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"A normal person would have finished in hospital"

KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
edited July 2007 in Pro race
Belgian journalist, Guillaume Prébois heard Tom Boonen say after a hard day in the Pyrenees in the 2006 Tour de France that "a normal person would have finished in hospital".

As an ordinary person, he wanted to know if an ordinary person could ride the Tour de France without recourse to medical aids.

He also wanted to rediscover the suffering of cycling, "I remember when I was a kid that riders would push journalists away so they could get their breath back at the finish. Today you never see that" he said.

So riding with Fabio Biasolo, twice second in the Ride Across America, he rode the entire route a day ahead of the Tour and reported on this everyday for the Belgian media.

Along the way, he was shunned by the pro cycling teams. When he asked for an interview with Boonen, the Quick-Step team told him "his efforts have nothing to do with the Tour de France" and they blanked him.

But, like Chris Bream and others who have ridden the Tour, he proved that you can ride the entire route without any cheating. More interestingly that others who have ridden, he took a medical team with him to measure how his body was coping with the effort and whilst he suffered mentally from the daily effort, his body coped fine with the load, he did not finish wrecked or with low hormonal levels. For sure, he did not ride as quick as the pros but he's no freak of nature, born with giant lungs or a supreme cardio system. He had no bunch to hide in, he couldn't descend fast because of oncoming cars and coaches, but on the TT stage in Albi, he was only 5 minutes slower than the last pro and had to do the course with traffic on it.

Well done to him, especially for dispelling the myth that the Tour de France is so hard that you need to take drugs.


  • bigdawgbigdawg Posts: 672
    The guy that wrote shadow riding the tour de france also did most of it by himself, although some over eficious gendarmes stopped him on a couple of stages...

    good book too...
    dont knock on death\'s door.....

    Ring the bell and leg it...that really pi**es him off....
  • Dorian GrayDorian Gray Posts: 220
    Surely you're kidding? Riding ~200 km a day for three weeks is hard, but in no way impossible for a fit cyclist with a few months' dedicated training.

    Racing for three weeks is an entirely different kettle of fish and I'm not sure how doing one would prove anything about the other.

    In any case, cyclists don't dope because the Tour is tough. They dope to win (or secure contracts, etc.). 100-metre sprinters are among the heaviest users of banned substances in the sporting world, yet they suffer, if that's the right word, for about 10 seconds.
  • off the backoff the back Posts: 168
    Cant agree more - riding the course and racing the course are worlds apart!!! Then add racing the course against the best riders in the world and it is another level again.

    All credit to the guys who rode the course and a great challenge but nothing on racing it I am sorry.
  • lloyd bowerlloyd bower Posts: 664
    Have you a link to the article, it's sounds interesting

    ..Well done to him, especially for dispelling the myth that the Tour de France is so hard that you need to take drugs..

    I'd agree, after every doping scandal there's usually cries to make the race easier, because it's hard that's they reason they dope. Well that's nonsense, if the stages were shorter and there were no doping checks, people would still try to cheat.
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    In any case, cyclists don't dope because the Tour is tough.

    I know that, but many people think it's so hard that you have to have extra help. So this helps to get rid of that myth. Of course racing is harder but as many riders have shown (Geraint Thomas, Wegelius, Millar, most of the French riders), you can ride on bread and water and make it. Only the public isn't told very often of the clean riders and a stunt like this helps.

    For more on this, just google Guillaume Prébois.
  • le_patronle_patron Posts: 491
    I rode it all this year in three weeks -
    Racing it is obviously completely different again, but to suggest you can't get round without drugs is a nonsense.
    The pros would all get round no problem without being up to the eyeballs as they usually are.They'd just be a little slower and there would be less 'mysterious' TT results and fewer mountain attacks. A few more would drop out too as they wouldn't recover in time to stay with the pace.

    Athletes dope in 100 metre races as well as 2000 mile races.
  • jimmythecuckoojimmythecuckoo Posts: 4,402
    le patron wrote:
    Athletes dope in 100 metre races as well as 2000 mile races.

    not that the media would want you to believe that of course.
  • It's utter censored and we as the public must be suckers to keep falling for the you cant ride it on mineral water rubbish. Of course there is a big difference between racing it and touring it, but the huma body has some pretty sophisticated safety mechanisms to prevent you from overdoing it. Removing drugs, and therefore having everyone riding clean might mean slower stages, but with less onconsistencies between riders and between days, which would make for much closer racing.
  • Moose11Moose11 Posts: 235
    Of course it's possible to get an exciting race thats completely clean. Plenty of guys in the peloton are doing it clean and I truely believe some of them are right up at the front in some cases. Natural talent goes a long way, the drugs just push some of them that little bit further.
  • EurostarEurostar Posts: 1,806
    What a non-story. The teams were right to shun him.

    What\'s the point of going out? We\'re just going to end up back here anyway
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