After 64 hours, 34 minutes, and 17 seconds of racing, the men’s Tour de France is the closest in memory with just 10 seconds (0.004%) separating the top two riders as the race enters its third and final week. The real victor, however, is already clear, Bloomberg reports: The ice vest. While used by professional cyclists to improve their performance, the focus on cooling at professional cycling’s premier event illustrates just how dangerous outdoor exercise can be in extreme heat — to say nothing of the intrepid souls who suit up in furry mascot suits, even for just 10 minutes a day.
Professional cycling itself illustrates numerous elements of the climate crisis — extreme heat poses serious threats to riders’ health while team sponsorships provide an opportunity for fossil fuel entities to sportswash their image with the eco-friendly image of cycling. At least four of the teams in the Tour de France have named fossil fuel sponsors — one outlet even awarded a facetious “Best Sportswashing” award (Total Energies) — and the rider currently in second place rides for Team UAE Emirates. (Ice vests: Bloomberg $; Mascots: Escape Collective $; Tour standings: Wall Street Journal $; Best sportswashing: Escape Collective $; European heat: The Guardian, Grist, AP, CBS)