Although Alberto Contador hasn’t been looking the badass he is in this Tour de France, he is confident he’s going to start taking names again once the Tour hits the Alps on Thursday and Friday.

There’s no doubt that 2 days of riding in the Alps, after over two weeks of riding 100+ miles a day, is a feat few can accomplish. But I take issue with Versus Television’s claim that The Tour de France is the “Most Epic Race. Ever.” Because it’s not. There’s plenty of endurance races out there that kicks the Tour’s butt. And as my allegiance is firmly in the mountain biking camp, I had to write last week about the Great Divide Race, a mountain bike race that skirts the Continental Divide (mountains the entire way), lasts at least three weeks for most demi-gods and -goddesses, and is solely supported. This means no teams, no support car, no fancy GPS devices, no sponshorship money, and no television coverage. Just the participants and the bike.

Like the Tour used to be.

A friend of mine had this history-lesson response to the way the Tour has changed since its inception:

Back when the Tour de France started over 100 years ago, it was very similar to the Great Divide.  It was initiated by a newspaper company that wanted to expand its readership beyond the city of Paris.  So, the TdF was a publicity stunt to generate interest throughout France.  The paper had exclusive rights to interviews with riders, etc.  The front page of the paper was printed on yellow news-print.  Hence the yellow jersey.
As the race took on a life of its won and sponsorship dollars flooded in, the purse for the winner grew into a huge sum.  Thenm the inevitable happened.  The equation below sums it up:
Huge Male Egos + Millions of Dollars at Stake + Pressure from Sponsors + Modern Chemistry + Lack of Ethics = Cheating
It happens in every sport when there is enough money to support the cost of the drugs.
In the past, the TdF didn’t do ANYTHING to dissuade the riders from doping.  This is evident by the fact that the race promoters issued a statement to teams back in the 1930’s stating, “Amphetamines will not be provided by the race organizers.  Teams are responsible for providing their own.” 
We’re not sure of the