I’d forgotten I’d written this guide to the Tour de France until someone emailed me this morning to thank me for having explained the complexities of the race. Like I say in this guide, it’s more than guys riding bikes really fast… There are plenty of intricacies to note about this seminal and nearly month-long competition.
As you will see, I wrote it during Armstrong’s heyday, using him as an example, but despite the scandal that has cast a pall on those results, the analysis is still fair. The race dynamics are still the race dynamics, and even if you think “le dopage” was rampant, it still wouldn’t completely explain why he did so well. Remember, the Tour de France is about a lot more than guys going fast on bikes; to win you need a lot more in terms of competitive advantage than just an artificial enhancement.
Also for your Tour de France reading pleasure, I have a travelogue that describes what it was like to see it in person. Shortly before going to law school I did a summer school program in Provence to work on my French skills. A portion of that experience is described here, which includes the weekend some classmates and I set out to see a stage on the infamous le Mont Ventoux. Enjoy!