July 22, 2006

The margins of victory in long races can be sickeningly slim. In the 1987 Tour de France, for example, the difference between the first and second place finishers was 40 seconds. Mind you, the winning time was over 115 hours. That means the runner-up was, overall, slower than the victor by only 0.0096%, or one part in around 10400. That’s all it takes to become the first loser.

Anyway, Floyd Landis’s agent should get a bonus for the wonderful PR job Floyd has gotten. Sure, it’s nice for him that he seems poised to win the Tour, but I knew his name before the race even started! Goddamn feel-good puff pieces. (Style section, I’m looking at you.) I hope the endorsement deals he’s sure to get don’t conflict too badly with his Mennonite upbringing.

Finally, it’s interesting that “peloton“, a French loanword used in cycling, is also a word in Finnish, where it has a completely different meaning. But the Finnish meaning, dauntless or fearless, could also, it seems, be applied to the peloton.

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