Sport: Border Incident

In Western Europe, nearly everybody catches at least a glimpse of the Tour de France. Since 1903, with wartime lapses, the 5,000-kilometer, month-long bicycle race, starting and ending "in Paris, has been the big bang of the summer. Tempers often run high, temperament even higher among partisans and competitors. This year things got out of hand entirely.

Last month, when no cyclists from six countries (France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland) gathered at the Paris start, 36-year-old Italian Veteran Gino Bartali was the obvious favorite. The Italian team captain, he had won in 1948, placed second a year ago. Italian...

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