the Tour de France
FOR ALL THE soccer played by Spain, and fine tennis at Wimbledon, something was ailing me this past month. It’s called Tour Fever. My promiscuous love for sports includes rugby (which I played a very long time ago), skiing (which I still relish as an aging downhill daredevil), and cricket (despite the English weather). For obscure reasons, I follow the Red Sox, with little joy at present, and thanks to the hospitality of the University of Texas, where I sometimes lecture, I consider myself a long-range Longhorns fan.
With the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency having recently made new (and vigorously denied) accusations against the record-breaking seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, it’s tempting to imagine the annual cycling race dampened by scandal when it gets under way this weekend. But, in reality, the accusations came as little surprise to those familiar with the history of the sport. Pick any Tour de France in recent memory and a cloud hangs over the final standings.