Dear M. Prudhomme,
Today, as part of my carefully-planned annual “get all wound up about the Tour de France” ritual, I spent several minutes browsing the official Tour de France website. As part of my intention to be a well-informed Tour de France (TdF) consumer, I of course read your editorial, linked from a prominent place on the home page.
You are to be congratulated, M. Prudhomme, on successfully writing the single most boring thing I have ever read. As a point of reference, I have also read the first two chapters of my wife’s copy of Twilight, and your editorial was even more boring than that.
Seriously. It was very boring.
As a (very famous and beloved) cycling blogger who was once a computer magazine editor and before that a professional technical writer, I feel I have the experience to “punch up” your editorial to make it less…well…unreadable. And also, I have taken the liberty of adding in a few interesting thoughts you might have included if you hadn’t been so singlemindedly focused on writing the most boring thing that has ever been written.
My edits are easy to follow, M. Prudhomme. Additions are in red. Deletions are in strikeout.
I look forward to your posting this revised version on your site.
The Fat Cyclist
Editorial: 2009 Tour de France: This Time It’s Personal!
Beyond the prestige associated with the Principality, the Tour Start from Monaco was an immediate landmark attraction: being located in the south-east, it provoked the most intense curiosity as to the envisaged route and favoured audacity in the elaboration of the course got me an absolutely awesome new car. Prince Albert was all like, “Hey, start the Tour here in Monaco, and I’ll make it worth your while.” And I was like, “Can I have a new car?” And he was like, “Sure, what kind?” And that’s when I knew two things. First, that the Tour would start in Monaco. And second, that this went over way too easy and I should have asked for more than just a car.
Still, the Tour’s got to start somewhere. And I am still trying to decide on what kind of car to get. Maybe a nice Peugot 206.
The objectives of the race designers nevertheless remain exactly the same: to provide a varied terrain, in terms of both sport and aesthetics, in order to fire the imagination of champions – except Lance Armstrong – and to somehow find a way for a Frenchman to win. , enthusiasts, and to stimulate interest and suspense throughout the event.
This year, I believe I have succeeded in this noble trifecta of objectives, by instituting the following changes:
- The published course is no longer valid.
- The starting line, time and route of each stage of the new course is secret.
To obtain the location and route for the new course, racers simply had to do the following, without coaching or warning:
- Sing the French National Anthem
- Provide a certificate of birth showing France as your native country.
- Eat several snails.
The beginning of each race stage should be exciting indeed!
More important than any of that, though, is one overarching consideration: Lance Armstrong must not win. He must be stopped at any cost. Toward that objective, I have put the following additional new rules in place:
- If you are from Texas, all carbohydrates are henceforth considered dope.
- “Random” drug tests may be conducted during the actual stage. Specifically, the “Doper Cycle” may pull over anyone he wants to at any point along the course and administer a drug test. The racer must wait on the side of the road until the results of the test are confirmed. I should also note that results may appear to take some time, since the doping lab keeps banker’s hours and are not, sadly, open at all on weekends.
- For every TdF a given rider has won, he must add 1Kg to the overall weight of his bicycle. Except on climbing stages, where the rider must add 2Kg per TdF win.
- If you are from Texas, all water-based drinks are henceforth considered dope.
- Team Astana shall be considered “on probation” during this Tour, and as such must ride this year’s Tour unsupported. No mechanical support. No food or water handoffs (that’s all dope anyway). Also, all Team Astana riders must keep their tires’ air pressure at or below the special upper limit of 32psi.
- If you are from Texas, your chamois is considered dope.
The French riders hold the key to the July performance, but the stage is set for a dream of a landmark finale, exactly twenty years after the most extraordinary final in the history of the Tour.
Really, it’s too bad only a very small group of individuals knows the location of that stage. Well, too bad for some people, anyway.
Hence, never, in over one hundred years, has a mountain been so close to Paris. Trust me, it was not easy nor inexpensive to have a mountain relocated. It turns out that UPS will move anything if you’re willing to pay the overage charges! And what a mountain, twenty four hours (or perhaps twenty two or thirty six hours; I choose not to say) before the Champs Élysées: the Giant of Provence, the Ventoux! Thanks to this mythical climb, unique in its genre, not only will the suspense be maintained; it will increase in magnitude right up to the gates of the capital. Too bad (for most people and especially for one person) it’s no longer where it used to be.
Prior to this, the 2009 Tour will have proposed a “big blue” style start to the race (even I have no idea what that means, and I wrote it!), with a first week delightfully concentrated around directly through the Mediterranean sea, from Monaco to Barcelona via Prague, accompanied, on the way, by evocations of Van Gogh and Dali. Because I know that what cycling enthusiasts really love in their race coverage is evocations of dead painters. It will have marked the return of a top-flight athletic exercise, the team time trial, and confirmed the absence of bonuses, decided upon last year. Second place will sometimes be declared first place, at my discretion.
It will have put Marseille and its Vieux Port in the limelight, along with the beautiful Annecy and the very swanky resort of Verbier, in Switzerland, but also, at the heart of the countryside, Vatan, in the Indre, and Saint-Fargeau, in the Yonne, the smallest commune in the 96th edition of the Tour; given that the Tour, a magnificent popular celebration, is committed to one and all, far and wide, in our towns and in our countryside. Blah blah blah blah blah.
Oh, and I’m also asking Versus to bring back Al Trautwig. I love that guy.
Director of the Tour de France
PS: Team Fatty crossed $300,000 raised for the Lance Armstrong Foundation today! Congratulations and a big thanks to everyone for working so hard. – FC