Tour de France riders,
starting the prologue, alone
save the ticking clock.

Visions of heroes,
of Bartali and Coppi,
Anquetil and Merckx.

Early flat stages, sprints,
breakaways, escapes, crashes
for little glory.

Sweat drips, sun beats down
bursting lungs, heart pumping, tanned
legs pedal faster.

Mountains loom higher,
peloton climbs, eagles fly,
many riders crack.

Aerodynamic tucks,
winding roads, screaming fast descents,
Alps and Pyrenées

Tragic memories,
Fabio Casartelli,
Simpson on Ventoux.

“How many seconds?”
figures the leader, racing

Maillot jaune (yellow),
Maillot a pois (KOM),
Maillot vert (sprinter).

Copyright © Steven L. Sheffield