Written by chris finch
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Topics: France, Europe

Friday, 1 July 2005

image for Cyclist Goes for Record 10th Straight Loss at Tour de France
Tim Guftuson eyeing 10th straight loss

PARIS, FRANCE -- All eyes in the cycling world turn to Europe for the sport's biggest event, The Tour de France. Lance Armstrong is the overwhelming favorite to win his seventh French race. But another American has his sites set on a record of his own, a 10 race losing streak.

Tim Guftuson has been riding in the tour for nine years, and he has never won. A streak he hopes to extend to ten.

"The key to losing is in the mountains," Guftuson said. "Once you start climbing those things, watch out. You can't coach that. I don't have my own personal mountain to train on."

And it is a lack of sophisticated equipment and common sense that Guftuson says keeps his streak alive.

"If I had all that scientifical stuff the other guys had, who knows, I might have won one."

In fact, his bike is a Huffy his mother bought for him from K-Mart when he was 16 years old. A gift he says inspired him to be a loser.

"My friends keyed loser into the bike's handlebars. Even my mom laughed about it. I figured I would become the greatest loser ever."
Before the race starts, the big question is not whether anyone is bad enough to lose to Guftuson, but whether he has the will to lose for a tenth time.
"It's hard. Sometimes I think, 'hey, I can pass that guy. I can beat his time,'" he said. "But then I remember I'm not just doing this for me, I'm doing it for America."

His spirit has garnered many fans from around the world. Some even say he has changed their lives. Molly Wong runs in two marathons a year. She says Guftuson is her favorite cyclist and he drives her to succeed.

"Honestly, I don't know any other cyclist besides him and Lance Armstrong. But Lance left his wife for that (explicative) Sheryl Crow after she helped him beat cancer," Wong said. "His willingness to keep losing is special. I've never won a marathon and thanks to him, I never want to win."

According to Guftuson, the road to losing is paved with heartache, bloodstains and loneliness, but it is all worth it when he crosses the finish line in Paris. A line that is usually blocked by traffic because the race ended earlier and the streets are reopened.

"When you make that traditional ride into Paris and cars are honking and people are laughing and pointing, you can't help but feel a sense of pride."

Pride that Tim Guftuson hopes to one day to instill in his children.

"I don't have a girlfriend or anything, but if I were to have children, I hope they would be the best losers they could be too."

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