Tour de France 2013
When I think of the Tour de France I think of two things mainly, insanely long televised cycle race and Lance Armstrong.
If you’re like me then you have not forgotten how Lance Armstrong came clean about doping on Oprah and now this was less of a revelation than a confirmation of what everyone with half a brain has known since, well, since forever.
The Tour is a 21 stage race over 23 days covering on average 2300 km which alternates between a clockwise and anti-clockwise circuit of France ending on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Most years 20 – 22 teams compete for the yellow jersey.
Doping in the Tour is nothing new with reports from the 1920’s alleging the use of cocaine, strychnine and chlorform among others. In 1967 British cyclist Tom Simpson died climbing Mont Ventoux after using amphetamine to boost his performance.
The Tour of 1988 was dubbed the ‘Tour de Shame’ after the Festina Team were found to be supplying their cyclists with EPO, amphetamines, growth hormones and testosterone to improve their performances. Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc intervened to mediate with french police who were raiding various team hotels. The riders pulled out in protest, or maybe out of fear of being caught, and only after mediation did 96 riders complete the tour.
In 2012 the highlight of the Tour was undoubtedly the bust up between the wife of eventual winner, Bradley Wiggins, and Chris Froome’s girlfriend on the social media network, Twitter. Wiggins and Froome both rode for Team Sky.
While the riders claim to have cleaned up their act in terms of doping, it’s still really hard to imagine these guys cycling the distances at the speeds through the Alps without any substance help.
Tour de france 2013 promised so much with Froome’s girlfriend desperate to draw attention to herself yet again. The Independent filed this story in May, The Battle of the CycleWAGS. The interesting part of the report is the difference of opinion between the Wiggins and Froome camps over who would be the number one for the 2013 Tour. The number one obviously gets the support to help them win the Tour, while all the other team members are expected to work hard to ensure the overall victory.
Wiggins injured his knee and withdrew from the Giro d’Italia with a chest infection leaving the door open for Team Sky to name Froome as the team number one. We can only speculate if the two are related.