‘Only an Idiot’

From “Lance Armstrong’s War,” by Daniel Coyle (p. 109):

“Doping wasn’t illegal in the early days, and cyclists experimented freely with strychine, cocaine, ether and, after World War II, with amphetamines, which had been mass-produced to keep soldiers and pilots awake. … On French television after he retired, Tour champion Fausto Coppii said all riders took drugs, and anyone who claimed differently knew nothing of the sport. The interviewer asked if Coppi had used them. ‘Yes, when it was necessary,’ he replied. And when was it necessary? ‘Almost always.’

‘Jacques Anquetil, who won the Tour five times, was frank on the subject. On a bet, Anquetil once rode the Grand Prix de Forli time trial without amphetamines, just to see what would happen. He won, but rode more slowly and suffered greatly. ‘Never again,’ Anquetil swore as he got off the bike. He later said, ‘Only an idiot thinks that a professional cyclist who rides 235 days a year can hold himself together without stimulants.’

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