French Cycling Jargon: Saler la Soupe

In honor of today’s Tour de France Grand Départ, I thought I’d bring you an old French expression, whose meaning remained a trade secret for decades – Saler la Soupe.

Literally, ‘add salt to the soup’, back in the day this meant to dope your bidon with amphetamines or something else ‘salty’ to give you an extra boost on the day. From my limited understanding of the history of doping in the pro peloton, this was used when deemed necessary and wasn’t the systematic doping like Armstrong and friends perfected two decades ago.

If you can understand French, here is an amusing video of riders in 1961 being surprised by the question, “what is ‘saler la soupe’?”. Even if you can’t understand, their expressions are priceless.

3 thoughts on “French Cycling Jargon: Saler la Soupe

  1. Couldn’t get the video to play. So do you think there’s anything to the UAE raid. As a former Armstrong fan I naively believed that there was very little doping at that time. Now I’m more inclined to say “where there’s smoke….”
    Happy Canada Day Gerry. There’s at least 4 Canadians riding this Tour. 3 IPT and one FDJ.

    • I nearly missed Canada Day, so thanks for the reminder!

      Maybe there’s country restriction to the video. If you can get to the INA site and do a search for ‘saler la soupe’, I’ll bet you can find it.

      I don’t have an opinion on the raid(s), but it isn’t the first time. I’m ready for anything!

  2. Gerry, I got it to play with no problem. I think I understood about 2/3 of it. I did love the expressions. Thanks for sharing it!

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