This chapter explores how the rapid development of th Tour de France as the ground-breaking epitome of modern sport has affected the Tour itself and its participants in French debates about the nature of progress and the complex relationship between progress and modernity. It examines to what degree the Tour's route can be exploited to create broader geopolitical statements and still remain distinctively French. The chapter explains that if the race is unlikely to include North America in its itinerary anytime soon, Americans have nevertheless personified the globalization of the event over the past quarter century. It notes that the purpose for the innovations made in the Tour is to allow the racers to be ever-more efficient physiologically—to cycle faster by eliminating or reducing the obstacles to greater speed, notably their weight and wind resistance.
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