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Insiders suspected doping usage as the real reason, while the team attributed the illness to a dinner of 'bad fish' they had eaten, an excuse which was reused in both 19.In 1960, Pierre Dumas walked into a hotel bedroom on his nightly tour of teams to find eventual winner Gastone Nencini prone on his bed with a plastic tube running from each arm to a bottle containing hormones.I always left frightened after these visits." At the 1956 Tour, it was evident how much drug-taking and the "care" of riders had changed.After stage 14, all members of the Belgian team chose to abandon the race following a "mystery illness".healers laying on hands or giving out irradiating balms, feet plunged into unbelievable mixtures which could lead to eczema, so-called magnetised diets and everything else you could imagine. After that, they started reading Vidal [the French medicine directory]." Such was the extent to which stronger drugs entered cycling that the French team manager, Marcel Bidot, was cited to an inquiry by the Council of Europe as saying: "Three-quarters of riders were doped.
discouraged some but also showed the extent of suffering by others.
Other than that, riders would take anything to survive the tedium, the pain and the exhaustion of stages that could last more than 300 km.
That included alcohol, which was already strong in French culture and sometimes purer than water after World War I destroyed water pipes and polluted water tables, and ether.
There have been allegations of doping in the Tour de France since the race began in 1903.
Early Tour riders consumed alcohol and used ether, among other substances, as a means of dulling the pain of competing in endurance cycling.