The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Memo to Bob Roll (Updated)

Bob, your commentary and insight are top notch. Your experience is indisputable. But please... it is NOT Tour-DAY-France, it is Tour de France - the "de" is like DUH.

Sincerely,

Phil, from Blog DUH Phil

UPDATE: Turns out he does do it on purpose, taken from his Blog at http://www.bobroll.com (click blogke):


July 3, 2006 TOUR DAY FRANCE

Why do Americans persist in a hopeless attempt to pronounce the name of an event that takes lace a land where the locals will mock every such attempt even if your pronunciation is perfect?

Not so long ago the first American team in history raced in le Tour. Being a part of that team has become a treasured memory from my racing career. When my teammates and I took the start line of the Tour, no American had ever won, but the wait staff of the whole country of France had a premonition of might lay ahead for the cyclists from the host country. The waiters saw a veracious hunger and naked uncouth aggressiveness that the heretofore blue collar and hence submissive French cyclist had never shown before. The wild savage colonials were about to change their beloved Tour forever more.

And look now, American cyclists have won ten of the past 19 Tours. Because of Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong, we have dominated the Tour like no other country. Spain has six wins, Italy 1, Germany has 1, Denmark had 1, and even Ireland has one. France has ZIP, BLANK, ZERO, NADA, NIENTE, PAS. France is so pitiful at their own race that they no longer harbor any hopes that one single member of the French peleton has even the most remote chance of wining nor is there any French infant alive anywhere who might one day have a chance at winning le Tour.
So the wait staff took the only path of resistance they could find: they mocked our attempts at French pronunciation with zealous glee. Even the most basic sentences that ushered from our starving mouths were greeted with pure shock and wonder and complete incomprehension. Of course they knew we were the American team sitting at the prearranged American team table. Of course they could detect our arrogance at having cast aside our working class tables. Multilingual cyclist? They protested, after all those are bike racers, the lower lever of caste, not international jet setter or world class athletes even - bike racers - men who murder themselves for a few scraps from the upper classes' tables. How are they presuming to speak French?
Whoa Bobke! What does global detente have to do with butchering a simple phrase? Good question. Le Tour de France is not difficult to pronounce. Can and won't is the real question. Can I say it? Yes. Will I say it? Probably not. Because to extract revenge on the French wait staff I decided, since they would ignore and mock every attempt at correct or even reasonably decent French pronunciation, I would mutilate the race's name henceforth. When I first uttered Tour DAY France my teammates were stupefied. "Bobke" they said "your French isn't bad; you sound like an American hick saying Tour DAY France". "Don't worry", I told them "I'm only doing it to get a little payback from the French waiters who pretend they can't understand the simplest of requests from us in perfect French." They agreed, "OH YES! BRILLIANT! So ever since it has been Tour DAY France and now I'm not sure I can change the habit. That's life. C'est la vie