Few sporting spectacles compare to the Tour de France. Towns and villages along the route, en fete for the race, shut up shop to enjoy le pique nique by the roadside. Ever-greater numbers of foreign fans have joined the party too. Saturday’s stage, finishing atop the famous Alpe d’Huez, showed this in all its crazy glory as Chris Froome was unofficially crowned the race winner with only Sunday’s largely ceremonial ride into Paris to navigate.
Froome is about to triumph over his rivals and 3,360km of road including Europe’s highest mountains, not to mention the sheer mental and physical effort of remaining on top of his game for three weeks. But he will not have succeeded in vanquishing his critics who want more data on his performance to assure themselves he did not dope. Team Sky, who Froome races for, is reluctant. However both sides are missing the real question: what will it take to restore trust in such a drug-tainted sport?