Admittedly, we’ve never followed professional cycling all that closely; sure, our interest has been occasionally piqued by Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France dominance or Bob Roll’s stories about pooping, but that’s about it. We were always under the impression that cycling was a non-contact sport involving a group of people riding bikes as fast as possible. That would make sense, right?
Boy were we wrong. Turns out pro cycling in general, and the 2009 Tour de France specifically, is nothing less than Death Race 2000 on two wheels. Sure, it started innocently enough - a fall and a broken wrist for Armstrong’s Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer. That, however, was just the beginning of the Tour’s bloodlust.
Like a B-movie from hell, the carnage was unleashed upon the French countryside yesterday. First there were the wine-and-cheese-crazed teenage lunatics turning their Red Ryder BB guns on the peloton. Unfortunately, though, that wasn’t the worst of it. A Tour spectator was killed crossing the road yesterday when she stepped in front of a police motorcycle … annnnd this just went from silly to sad in like 5 seconds.
From the ASSOCIATED PRESS:
A woman has died along the Tour de France course after being hit by a police motorcycle. French police say she was struck Saturday while trying to cross the road in Alsace in eastern France during the 14th stage. Commander Christophe Blanc told France Info radio that the motorcycle driver was from a unit of the Republican Guard and could not avoid hitting the woman. The driver was helping supervise the race.
The driver fell off his bike, which then hit and injured two other people. Their lives are not in danger. One of the injured was a mother with a child in her arms, but the youngster was not hurt.
Well, at least the kid escaped unhurt. That’s something. We hate to speak ill of the dead, but the decision to cross the road in the middle of a race was possibly not a wise one under any circumstances. Those pro cyclists, with their glutes of steel and technologically advanced bicycles, are going a lot faster than your average neighborhood cyclist, and the motorcycles driving alongside are just as fast and about 10 times as heavy. The laws of physics don’t lie and it’s just too bad that woman had to learn them in the toughest and most final way possible.