Tour de France: Chain Gang Convicts of the Road

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July sees the annual highlight of the cycling road-race calendar - the Tour de France.

It is one of the hardest endurance events in world sport and offers a chance to follow the team tactics of road racing, while marvelling at the riders' athleticism and will power. In 20 separate day long stage races 22 teams of nine riders will cover 2,283 miles, and in the process traverse some of the highest mountains in France.

Not a Level Playing Field

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Andrew Stone considers the politics of cricket.

Exhilarating - not an adjective often applied to test match cricket. But it was a fitting description of England's two-run win in the second test against Australia, and indeed of the entire Ashes series to date. A surge of interest greeted that nailbiting finish, and I'm sure I wasn't the only cricket lover suddenly called upon by previously uninterested friends to explain the finer points of the LBW law. It might seem wilfully perverse, therefore, for socialists to turn up our noses at the wave of sporting patriotism, to take an 'anyone but England' line.

Personal Best

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Review of 'In Black and White', Donald McRae, Scribner £18.99

Books about sporting celebrities rarely capture the attention of socialists, and perhaps rightly so. The vast majority are instantly forgettable chronicles of 'glory days' ghost-written for performers with no obvious talents beyond their speed, strength, stamina or agility.

Ugly Side of the Beautiful Game

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Watching the world cup was a game of two halves.

As I watched the England-Denmark game, my daughter asked me why I was so 'anti-English'. Another friend looked at me in that 'you miserable killjoy' sort of way, and reminded me that it was just a game, and the whole thing was pretty harmless. And I have watched the games, and enjoyed them. But I don't think it's quite that simple.

Sport: It's Not Just Cricket

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You can't seperate sport from the racism and nationalism that go with it.

George Orwell famously said, 'Sport is war minus the shooting,' and there are many examples to back this up. The phrase 'nuclear cricket' was used to describe the test series between India and Pakistan in 1999, the year both nations became nuclear powers. The hysteria around Euro 96 was whipped up by the press showing English and German players in Second World War helmets. In 1980 and 1984 the Olympics was boycotted mutually by the US and the Russians because of imperialist tension over Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Angola.


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