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July 10, 2003

In short we ride on dynamite

Bicycling Magazine | Tour de France special: The Greatest Race

This is from the forthcoming book, The Noblest Invention, scheduled for publication in November.

Some jewels:

"Early Tour cyclists could be seen standing on their hands on chairs or demonstrating two-wheeled acrobatics. Of course, any of the 60 riders starting the 1903 Tour on a fix-gear bike weighing in at over 30 pounds had to be a little off his rocker."

Check out Page 2 for a shot of Eddy Merckx winning one of the 8 (!) stages he won en route to winning the 1974 Tour, his 5th.

"In 1924, the legendary Pelissier brothers-noted as much for their brutal attacks on the road as their criticism of Tour organizers-abandoned the race over what they considered to be an unfair ruling. Later that day, they met with journalist Albert Londres in a roadside bar. 'You don't have an idea of what the Tour is,' said an obviously frustrated Henri. 'We suffer from beginning to end. You want to see how we ride? Look. Here is the cocaine for the eyes. Here is the chloroform for the gums. And the pills? You want to see the pills?' After reaching in his sack and grabbing an assortment of pills, his brother Francis added, 'In short we ride on dynamite.' "

Spotted at Lance Armstrong's official site.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2003 in About the Tour | Permalink


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