>Vive le tour (1962)


Following today’s top bicycle racers leaves one with the impression that it is a sport of the superhuman. This is true of following them in the press, but I assume also on your bike, though I have never tried. The best cyclists seem almost machine-like. But underneath it all is the very human struggle of athletic competition. Strip away all the hype and gloss and one might find something like this wonderful 1962 documentary directed by Louis Malle, Vive le tour.
Notice at 8:31 in Part 1 you hear in English one of the reporters saying, “Doping or not doping, that is the question.”
At 1:43 in Part 2 the film addresses doping. The excuse the riders gave? They had eaten some “bad fish.” Sound familiar?

Descending in the fog looked dreadful. 

It is interesting that the take on doping is about riders wanting to block the pain so they don’t stop rather than about riding faster. The film almost takes a sympathetic stance, as though doping only lets us know just how tough this race truly is.

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