On a Downhill Cycle

A doping scandal forces the Tour de France to wrestle with a champion's legacy and its own future

This year's Tour de France, which began on Saturday, is a prodigious test. Not just for the riders who climb, sprint and sweat their way along the three-week, 2,270-mile journey across the Alps and countryside. It's also a prodigious test for cycling's future. After seven straight victories, Lance Armstrong is no longer competing. Yet his legacy of success--coupled with fresh allegations of his wrongdoing--is casting a shadow over the start of this year's already chaotic race.

Critics, particularly in France, have long accused Armstrong, a cancer survivor, of needing drugs to win his titles. Adding fuel to that fire is recent...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!