Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tour de France 2007: Death or Rebirth

"Here is a country with superb roads and railroads, glorious cities and landscape, and food and wine that don't need my praise. That's not to mention an excellent health service, or industrial productivity quite as high per hour worked as it is in the United States (it's just that the French don't care to devote quite so much of their lives to working as the Americans).

Maybe the Tour should look at France as its image, rather than the other way round.

France Soir added to the gloom by making up its front page as a mock death announcement, reporting the demise of the Tour "at the age of 104, after a long illness." But that could have been said of the France itself, in 1940 or 1958, when the country seemed likewise a terminal case.

It wasn't, and nor I hope is the Tour. It certainly needed another severe shock to the system, and has now had it. Just possibly Prudhomme is right, and this year's Tour will be not a death-knell but a rebirth."

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