In an era when sport is just a lousy pseudonym for business, there is much to be said in favour of Le Tour de France. For a start, the sport comes to you, instead of you having to go to it. It is free of charge; every spectator gets a front-row seat without having to buy a ticket. The route changes every year, making it truly democratic. And, for those of us watching it on TV, there are those aah-inspiring views of villages and rivulets and the Alps. As spectators along the 3,600-km route cheer and jeer the human spirit snaking its way through Le Grand Boucle (the great loop), it is impossible not to feel angry at the likes of Lance Armstrong who make us suspect our eyes. Then again, when you realise that man didn’t rise from the angels, he descended from the apes, the speeding bicycles look like a metaphor for life itself: sometimes you are up, sometimes down.