Riding High: Shadow Cycling the Tour de France
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The Tour de France is a world-renowned, almost mythical sporting competition. Since 1903, participants have battled not just with each other but also with the terrain, mechanical hindrances, the occasional sadism of the organisers and even with the fans. The demands on the riders are so great that the achievements and rivalries of those involved have passed into sporting legend. Recently, however, the event has been tarnished by the institutionalised doping of some riders and teams. As a result, the authenticity of these very achievements and rivalries has been called into doubt.To find out whether an increasingly sceptical public could once again laud the exploits of the past century with conviction, club cyclist Paul Howard set out to complete the Tour – in the year of its 100th anniversary – on level terms with today’s riders. But, instead of teammates, mechanics and possibly the contents of the local pharmacy as support, he had a handful of friends, his dad and a sense of humour to see him through. With only three weeks to complete over 2,000 miles, was it possible to put a human face on a super-human undertaking? Could a fan’s homage to past glories help the Tour regain its place as one of the world’s most admired sporting challenges? Riding High is Howard’s diary of his experiences as he rides the Tour de France route from start to finish, setting off each day only hours before the professionals, at each stage sharing anecdotes and noting the historical highpoints that have made the Tour one of the most iconic sporting events in the world.