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Convicts of the Road

In 1924 a French journalist, Albert Londres, was assigned to follow the Tour de France for the first time. He was struck by the similarity of the mood and morale of the riders to the subjects of his previous report - the convicts subjected to hard labour in France’s brutal penal colonies. Overcome by sympathy for the riders and awed by their courage he wrote ‘truly these are the convicts of the road’.

Over the years the Tour has changed massively, but the challenge remains the same. Failure is not an option in a race where only the few succeed. Little wonder the riders still talk of being trapped within the race, prisoners to the hugeness of the Tour.