Tour de France

Cycling Great: Louison Bobet

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Louison Bobet – a Breton who first became a Tour de France winner, then a Tour Great, the a Tour Legend!

Louis “Louison” Bobet – French

b. 12 Mar. 1925 Saint-Méen-le-Grand

d. 13 Aug. 1983

Tour de France – 10 Participations, 3 Victories, 11 Stage Wins.

1947; Didn’t finish

1948; 2 stage wins, stage 6 Bordeaux – Biarritz & stage 12 San Remo – Cannes

1949; didn’t finish

1950; King of the Mountains, 1 stage win, stage 18 Gap – Briancon

1951; 20th overall, 1 stage win, stage 17 Montpellier – Avignon

1953; Winner, 2 stage wins, stage 18 Gap – Briancon, & stage 20 Lyon – Saint-Etienne (time trial)

1954; Winner, 3 stage wins, stage 2 Beveren – Lille, stage 18 Grenoble – Briancon, & stage 21 part 2 Epinal – Nancy (time trial)

1955; Winner, 2 stage wins, stage 3 Roubaix – Namur, & stage 11 Marseille – Avignon

1958; 7th overall

1959; Didn’t finish

Jacques Anquetil said of Bobet “in Bobet’s eyes, there were no little races or unimportant victories. Every race mattered and he wanted to give his all to his public. Bobet knew only one way to race, whatever the sacrifices.”

Tour de Farce; le-cheat, eh?

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So… Lance engaged in doping to win, well what a shock! I just don’t believe it’s true, he was so convincing when he told us he hadn’t.

Actually he’s not the first to have been caught cheating and certainly not the last and I’m willing to speculate that there will be others in the future.  Le Tour de France is perhaps the most demanding race of human body, mind and spirit that the world has the privilege of seeing each year.  Its nothing short of a miracle that so many competitors actually finish, never mind the times they post.  But, not all winners are cheats.  Miguel Indurain won the race 1991 – 1995 inclusive with no hint of chemical help, now that’s a Champ!

Lance now faces several challenges:

How to continue, he got told to leave; to support the Livestrong organisation.  Lance had cancer and he recovered and that is a great thing (I know this to be true).  He’s gonna have to pull a trick or two out of the bag to do this, support Livestrong, admit to cheating and tell the story of cancer recovery.  I wish him well with that one.

He’s gotta explain his reasoning he wasn’t the ‘king-pin’.  This too another trick required me thinks.  The level of publicity, the number of wins the assumption is going to be he must have had a central role.  He all but abandonment his former team mate Frankie Andreu when he refused to become embroiled in the affair.  Betsy Andreu, Frankies wife, was one of the very first to make public accusations of doping.  She made it clear that Lance and Frankie were best friends; so go for it Lance, explain away.

The legal challenges will be varied and many.  Floyd Landis ex-team mate has gone for a whistlblower suit accusing Lance of defrauding the whole Postal Service Team which sponsored the team to the tune of more than $30m, WOW that’s a lot of money.  But it doesn’t stop there, oh no.  The UK Sunday Times want $1.6m back over a libel case they lost, it clearly hurt!  A Texan Insurance Company is suing for $11m for insured performance bonuses in his 4th, 5th & 6th wins.

So this is big, I think all will agree and I’m certain more will be added to the list of those who want their money back.

But…

He did it to win, he didn’t do it on his own.  He had support and his team were (not any more tho) happy to take the plaudits for the wins.  The pressure must have been enormous to do the doping thing and win!

Do I feel let down as a fan? Well yes.

Do I blame him?  Well yes also, but I also blame the whole organisation behind the cheat.

I wait for the Oprah interview to air, but from whats being said its not gonna be a surprise.  Oh yeah, can have my money back for buying his book?  It was an inspiration though, pity it was about Le-cheat.