Le Grand Withdrawl

Another year, another TDF gone. It is always weird waking up in the morning and not having a Stage 22 to watch.

I could pretend to have any real insights into what it all means, but after logging in and catching up on blogs I found that, yet again, Wankmeister sums it all up.

I want to believe that Froome managed to do all of this without cramming himself full of crude carcinogens and blood boosters. That he really can push almost 460w at threshold for 45min, and he’s a quantum leap in humanity. I want to believe that we, as a species, can do it. That eventually we’ll push ourselves beyond the limits of previous generations and their biochemistry.

There’s any number of rationalizations that can help this. My preferred being that the peloton is cleaner, and Froome is the benefactor of racing against the donkeys of the EPO-era, now deprived of their juice. Contador can’t attack uphill. Schleck and Evans can’t make the selections anymore. Maybe Froome really is the bridge between the old era, and the new, cleaner riders who aren’t yet ready to really contend over three weeks.

Or, possibly, its all a farce. Bike porn. I certainly have no love for Sky, their tactics or PR management.

At its heart, the Tour de France is about human triumph. A race where a well timed wheelie is often celebrated just as much as a stage win. Just making it to Paris is the goal of all but a handful of the top riders. Completing the event means something unique in professional athletics.

But, it has also been done. We’ve proven the event can be tackled. 100 times, in fact. Now it needs to be done, faster, more publicly, and for money. Money and sponsors that don’t want to be associated with a cesspool of drugs while at the same time clamoring for a bigger and more profitable spectacle.

How, and if, that can be achieved going forward is likely the event’s greatest challenge.

But for every Froome, there’s a Quintana. For every Contador there’s a Ted King. People who can still dare us to dream and achieve.

It will always provide the inspiration to climb mountains, to travel and explore, and celebrate the shared achievement of humankind.

Or at the very least, the inspiration to pop a beer and grill some meat…


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