Sport: Tough Tour

High in the French Alps, thunder clouds roiled over the Col d'lzoard. Peering at the sky, the citizens of Briancon were worried. Cyclists of the Tour de France were pumping east from Grenoble on the 18th lap of their 25-day marathon, and rain could easily wash out the slim time advantage held by French Favorite Louison Bobet, 29. His rival, Swiss Champion Ferdi Rubier, 35, was an old hand at the hazards of mountain bicycle riding. A wet road might bother Bobet; Kubler might gain an unbeatable lead.

Then the clouds lifted. The slopes...

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