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Original Issue

The Vicious Cycles

As the grade-crossing barrier goes up, 128 professional cyclists from 13 countries swarm across the Belgian border during the first lap of the Tour de France. After 14 days of the punishing 22-day race around the perimeter of France, fatigue, cramps and falls (French hope Roger Rivière tumbled 60 feet into a ravine) cut the field to 93, and the forbidding Alps loomed ahead. Among the casualties: last year's winner, Federico Bahamontes, the emotional Eagle of Toledo. "Federico, he is sick," announced Bahamontes after being booed on the second lap. He dismounted and went home to see a psychiatrist.