The Rider

On the plane to SANE in Holland I finished reading “The Rider” by Tim Krabbé. What a great book about cycling. I'll not give a real review here, for that use the link above.

There are many insights into cycling in the book. One of my favourite passages, and one of many little asides in the greater story of the book about racing in the Tour de Mont Aigoual, is on page 69 at the bottom:

Ab Geldermans tells about how, when he was Jan Janssen's team director in the Tour de France, he was able to signal Jan, during climbs for instance, that one of his rivals was scraping bottom. Jan would pick up the pace a little and have one less rival. Road racing imitates life, the way it would be without the corruptive influence of civilization. When you see an enemy lying on the ground, what's your first reaction? To help him to his feet.

In road racing, you kick him to death.


This is what's so great about real sports, they're raw and honest. Entirely unlike silly ball-games, sometimes wrongly called sports, which is pure corruptive civilization. Very boring.