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searing heat.

I don't want to take anything away from the romantic idea of these heroic feats
across the decades, those grainy photos of dusty riders with spare tubs across
their shoulders and all that – but it did kind of come crashing down with the drugs
revelations starting with Paul Kimmage’s book, ‘A Rough Ride’ in the early 90s, the
Festina scandal, Pantani, various people being kicked off the Tour each year, and
finally Lance kicking our sport in the head by admitting he had been cheating
practically from day one, lying through his teeth to protect himself while wrecking
several other people’s careers in the process.

We see that prior to Wiggins victory there had been suspicions about virtually every
Tour winner for the previous 20 years, and who knows how many prior to that, when
testing was much less scientific or stringent? I'm charitable enough to think that
in the ‘romantic’ era that for lasted up to around 1988, if the top riders were on
something it was sort of fair because everyone was doing it and therefore a level
playing field. But only sort of.

It doesn't serve as a role model for aspiring sportsmen and women, if the only way
to achieve is to get a bit of illicit help. I've often thought the reason drug taking was
so endemic in cycling was because the Tour was just too hard to win without some

Particularly because the Tour was first conceived not as a bike race, but as a
spectacle so completely off the scale that it would sell newspapers.

We are told by the TV commentators and pundits that the Tour seems to have been
remarkably drug-free this year, and I hope it was. If so, then maybe the race is still
just too demanding to provide the animated racing that we used to see ‘back in the

Or have I got this wrong? If I'm being too cynical and you don't think this year’s
edition was a bit asinine then please say. Certainly great to have British riders at
the pointy end of it. Would be great to see that continue!
It's also a great thing for France – the public really get behind it right across the
country. Came past the village near Toulouse where I was staying (although 2 weeks
before I was there) and even though it flashed through in less than 5 mins they were
still talking about it 2 weeks later. A great day for a party.
In other news, but still on the subject of superhuman romantic heroic feats, you

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