Cycling & Old-World Sportsmanship

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This is a great (short) story about The World’s Greatest Sport and it’s greatest event: the Tour de France. No other sport exhibits such old-world sportsmanship, dedication to unwritten rules, and Hoppean natural elitism.

Lance Armstrong’s recovery from a fall helped him outpace his rivals in a dramatic Tour de France on Monday, but that fall also illustrates the tradition of the 100-year endurance cycling race.

Sportsmanship and cycling skill figured into the victory. Armstrong crossed the line 40 seconds ahead of Jan Ullrich, whom he left behind on the punishing ascent in the misty mountains of the Pyrenees.

After Armstrong’s mishap, Ullrich observed an unwritten rule of cycling, slowing to allow Armstrong to catch up. The two were involved in a similar incident in their 2001 duel, when Ullrich flew over his handlebars and Armstrong waited for his German rival to recover.

Armstrong, and Iban Mayo of Spain, who also fell, quickly got back on their bikes; during that time the peloton — the pack of cyclists — did not attack, in keeping with tradition, Reuters reported.

Great, old-world, Euro sportsmanship that still adheres to timeless, genteel tradition.

4:46 pm on July 21, 2003