The head of the Cofidis cycling team today announced that team manager Eric Boyer has been fired for being “too French.”
François Migraine, head of the team’s sponsor, made it clear that the lack of wins this season was a direct result of Boyer’s exaggerated French behavior. “He was smoking too many cigarettes and talking philosophy too much,” said Migraine. “Instead of motivating the riders, he wanted to discuss existentialism, Sarte, Gide, Camus and Andre Breton. This is no way to win races.”
According to several riders, Boyer had become increasingly disinterested in team results. “He would never give advice on tactics anymore,” said Samuel Dumoulin. “He wanted to talk about Barthes and Foucault and theories of literary criticism. The races bored him.”
While endless discussion of philosophy, politics and the arts is a hallmark of French life, Boyer had apparently gone too far. “First, there was the cigarettes and beret — that was okay,” said David Moncoutié. “But then he stated drinking absinthe and reading Baudelaire on the team bus. Look, I am from Paris — I know all about poser intellectuals — but when he started handing out book reading lists, that was too much,”
Reached for comment, Boyer told L’Equipe that he was scandalized by the termination. “It is like L’Affaire Drefus,” said Boyer. “An outrage, an affront to my humanity and a savage blow to French culture.”
While admitting that he had perhaps been reading too many books and smoking too many cigarettes, Boyer refused to accept the “too French” accusation.” The races are not that complicated and really, the race book is not well written — so in that sense, yes, I have tried to give my riders a wider intellectual framework from which to view life on the bike,” said Boyer.
According to Cofidis mechanic Alain Blague, there was no room in the team car for spare wheel sets because Boyer had filled the backseat with books. “It became too much. In Paris-Nice, Taaramae needed a wheel change during stage three and instead Boyer handed him Marcel Proust’s A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu,” said Blague. “Taaramae lost a lot of time that day.”
However, Migraine appears to have the final word on Boyer. “I am French, the team is French, but we are here to win races, not discuss literature’s ability to illuminate the human condition,” said Migraine.