I'm currently reading " We Might As Well Win" by Johan Bruyneel. (Yea, I'm taking the time to read for pleasure--I need it.) The book provides great insight into Johan's life, and his journey with Lance before/during/after seven TdF wins. As an aspiring coach, it's a great read that comes from a coach's perspective. It's also very educational on the sport of cycling--history, dynamics and all.
Last night I was reading a part where Johan talks about some historical acts of cheating at the TdF. He prefaces it by saying the Tour is like a metaphor for life: ..."a showcase for dishonesty, chaos and cheating, right alongside virtues such as nobility, bravery sacrifice and triumph."
The cheating part had me laughing. I don't know about you guys--this may be common knowledge for some--but I'd never heard these stories. Putting aside all the doping scandals, it's pretty pathetic what people were doing way back when to get ahead...
*1904: The top four riders DQ'd for taking a train during key stages; 25 others out of the 88 total punished for riding in cars or trains, or taking shortcuts, when they should have been riding bikes on the actual course.Didn't they notice a lack of riders on the course? Or were people not following them the entire way back then? Plus, how would that be trying to disguise yourself on a train. ha!
*1905: Rider covers road in nails & tacks in stage 1 to screw over his competitors.
*1911: Brothers Henri & Francis Pelissier carried a flask during the Tour that was apparently full of cocaine, saying "we keep going on dynamite" and "in evenings, we dance around in our rooms instead of sleeping."Oh dang!! Just picture how these guys must have looked & acted.
*1937: Rider has his handlebar partially sawn off in act of sabotage. Really? Better yet, he could have just taken a club to the guy's knee Tanya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan style.
*1953: A super-lean climber picks up water bottle full of lead (25 lbs worth) at the mountain peak so he can descend faster.So, who was the guy who handed him the water bottle I wonder? Slime ball.
Unbelievable, but laughably pathetic at the same time. I just don't get how people can have such lack of morals. How do you live with yourself? I can't imagine doing something unethical or illegal to get ahead in triathlon. Hell no. If my body & mind can't achieve it, then it ain't happening.
Thankfully, at the same time you have a guy like Lance who is just purely amazing. As long as we have role models like him in our world, I will keep faith in sport, and humanity too.