The Tour de France: The First Extreme Sports Occasion?
Let’s get this one out of our way first :/ We all know it, we all care about it, but this article is not about it. Move on.
These days, with skateboarders and BMX bicycle riders doing backflips and covering 50 foot spaces from huge ramps, it’s most likely difficult for children to think about the Trip de France as a harmful sport. However, in the golden tradition of the Tour de France, there have actually been three terrible deaths due to injuries sustained while racing. While it’s not really positive to discuss the tragedies that have actually occurred during the most prestigious cycling race in the world, it does highlight the risks that cyclists face, the amount of skill that is needed by the sport of biking, and the importance of precaution in the sport itself.
The very first bicyclist to pass away during the Trip de France didn’t actually die as an outcome of the race itself. Rather, French rider Adolphe Helière drowned during a rest day. The site of the tragedy was the French Riviera, where Helière was resting and unwinding prior to heading back out on the course to complete the race.
It was 1935 before the sometimes treacherous, always challenging Tour de France saw the death of a rider during the actual event itself. In a terrible and awful twist of occasions, Spanish bicyclist Francisco Cepeda passed away after dropping a ravine in the Col du Galibier phase. His skull fractured, Cepeda unfortunately passed away 3 days after the fall.
We often think of performance improving drugs and other approaches of cheating as an issue of modern-day sports exclusively, but the next death at the Tour de France was straight relevant to the concern, and it took place method back in 1967.
English cyclist Tom Simpson died of heart failure that was caused by the combination of the conditions, the stress on his body from the demanding race, and his usage of amphetamines. Simpson was the very first English rider to ever use the yellow jersey, and his determination revealed through even on the day he passed away.
Exhausted, dehydrated, and struggling with the heat and his amphetamine use, he fell versus an embankment as he couldn’t go on during the climb of Mont Ventoux. Despite the fact that he was barely conscious, he demanded being put back onto his bike, and he handled to ride on for numerous hundred meters prior to he feel unconscious. He died when he arrived at the medical facility.
The only silver lining after Simpson’s awful death was that it accelerated concern over drug abuse by riders. Ultimately, more understanding of nutrition, hydration techniques and the dangers of lots of substances helped to ensure that others would not suffer the exact same fate as Simpson.
The most recent death in the Tour de France is likewise perhaps the saddest. Fabio Casartelli of Italy, a previous Olympic gold medalist, was descending a dangerous part of the Portet d’Aspet when he crashed, along with numerous other bicyclists. Unfortunately for Casartelli, his injuries were a lot more extreme than those of the other riders. Casartelli moved and struck his head on a concrete railing location and didn’t live enough time to reach the hospital. The next day, the entire group of Tour de France participants dedicated the phase to Casartelli, as Casartelli’s team was allowed to complete very first and as a group, with the rest of the field completing behind, riding gradually. A fund was likewise set up to help out Casartelli’s other half and infant child, and riders contributed their day’s purses to the fund, with the Trip de France organizers matching the donation.
Like Simpson’s regrettable death, Casartelli’s resulted in change within the Tour de France. Helmet rules were developed and regularly made stricter, till just recently where it has specified that riders have to wear helmets at all times or be fined.
As you can see, biking is not a sport for the faint of heart. Each year, heart stopping crashes take place at speeds of 40 and even 50 miles per hour. Even with helmets, it’s clear that cycling is a hazardous sport, especially in events like the Trip de France, where high mountain climbs and descents demand tremendous skill and durability from the athletes competing. Even if you’re not a cycling fan, you should absolutely appreciate the fantastic professional athletes of the sport, who fearlessly risk their well-being and trip with the determination and passion of champions.
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