The Daily Bike, February 11, 2013

1927 tour de france 660

Here’s a question. Given the inability to compare cycling eras across the better part of a century, it’s probably a rhetorical question. Or maybe not. Would we the public view professional cyclists who dope any differently if their doping weren’t so damn skeezy? All these PEDs wrapped in tin foil and slipped from functionary to spouse to athlete, like a pharmacist handing suppositories to a cashier to a blushing dyspeptic customer. The needles and the blood and the faked bus breakdowns on the side of the road. All this sneaking and skullduggery and fey denials of complicity. Wouldn’t we admire them more if they just did what early generations did — benumbed themselves with alcohol and prepped for the mountain stages with liberal doses of cocaine. That’s the manly way to game the system — right out in the open, with groupies in tow. In 1927, the Tour de France was rock ‘n’ roll.

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