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Tour's openness is its greatest strength, and weakness

Updated: July 26, 2007, 3:51 PM ET
By Bonnie DeSimone | Special to ESPN.com

PAU, France -- Part of the reason the Tour de France has charmed generation after generation for more than 100 years, seducing people who don't give a flip about cycling, converting some of them into permanent spoke-heads, is simple.

The Tour is open. Most of the course is free of barricades. No tickets, no exorbitant parking, no luxury boxes. All it takes to be part of it is whatever effort you want to put into getting there and setting up your folding chairs and your picnic table.

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