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Christian Laborde, who was born in 1955 in Aureilhan wrote one of the most recent books in France to have been affected by censorship, “L’os de Dyonisos”. He is very enthusiastic about cycling and published several books about the Tour de France, including “Le Roi Miguel” and “Le Petit Livre Jaune”.
“The stage will start in Pau, a city in which cyclists and journalists feel at home. It is possible to feel the presence of Vladimir Nabokov and Fausto Coppi in the “Place Royale”, or on the paths of the “Parc Beaumont”. They could easily be confused if it was not for the butterfly net that the former carries on his shoulder and the Bianchi bicycle that the latter is riding. It is always an experienced cyclist who wins in Pau, such as the “Bull of Nay”, Raymond Mastrotto, who was Jacques Anquetil’s team mate. In 1967, after his victory, he was immediately surrounded by spectators and jostled. Journalists were thrusting their microphones and notebooks under his nose and were even treading on his feet. And Raymond Mastrotto, who was bending over to rub his painful feet, blurted out, “Bloody hell! I won’t win another stage!”
Talk about the Col de Tourmalet! For years, bicycle rims and water bottle holders have been going through this mountain pass. Lexicologists and other etymologists claim that Tourmalet means “bad detour” in Gascon! You’re kidding! Those people don’t know how to consider or understand the words which they are using and interpret their meaning. Henri Desgrange knew this well: the word Tourmalet begins with Tour and fi nishes with alet, from the Latin word ala, meaning wing. The Tour de France begins in Tourmalet, and there are few cyclists who have climbed its slopes swiftly, as if they had wings.”