The Tour de France: The Worst Sport That's Worth Watching
Generally speaking, I like watching sports. I'll sit through extra innings in baseball, scoreless hockey games and, when nothing else is on, pool. Even if I have no personal investment in who comes out on top, there is something fundamentally appealing about witnessing an entire lifetime of practice and struggle culminate in achievement. Somebody has to win, and success, much like sex, is fun to watch even if I'm not the one having it.
Though, ideally, I prefer a combination of the two.The one exception to this rule is the Tour de France, an event I follow strictly to see people lose. The victories in the three-week race will never be as gratifying to witness as the failures. News recaps each night don't concentrate on stage winners or team tactics, they stick to the crashes and the controversy because after all the
DopingBaseball can take comfort at the NA meetings knowing that as close as it comes to rock bottom with performance-enhancing drugs, it will never sink as low as cycling. Drug use is so abundant in the Tour de France that it would be more difficult to point to riders who haven't been convicted or accused of doping than those who have. Each year, scandals overshadow the event as riders are kicked out for failing drug tests before turning around to accuse other riders until the controversy gets more
"C'mon, Dorothy, what are you? A pussy? Race me!"This isn't a recent phenomenon either; the Tour de France has an illustrious history of incentivizing cheaters. During the first few years of the race, cyclists used ether and alcohol to
"Somebody pay attention to me."In 2009, two of those riders found themselves on the same team, Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador both rode for Astana and spent the whole time fighting ...
CrashesJust like a game of Mario Kart, it doesn't matter how phenomenal a racer is in the Tour de France, objects in the road are always the great equalizer. While riders will never tumble over a fake prize box or an errant green shell, the things they do trip over are equally bizarre. Most notably: dogs. The tour has
Something like this, except for dogs.Even though the dogs bend bike rims with their bodies, they generally end up just fine after one of these crashes. The riders, on the other hand, never fare as well and often leave the race with broken collar bones and busted faces. Crashes on the Tour can be career-ending and the fault can lie with something as simple as a
FansThe Tour is unique in that it's one of the only worldwide events held in the streets instead of a stadium, which means anyone can go watch for free,
Throw "French" into the equation and the rabbit hole has no bottom.Nothing makes sense about these fans. Many of them have outfits so far unrelated to cycling or the Tour that it looks like they just walked into a costume store and panicked. And when they can't get a costume in time, then apparently the next best option is to just
"I don't know how to focus my admiration!"Aside from the distraction inherent to fat naked men in capes, fans will also dart out in front of cyclists with flags and move them away at the last second like a bullfighter -- or they'll run next to bikers trying, to have candid conversations with them, oblivious to the fact that the cyclists are in the most pain they've ever felt in their lives.
This fan was likely either having sex or taking a shit when he suddenly remembered there was something important he had to do.I'm assuming this is all meant to encourage the rider, yet for such die-hard fans of the sport, it's shocking how frequently they forget how bicycles work.
"Hey, that's a cool wheelie thing you ha- aaAAAGHHN!"In addition, every fan of one rider is an enemy to the others, heckling takes on a new meaning when spectators are within distance to
For more from Soren, check out Using Charity to Help The Third World (Worship You as a God). Or learn more about the hilarity of cycling in 5 Reasons Riding a Bike Is The Most Humiliating Exercise.