The Tour de France begins this Saturday. In this New Criterion article, Robert Messenger discusses the history of the Tour and looks ahead to this year's race.
This year Lance Armstrong will attempt to win his sixth Tour. Messenger seems to like Armstrong's chances: "The very fine British racer David Miller tells the story of ringing Armstrong on his cell phone on Christmas Day a few years back. Miller was tipsy in a bar with his mates. His call finds Armstrong riding his bike up a steep mountain. Miller’s friends wonder why he is swearing a blue streak into his phone at a close friend. Miller’s response: “I’ve just lost the Tour de France.”