The Road to Paris

I discovered the documentary about Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Team, The Road to Paris, while I was reading Bob Roll’s Tour de France Companion. I had never heard of it. I went immediately to Netflix to order the DVD, but they didn’t have it. I was bummed. Then I tried You Tube and found the entire thing, split conveniently into 11 8 minute and 41 second vignettes. I love the internet.
Over the next couple of days, I watched all the episodes. The movie follows Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service for 27 days of training before the Tour de France. You get insights into both how a major cycling team functions on the inside, how they prepare for races, not just the Tour de France, but the entire European season, who does what on the team. You are privy to the internal machinations and the thought process behind training for the Tour. Finally you actually see Lance training in the rain and the snow and you get a sense of the amount of dedication it takes to win. It’s truly amazing to see.
Listening to Johann Bruyneel discuss what it takes to win the Tour, trust in the team, how difficult it is to wear and defend the Yellow Jersey and why it’s important not to have until absolutely necessary—all the demands, the media, the drug testing, etc, wears on the riders has given me new understanding for cycling and the Tour.
Here’s the first episode:

It’s a little hard to find the next episode once you’ve finished one, so here they all are:
1 Epiosde 1
2 Epiosde 2
3 Epiosde 3
4 Epiosde 4
5 Epiosde 5
6 Epiosde 6
7 Epiosde 7
8 Epiosde 8
9 Epiosde 9
10 Epiosde 10
11 Epiosde 11

5 thoughts on “The Road to Paris”

  1. I replied earlier to your post specifically about brothers Contador and Ricco, the later the only guy who could hang with the former in the mountains during the Giro. Of course, ala Basso in 2006 who claims his alien like performance was dope free, and only claimed to intended doping in the TdF, Ricco claims he ONLY doped in the TdF.
    Now as a former LA fan, I cannot believe Armstrong was able to drag Basso, Ulrich, Piepeli, Mayo and all those former posties up the mountains…. clean.
    LA doped. That is plain and simple.
    Why is it that while the other dopers are being caught, new faces are emerging on the podiums?
    Stuttgart, Germany

  2. I agree with in theory. However, you have to take into account that not all cyclists are at the same level. Certain cyclists need to get to dope to get up to elite level. Others, like Tricky Beltran needed them just to stay in the stay in the peloton. It’s possible that certain athletes like Contador and Armstrong didn’t dope, while others needed meds or whatever just to get even close to them. I’m not saying that they didn’t. I’m just saying it’s possible.
    Contador as winners of the TdF and wearers of the Yellow Jerrey and Armstrong have been tested repeatedly and have never, to my knowledge tested positive. The testing regimes are now very rigorous and include testing for both doping and masking agents. Now that doesn’t mean they haven’t doped. It could just mean that they are just one step ahead of the testers or it could mean they didn’t dope. We just don’t know. Speculation is rather fruitless.
    On the other hand, Armstrong is a freak of an athlete. His lung capacity and ability to flush lactic acid out of his muscles are off the charts. Maybe he doesn’t need to dope. Who really knows? I hope he didn’t because it would be terrible for the sport.
    As for your question, some new faces appear on podiums because they are doping (Ricco at the Giro) and others because they work their ass off and deserve it or are young and talented or because cycling heros have retired or been caught doping (Contador, Sastre, Kohl, et al.). Let’s hope anyway.

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