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« Success and Fame | Main | Fiorenzo Magni: Third man, but not least »

Tour de France could become fixed again

A recent Wall Street Journal article about the Tour de France and the fact that the family owned company that puts on this anual event, is considering selling it.

There was speculation that Lance Armstrong might be interested in buying, however, Lance immediately rejected the idea saying. “I love the Tour de France, but I am not interested in owning it.”

The latest news is that a young French Internet Billionaire, named Jacques LeLad, is the latest to show interest in the event. If this happens, it will change the Tour de France as we know it. LeLad is a twenty-something French Hipster and fixed wheel enthusiast. His plans are to change the TDF to a fixed only event.

The Tour de France does of course have a fixed wheel history. From its beginnings in 1903 up until 1938, the event was restricted to a single fixed gear. This was at the whim of then owner Henri Desgrange, whose opinion was that multiple gears took away from the purity and simplicity of the sport. Multiple gears had been available some years before 1938.

In the old days of the race, it took a course over the French Alps as it does today.

The single gear riders would stop at the foot of a climb, remove the rear wheel, and turn it around to a larger sprocket on the opposite side of the wheel. Repeating the process again at the top of the mountain in readiness for the descent.

In a recent interview, Jacques LeLad said that if his bid was successful there would be no more mountain stages. Through a translator he said,

“Fixie Bikes are of the street, and that is where the race should be.”

It will become a series of street races held in the larger French cities. The competitors will travel from one stage to the next in tour buses.

When asked if he thought the French public would come out to watch such an event, LeLad replied that he was unconcerned about spectators, as the event would draw fixie enthusiasts from all over the world. “They will be ’ere in their millions.” He quipped.

The sad thing is that he is probably right, and in this economy the French government is not going to turn away millions of potential tourists. It is doubtful the French government will stand in the way of this move.

The UCI, (The world governing body of cycling.) is powerless in the matter, as the Tour de France organizers, are a privately owned company.

There is a website where fans of the Tour de France as we know it can lodge a protest. At this time it is all we can do.



Reader Comments (12)

Good one, Dave!!
The fixie dudes will rule the world!!

And why not? The world needs more super-short risers with pink Oury's, and super-tight, super-skinny butt-crack jeans, rolled up on one side.

In fact, LeLad should require the above mentioned uniform. No more shaved legs, and bright spandex.

Keep 'em coming; let's see what you think up next year.

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterYohann M

I guess I have my doubts, but I find myself surprisingly indifferent. I seems to be one of those events that has outgrown itself from the fertilizer of hype and money. I'm rather tired of watching riders, who in essence, ride just this one event a year, gain a 10 second advantage and have their team nurse it for three weeks. Why not just run a time trail, one mountain stage and just call it a race. What the hell, at this point there is nothing to lose. Maybe it'll inject more energy into the event

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGunnar Berg

Beautiful dave! I liked LeLad ("the boy") especially. Well done and welcome back!

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSKYLAB

Ruddy hell this is a great blog. I've just read the Magni stuff and it's excellent. Congratulations!

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHerbie Sykes

Or if the Tour is that important (which it is, as THE iconic cycling race), it would be perfectly reasonable to resurrect it under different ownership once Mr. Fixie has "fixed" his race. Can't call it the Tour de France, but that's the only "road"-block here. He can waste his money, and someone who doesn't care to play the bidding game can keep the old ball rolling on the real Tour de France, perhaps titled "Le Coup de France".

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Nienaber

I actually went to the website to cast my vote, and it said voting is over because everyone with internet access has already voted.
Results will be posted next year...

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Farner

Hey Dave! Great to see a new post, even though it has me OUTRAGED!!.

April 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermander

Ya know, if some of us didn't fail for things, it wouldn't be a fool's day now would it? I noticed that Jacque LeLad only had one hit on Google.

April 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergunnar berg

A smart ass teen or twenty-something male in England is often referred to as "Jack the Lad." Hence the French version "Jacques LeLad."

April 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave Moulton

wow, i was totally taken in by this. only when i googled the young mr lelad did i come to suspect something was amiss. great prank!

April 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterclifton

hay dave. is that your masi aero on ebay right now? i notice that the guy says hes selling it for kirkbride. i also noticed that there was an ad on ny craigslist trying to sell-i believe- the same bike for 2000.00. i couldnt find any more infor on that as the ad had expired so i dont know whats up with that. you only made one right? anyway im kinda interested in that bike, just wanted to make sure its the real deal. joe

April 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjoe englert

Since I read this almost a month later, I didn't catch the april fool's joke. Boy. You're tricky.

Here was mine : Cozy Beehive Also based on fixed gear.

April 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRon
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