Hi. My name is Dave Shields. Mark has invited me to share my passion for cycling with you over the course of the Tour de France. Get ready for three weeks of thrills. Like most fans of this sport, I’m reeling over the off the bike events of this past week. As Mark has alluded to, a huge doping scandal is currently re-shaping the sport. The weird thing is, the revelations have a bizarre relationship to events I’ve already been through, fictionally. Research for my latest novel, The Tour, initially forced me to confront many of these issues, but it’s the twists and turns of plot that parallel details of Operation Puerto which I find inexplicable.
Strangely, this isn’t the first time I’ve written a cycling novel where fictional events became real. In 2004 The Race told the story of a cyclist from Utah capturing the yellow jersey. I never guessed that might happen, but a year later Dave Zabriskie transformed my tale into reality when he exploded onto the scene to become only the third American in history to wear that storied garment. All of this has me thinking about writing a novel about a guy matching my description winning the Pulitzer. I think it would look splendid on my mantle.
Now that the racing is underway, my adrenaline is pumping just as it would be if the scandal had never occurred. Cycling should use this as an opportunity to learn and reform, though. We need to force cheaters into the open. One of my primary goals in writing The Tour was to communicate how critical this fight is. I noticed Samuel Abt’s comments on this blog just the other day, but I have to disagree. Bicycle racing is a metaphor for life, or at least, it can be. That’s what has made it such fertile ground for my novels. Over the next three weeks I hope to convince you of that using real life examples from this year’s version of the Tour de France. Thanks for joining me for the ride!
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