“The peloton teaches us about life”

NT: Why is the Tour de France so common?

Guillaume Martin: It’s rooted in French traditions. It is obtainable, it is free, simply stroll to the aspect of the street. Related to radio, he tells a narrative.

Paul Fornell: That is an episode-by-episode sequence that has been operating since 1903. Each summer season the cleaning soap opera begins anew. Previously, individuals went to see the scores written on tablets on the entrance to the bistro. But when the Tour is televised at present, it stays a celebration. Communities of spectators are created, meet once more from 12 months to 12 months. I do not rely what number of instances I cycled to see the tour go

What’s fascinating about this sport?

GM: Efficiency perhaps. Folks typically ask me: “How do you handle to climb slides at such a velocity?”

PF: True, they already have to be mounted! However they do it at a velocity of 25 kilometers per hour! There’s something hypnotic about watching bike races, maybe because of the motion of the wheels. After which the style for biking is transferred. My father was a bike owner, me too, my son. Even when we’re a little bit leek! We, in Saint-Etienne, it is a custom.


Legislation, well being, cash, tradition, leisure… And if you happen to bought Notre Temps your own home each month in order to not miss extra info that you anxiousness?

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What does biking offer you?

GM: It is enjoyable for me. My imaginative and prescient just isn’t utilitarian. This can be a sport for itself. Certain, it retains me wholesome and teaches me sure values, however it’s not the center of my follow or the reason for my ardour.

PF: Street, panorama, journey, thought of ​​a much bigger world. I am not a competitor, however combating with your self is necessary. It’s important to put up with hurting your self, making a mistake. And it is rattling good!

What do writing and biking have in frequent?

PF: There’s a connection of reflection, meditation, when you find yourself alone. I wrote my tales in my head as I pedaled. Persistence is a crucial high quality for each actions. Nothing is straightforward, it’s a must to be persistent. We all know moments of gloom and different moments when every part goes completely. It has to do with the size of time.

GM: Similar to we’re in search of the proper pedal stroke, we’re in search of the appropriate phrase. We discover them after we are in a trance. Once I was writing papers for faculty, the journey cleared my thoughts. The distinction is that writing does not damage your legs!

What does the peloton train us about social life?

GM: The core of my pondering is that this stress between the person and the collective. The peloton teaches us that we can not stay with those that don’t help us, however we additionally can not stay with out others. Nobody can win with out their teammates and even, typically, for aerodynamic causes, with out their opponents. Within the peloton, fifth, the one within the coronary heart, makes 75% much less effort than the one in entrance. Because the chief of my group, I mirror on the relationships I can have with my teammates, I’ve developed an ethic in my every day life. This effort brings us head to head with our mortal situation and retains us from the large head!

You point out the contradictions of the peloton…

GM: I’m relatively pessimistic in regards to the skill of the collective to behave within the pursuits of all. I’ve had too many breakups that did not work out as a result of we did not get alongside the way in which we have been alleged to. Within the breakaway you might have to withstand the return of the peloton. However all runners wish to end first. As an alternative of giving it their all, they preserve a little bit below the pedal to speed up on the final second. The breakaway slows down, the peloton catches up with it. Everybody misplaced. Quick-term self-interest has damage long-term curiosity. Precisely the identical factor is occurring at present with the local weather downside. Everybody is aware of what they need to do, however favor their short-term consolation. One of many phrases that annoys me probably the most in biking is: “Don’t do extra to those that do much less!”

PF: What an inappropriate phrase on a bicycle, that is the trail to defeat!

How literary is biking?

PF: I realized the type by studying articles in L’Équipe each morning. throughout the Tour de France. Editorials by Jacques Goddet with dramatic lyricism: we have now reached the heights earlier than falling into the abyss. After which the prose of the playful Antoine Blondin, who combined the story in regards to the race with quotes from writers. As for the papers of Pierre Chany, Jacques Anquetil himself mentioned: “I am ready for the chance to learn Chany to search out out what I did within the race!” A motorbike experience is nice storytelling materials, it is also a language, a wealthy vocabulary created by the riders themselves.

GM: It is epic, it is true. By way of language, we converse an increasing number of English as a result of there are numerous foreigners within the peloton. Every part that has to do with the physique has a sure appeal on the mental surroundings, on our grimaces of ache, and on the truth that it’s so common. Paul’s information is extraordinary, I used to be completely there. It is humorous that it is my e book that analyzes the dynamics of the peloton, whereas Paul’s e book brings his every day life to life.

The place do you prefer to experience a motorbike?

GM: I primarily prepare in my house area, which is kind of hilly. in Normandy between Pays d’Auge and Swiss Normandy. There are 5 kilometers of hills and elevation modifications of 30% over a number of hundred meters! I additionally run programs within the mountains. To organize for the tour, I went to Etna, Sicily.

PF: I do know nice routes within the Puy de Dome, in Cantal, east of the Massif Central.

GM: Oh sure, the levels of the Central Array are probably the most troublesome!

PF: We open corners the place we’d by no means discover ourselves. It’s a pity that skilled runners don’t have time to admire the fantastic thing about the surroundings!

They wrote

Breaking information places us within the middle of the peloton, teammate, climber, sprinter, runner, winner, loser, injured… The writing is sensual, colourful, wealthy and fluid. What a pleasure to start this literary journey! “Peloton maison” by Paul Fournel, ed. du Seuil, 208 pp., 17 euros.

The best way to reconcile the person and the collective? What’s the logic behind these two entities? And what gentle can watching the peloton shed on our personal habits? Vibrant and fascinating reflection. “Peloton Society”, Guillaume Martin, ed. Grasse, 192 pages, €17.90


1947 Paul Fournel was born on Could 20 in Saint-Étienne.

1972 He publishes his first novel, L’Équilatère.

1989 Goncourt Prize for the story “Athletes of their head”.

1993 Guillaume Martin was born on June 9 in Paris.

2017 He makes his first Tour de France.

2021 He publishes La Société du peloton (Grasset) and takes eighth place within the Tour de France.

2022 Paul Fournel publishes Peloton maison (Seuil) on Could thirteenth and Guillaume Martin holds his first Tour of Spain shortly earlier than his sixth Tour de France. (Guillaume Martin needed to cancel the 2022 version as a result of Covid-19, July 10)

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