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To: omega4179

It goes back further than that. Speed was widely used until a rider OD’d during a Tour in the sixties.

32 posted on 05/20/2011 9:49:09 PM PDT by stylin_geek (Never underestimate the power of government to distort markets)
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To: stylin_geek; omega4179; Vision; nutmeg; whattajoke; Aeronaut; jern; concentric circles; ...

From Wikipedia, these highlights and a quote from Henri Pelissier that you may find fascinating. (Pelissier had a long time feud with Tour Director Henri Desgrange.)

Henri Pélissier, (winner of the 1923 TdF) Francis (his brother) and another rider, Maurice Ville, abandoned the Tour at Coutances in 1924 after Desgrange had not let Pélissier to take off a jersey as the sun came up. They were met in the station café by the journalist Albert Londres, who normally wrote about social and international affairs but was following the Tour for Le Petit Parisien. Londres’ piece, reproduced largely as a dialogue, appeared under the headline Les Forçats de la Route.

“You wouldn’t believe that all this is about nothing more than a few jerseys. This morning, in Cherbourg, a race official came up to me and without a word, he pulled up my jersey to check that I’m not wearing two. What would you say if I pulled open your waistcoat to see if your shirt was clean? That’s the way these people behave and I won’t stand for it. That’s what this is all about.”

“But what if you were wearing two jerseys?”

“That’s the point. If I want to, I can wear 15. What I can’t do is start with two and finish with only one.”

“Why not?”

“Because that’s the rule. We don’t only have to work like donkeys, we have to freeze or suffocate as well. Apparently that’s an important part of the sport. So I went off to find Desgrange. ‘I can’t throw my jersey on the road, then?’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘you can’t throw away anything provided by the organisation.’ ‘But this isn’t the organisation’s—it’s mine.’

“’I don’t conduct arguments in the street,’ he said. ‘OK,’ I said, ‘if you’re not prepared to talk about it in the street, I’m going back to bed.’

“’We’ll sort it all out in Brest’, he said. It will definitely be sorted out in Brest, I said, because I’m quitting. And I did.”

Pélissier went to his brother, Francis, told him his decision and encouraged him to do the same. Francis said that suited him because he had a bad stomach and no enthusiasm for racing. Ville said he hadn’t been part of the strike but that the other two had picked him up along the road. He was too tired to go on, he said.

“You have no idea what the Tour de France is,’ Henri said. “It’s a calvary. And what’s more, the way to the cross only had 14 stations — we’ve got 15.[7] We suffer on the road. But do you want to see how we keep going? Wait...’

From his bag he takes a phial. “That, that’s cocaine for our eyes and chloroform for our gums...”

“Here,” said Ville, tipping out the contents of his bag, “horse liniment to keep my knees warm. And pills? You want to see the pills?” They got out three boxes apiece.

“In short,” said Francis, “we run on dynamite.’

Henri takes up the story. “You ever seen the baths at the finish? It’s worth buying a ticket. You go in plastered with mud and you come out as white as a sheet. We’re drained all the time by diarrhoea. Have a look at the water. We can’t sleep at night. We’re twitching as if we’ve got St Vitus’s Dance. You see my shoelaces? They’re leather, as hard as nails, but they’re always breaking. So imagine what happens to our skin. And our toenails. I’ve lost six. They fall off a bit at a time all through the stage. They wouldn’t treat mules the way we’re treated. We’re not weaklings, but my God, they treat us so brutally. And if I so much as stick a newspaper under my jersey at the start, they check to see it’s still there at the finish. One day they’ll start putting lumps of lead in our pocket because God made men too light.”


By the way - will there be a Tour de France pinglist this year? Are there any Freepers who might be willing to manage a cycling / roadie pinglist?

33 posted on 05/21/2011 12:03:52 AM PDT by golux
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