July 26, 2007
Enough with Chariots of Fire nostalgia
Thankfully somebody is starting to talk some sense against all of those doping is destroying cycling! people (read: sports columnists), who seem to have a memory that stretches back half a decade, max.
Jere Longman writes in the Times
While the world's most famous bicycle race is now under threat, only the most naive have considered cycling to be clean. It seems inhuman to ask athletes to pedal their bikes at great speed some 2,200 miles in three weeks, often up tortuous mountain passes, without chemical assistance.
Fausto Coppi of Italy, who won the Tour in 1949 and 1952, was once asked if he ever fueled himself with amphetamines.
"Only when necessary," he said.
How often was that?
"Most of the time," Coppi replied.
Jacques Anquetil of France, a five-time winner, once said with sarcasm, "Do they expect us to ride the Tour on Perrier water?"
The line we all wish we had said first goes to Charles Yesalis, a professor emeritus of health policy and kinesiology at Penn State University:
Don't give me any of that 'Chariots of Fire' stuff; cut the box of Wheaties bull . . . There's nothing pure about it.