This week the Sunday Scribblers are wrapping the mind around the word phenomenon. Which led to this very French contribution. I'm not sure if folks in other parts of the world are aware of what's going on here, but I hope you will enjoy this anyway.

Robbie slept soundly that night. So much so that he didn't wake until well after 8 a.m. Today was the day he'd lived for all year. Ever since the news first broke that this year's race would be coming right through their village and that the final time trial would be around the lake in the next valley, he couldn't talk or think of anyone else. Almost every year it was on this stage where the tour was won and lost. And he would be there, in the front line. Together with his uncle, his parents had finally been able to raise enough money to rent one of the small cabins on the final straight before the finish. It was to be a combined christmas and birthday present for that year. But then he would have given a decade of christmas and birthday presents to be present at this year's tour.

It could be said Robbie had been born on a cycle. If the truth were known his mother had merely been ridden to the village clinic on the back of his dad's well-worn *** some 2 hours before his birth. He had been cycling ever since he first succeeded in raising himself up on two feet. Walking was still hazardous, but he whizzed around on that little toy bycicle like a champion and it wasn't long before he got his first real cycle. There was no stopping him then. Even the village club's unwritten rule that foreigners were not welcome, rescinded at the sight of his enthusiasm and commitment. His room was papered with posters of tour champions past and present. But pride of place went to Tommy Simpson, his fellow countryman - one who never made it to the finish but whose grit and determination led to his death whilst wearing that coveted yellow jersey during one of the most gruelling stages in race history. Could he Robbie ever emulate that great man's courage?

This year's race promised much. It promised to be one of the most open races ever. Anyone of a number of cyclists could take final victory this time. And very soon, one man set tongues buzzing. A climber! Could this year's race really go to a climber? A rare, if not unknown occurrence. Then, the news broke. One rider after another fell disgraced by the wayside until the inevitable happened. Even the great climber had had to succumb. It came as a surprise to no one, apparantly. But it devasted Robbie. And worse, was still to come as he took refuge in his books on the history of the tour, only to discover that similar substances had probably contributed to the death of his hero all those many years ago, during that last, fateful stage.

So Robbie slept soundly that night. He didn't wake until well after 8 a.m., far too late to go down to the lake to see the riders start. It was a day like any other, yet not quite like any other. For the first time in years, Robbie's bike stayed locked up in the garage. The commemorative, yellow jersey he had meant to wear, remained folded neatly in his wardrobe. He would never wear it again. But the same fate would not befall his bicycle. Tommorrow would be an new day. New riders would come. Riders for whom cycling and not money would be the first love. And they would do battle with all those who had brought their sport into disrepute. And Robbie would be one of them.


For dabbling...this was really powerful, intriguing and had me engrossed in the story..It brought the human side of the tour. I like that!

28 July 2007 at 15:07  

Somehow it made me feel so sad. One thinking post.

You do have a way with words. Keep posting!

28 July 2007 at 17:05  

I haven't followed the Tour but I enjoyed reading your post. Interesting and well written.

28 July 2007 at 18:39  

that was so well written,, and so timely a message... i really enjoyed that... it really brings home the difference between the love of the sport,, and the lust for the financial gain....

this is true in all venues of life...

thank you...

28 July 2007 at 20:32  

You do a good job in your story with summing up the actual situation with the Tour. I've been privileged to see five of Lance Armstrong's wins live on the Champs. But the Tour has become a bit of a farce the past two years, due to one doping scandal after another. I'm not going to the Champs to watch the finish today, although I do applaud and admire those riders who have ridden the Tour while following the rules. It's such a difficult race. The French papers are filled with disgust at this year's Tour's doping scandals and of course a big question mark still hangs over the head of last year's winner. I think the French are missing the days when Lance Armstrong and Jan Ulhrich were in competition.

29 July 2007 at 10:12  

It is sad when one's dreams die. I enjoyed reading your blog!

29 July 2007 at 14:23  

Your post really sums up the race -the good, the bad and the ugly. The tour came through a village near us last year and it was definitely not an event to be missed.

29 July 2007 at 18:57  

This was a wonderful story and well written. I wanted to read more. :)

29 July 2007 at 19:51  

I think you more than dabble in writing - very nicely done.
I could see that yellow jersey.
Thanks for visiting,

29 July 2007 at 21:46  

i feel sadness for the loss of integrity in all sports today. it seems most of them, if not all, are tainted with one problem or another, and it not only devalues the sport, but the accomplishments of those who hit those home runs, won those races, got those touchdowns and goals on their own, the fair way. i enjoyed thie piece very much.

30 July 2007 at 16:25  

Nice writing--you do capture the sense of loss going on in all sports and even over here, we get news about the Tour.

30 July 2007 at 21:04  

Your story telling ability is second to none!
Sad when children's dreams face the reality of the greedy adult world.

1 August 2007 at 11:01  

I had been catching snippets of the Tour this year. This sport is one which we watch from a far, whereas others we are completely ensconced in as is Robbie with the, I understand his feeling of betrayal. It's such a nasty life lesson isn't it.

may he jump on his bike and ride is way through his feelings and come back with some things resolved.

Great take on the prompt.

1 August 2007 at 15:16  

Love your take on Le Tour ... will 'Robbie' become the guy who turns it all around in years to come?? Hope so!

2 August 2007 at 17:05  

Loved reading this story, Paul.

21 August 2007 at 20:18  

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