Years ago, I used to argue with a friend about what constituted a sport. We joked that we ought to have a cable access show called “Sport or Not?” Generally speaking, we agreed on the big ones: Football, basketball, soccer, track and field, swimming and, of course, bike racing were all sports. Baseball and golf? We could argue those for hours.
But what about within cycling? Which are the greatest races? It’s hard to find a rider who won’t tell you Paris-Roubaix is the greatest one-day race, but I’ve been challenged to a duel. I have a friend who insists the Giro is a better race than the Tour.
Readers who have followed my work since the days of BKW already know my love for the Tour de France. Stated simply, I think the Tour de France is what happens when you make bike racing a lifestyle.
Bill McGann of excellent site Bike Race Info asked me to contribute a piece to a debate on which race is greater, the Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia. Bill is a man who loves a great debate (I once tried to defend rock music against his belief that big band music is vastly superior). Larry Theobald, the owner of the tour company Cycle Italia made his case for the superiority of the Giro. It’s a great argument, but I’m still not swayed. The points are academic, but the arguments are no less impassioned for it.
Photo: John Pierce, Photosport International