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|The yellow jersey, one of the most famous jerseys in sports.|
Considering what they do, the only performance enhancer that would seem adequate is gasoline. 2. Old-school cheating. And hell, the recent doping is nothing compared to some of the stuff that went on when the Tour was young. Back in the old days, fans would toss nails on the road and set up obstacles; riders would break the inkstands at required stage check-in points, and put itching powder in their opponents' shorts, and place cocaine on their eyelids to stay alert during the grueling race. Those are just some of the tactics described in Graeme Fife's wonderful history of the race, aptly titled "Tour De France." My favorite story, however, is about Eugene Christophe, whose front forks broke on a descent in the Pyrenees. He carried the bike five miles to a village, borrowed tools at a blacksmith's shop, and forged new forks, repaired the bike and then resumed the race. I tell you, if today's cyclists had to work at a blacksmith's forge, they wouldn't need steroids.
|The Tour de France, in ... London? Yep, that's right.|
|This guy should really be focused on the podium girl, instead of the stuffed animal.|
So turn on the Tour during the next three weeks and start riding your own stages. Once again feel the joy you enjoyed as a kid while you pretend you're breaking away from the pack on Col d'Aubisque. Trust me, there is no greater pleasure in sports than passing SUVs stalled in rush-hour traffic. Unless you're passing them as they fill up at the gas station. Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached here. His Web site is at jimcaple.net, with more installments of "24 College Avenue." His new book with Steve Buckley, "The Best Boston Sports Arguments: The 100 Most Controversial, Debatable Questions for Die-Hard Boston Fans" is on sale now.