When it comes to sustained, frenzied fan enthusiasm around an athletic spectacle, few contests anywhere can match the Tour de France. Yes, the World Cup and the Olympics are phenomenal, and phenomenally anticipated, happenings that devotees follow, utterly riveted, for weeks on end — but they're quadrennial events, which might account for at least some of the hype and the slavish attention they enjoy.
I'm not sure why, but all the troubles of the tour seem to add to the appeal of the spectacle...
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