The most glorious and heartbreaking of cycling races, a pell-mell journey of three weeks to Paris.

I was late, oh so late, and my car's GPS had expired in the midst of remote vineyards and stands of cypress and golden fields of humanoid-looking sunflowers. So this American hurtled down medieval farm roads making wrong turns after wrong turns until, miracle sacre, I suddenly found myself at Hotel La Réserve, a handsome country hotel with manicured grounds and a glittering swimming pool. Attractive, if anxious-looking, young men and women parted, and at their center, sitting on a white couch, was poor

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