I am going to tell you what I already told you last year because the Tour de France is the single most stable institution in the Western world. It hardly change from one year to the next.
Bicycle racing is right up there with golfing as a boring spectator sport. You wait on the side of the road for an hour. Then you see and smell a bunch of commercial vehicles. Then you detect a couple of blurs, then a bunch of blurs. Someone right next to you assures you that your favorite champion just went by. You have no idea whether it’s true or not. Incidentally, all my life I have stood next to individuals who saw more and understood more than I did. That was in every conceivable activity. It makes me feel small.
I don’t know why there are not two series of awards associated with the Tour: The present ones for racers and a second set for chemical providers and pharmaceutical companies. They seem to be equally deserving. I admit that I clung for a long time to one of the most lovely myths of the 20th century: An undomitable, unitesticular American champion teaching the haughty French a lesson in their own sport on their own soil six times in a row. Alas, it looks more and more like it was an unsurprising chain of victories of American chemistry over French chemistry. It’s less daunting and much less adorable and it’s less didactic overall.
In the unlikely case that you have wondered what the French commentary on the Tour is like, let me give you a hand: The French commentary is completely inane except when an important racer gets severely wounded or unless a large number of unimportant racers are lightly hurt. The French commentary of the Tour de France is the best reason to feel no regrets about your inability to learn any of the language in two years of high-school French.
I am still in favor of the Tour though. Seen through TV screens it is the most intelligent, most attractive, least obtrusive advertisement for the incomparable French countryside. Good for French tourism; does not hurt too many people, promotes our collective knowledge of pharmacology. A good thing overall.