Tyler Farrar, lanterne rousse.

The American is last overall in the Tour de France, 2:37:16 behind Bradley Wiggins. But after 2402km it’s not a big margin.

Cycling is one of the few sports that venerates losers. This is because it is relative. Farrar might be last but that means he’s struggling with injuries and misfortune that would overwhelm most. Consequently the last rider is often the bravest, fighting pain as well as the road.

In the Tour de France the last rider is called the lanterne rouge or “red light”, as if they are the last wagon on a train.

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14 July 2012