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There are photographs of riders holding ether-soaked handkerchiefs to their mouths, or leaving them knotted under the chin so the fumes would deaden the pain in their legs.
discouraged some but also showed the extent of suffering by others.
At Coutances he heard that the previous year's winner, Henri Pélissier, his brother Francis and a third rider, Maurice Ville, had pulled out after a row with the organiser, Henri Desgrange. Even so, the Tour de France in 1924 was no picnic." Pierre Dumas was the first doctor to campaign for the testing and suppression of doping, both within cycling and then at international level at the Olympic Games.
Henri Pélissier explained the problem – whether or not he had the right to take off a jersey – and went on to talk of drugs, reported in Londres' race diary, in which he coined the phrase Les Forçats de la Route (The Convicts of the Road): "You have no idea what the Tour de France is", Henri said. Worse than that, because the road to the Cross has only 14 stations and ours has 15. Dumas came to the Tour de France in 1952 when the original doctor pulled out.
Dumas was a judoka rather than a cyclist and had none of the preconceptions established in cycling.
Not until after World War II were sporting or even particularly health issues raised.
For as long as the Tour has existed, since 1903, its participants have been doping themselves. For the past 30 years it has been officially prohibited.
Yet the fact remains; great cyclists have been doping themselves, then as now.
Insiders suspected doping usage as the real reason, while the team attributed the illness to a dinner of 'bad fish' they had eaten, an excuse which was reused in both 19.
In 1960, Pierre Dumas walked into a hotel bedroom on his nightly tour of teams to find eventual winner Gastone Nencini prone on his bed with a plastic tube running from each arm to a bottle containing hormones.