'OLONNE,412 km
Nicolas Frantz (Lux)
Gustaaf Van Slembrouck (Bel)
Satge 8 LES SABLES D'OLONNE-BORDEAUX, 285 km
Joseph Van Dam (Bel)
Gustaaf Van Slembrouck (Bel)
Stage 9 BORDEAUX-BAYONNE, 189 km
Nicolas Frantz (Lux)
Gustaaf Van Slembrouck (Bel)
Stage 10 BAYONNE-LUCHON, 326 km
Lucien Buysse (Bel)
Lucien Buysse (Bel)
Stage 11 LUCHON-PERPIGNAN, 323 km
Lucien Buysse (Bel)
Lucien Buysse (Bel)
Stage 12 PERPIGNAN-TOULON, 427 km
Nicolas Frantz (Lux)
Lucien Buysse (Bel)
Stage 13 TOULON-NICE, 280 km
Nicolas Frantz (Lux)
Lucien Buysse (Bel)
Stage 14 NICE-BRIANCON, 275 km
Bartolomeo Aymo (Ita)
Lucien Buysse (Bel)
Stage 15 BRIANCON-EVIAN, 303 km
Joseph Van Dam (Bel)
Lucien Buysse (Bel)
Stage 16 EVIAN-DIJON, 321 km
Camille Van de Casteele (Bel)
Lucien Buysse (Bel)
Stage 17 DIJON-PARIS/Parc des Princes, 341 km
Aime Dossche (Bel)
Lucien Buysse (Bel)


Anyway, with these numbers we can UNDERSTAND but never ACCEPT this reality, where would cycling be if they started Le Tour De France with more realistic & conservative distance? Then increase the distances over time as humans adapt to it in a more CONSTRUCTIVE approach with their preparation instead to trying to SURVIVE it through the what-ever-it-takes attitude in an era when personal vehicles where still fairly new?

But what I think is really pathetic, is doping for a 100m dash or a game of ball sports. I mean, these are pretty simple activities, almost child-ish, many do in school growing up, or with friends for fun, where society has strangely acknowledged this is how true athleticism is celebrated, simply because these 'action sports' is where the big money, interest & the everybody's-doing-it-attitude goes.

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Both these men got Cancer & both use sport to raise funds, help recherche & increase awareness.

One is Terry Fox - the other, you know...