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 allegations of cheating, and all the riders' temper tantrums, and the inappropriate contract negotiations mid race, no one wants to see any of them win. We want to see them fall. As the race starts to resemble reality TV more than an athletic event, anyone with a casual interest in the Tour de France isn't watching to see how it goes, they are watching to see how it goes wrong. And it goes wrong all the time, in every direction. I like the Tour, but as long as the following four hunks of insanity are still predominant in the race, then the spectacle will always outweigh the sport and I will only watch for the disasters it consistently spits out.
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 coverage than the Tour. The whole thing feels like a witch hunt, except one where everyone actually is a witch, and they use their magic to ride bicycles really fast. "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
CrashesJust like a game of
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,
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
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.