Bikers Go On Strike

photo: bistro les philosophes
In this corner, you don't have to sit at
the first bistro you come to.

Dope Stories Nullify Race Results

Paris:- Saturday, 25. July 1998:- Reaction has set it to the non-stop press and TV barrage of dope news about the Tour de France.

This came to a dramatic head on Friday when the riders in the race laid their bikes down in the road and had a sit-down strike, which lasted two hours.

Star rider Laurent Jalabert assumed the role as their spokesman - for the first time in his career - to complain about being treated by the press as doped cattle. He said the press wasn't interested in the sport; its only interest was in the latest scandal.

What set off the explosion, was a TV-news report on Thursday evening. France-2 showed a film of a reporter going through the garbage cans of one team and finding empty medicine containers, with the initials of riders on them.

The film was made on Monday, but the TV channel waited until the containers were analyzed before showing the report in public.

The only time the riders of all the teams are ever together is when they are riding. So one of Jalabert'sphoto: bistro tables complaints was that there was no way for the riders to discuss the problems between themselves.

If the sun is out, sit as soon as you can. It may not last long.

He said one of the consequences now for the actual Tour, was that whoever won one of the daily stages, was as good as being known as the 'king of the dopers.' He said this was a good reason for not wanting to win.

Meanwhile, coverage of each day's racing is heavy in Le Parisien, with four to six pages every day. Each edition also features at least a page about the town or region that the Tour is passing through. This is accompanied by highly detailed maps showing the best vantage spots to see the racers pass.

TV-Set Sales Take High Jump

Appliance dealers have reported a 39 percent increase in TV-set sales in April and May over the same period a year earlier. This apparently is in the phenomena category, because such a leap has never been registered before.

TV sales have been stagnant since the beginning of the '90's largely due to most people already having TV sets and being perfectly aware of the falling quality of TV programs.

While the report says that many buyers opted for the wide-screen 16/9 format and the techno-crazies went for the surround-sound and the 100 Hz sets, and the big screens in the 70 cm range did well.

The real surprise winner was the relatively inexpensive TV-video recorder combos, with an annual increase in sales of 70 percent over a year ago. The idea here is not to record any of the endless re-runs, but to watch rental film-videos - because they come on the market very soon after their cinema releases.

Record Temperature Climb

This was recorded at Tarbes in the Hauts-Pyrénées last Monday. The day started off normally - for the summer - with 17 degrees at 7:00. But by 8:00 the thermometer had rocketed up to 30 degrees, a climb of 13 degrees in 60 minutes.

High for the day was 37.4 degrees. Paris was warm too with 33 degrees, and hot air poured out of Spain and all over France. On Tuesday Paris returned to normal, with temperatures rarely higher than 25 C.

Anatomy of a French Family

The national statistics office, the INSEE, has just published a study of the family in France. Its finding: the average family has 24 members.

This is counting mom and dad and the kids. But the family in a larger sense is equally important, so also counted were brothers, brothers-in-law, sisters and sisters-in-law; plus unclesphoto: tabac terrace and aunts, nephews and nieces, and grand parents, as well as half-brothers and sisters.

Since divorce is no stranger to France, I would imagine ex-wives and husbands should have been counted, as well as their new spouses, but the report doesn't say this. A couple of divorces though, and 24 starts looking like a low number.

If the sun is staying out, stay out from under the parasols.

The point of the study - or the angle taken by Le Parisien - was that the French family is a support group that is ready and willing to spring to any member's aid.

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