Thursday, July 1, 2010


Touring through the sunflowers in Provence. It's one of my favorite parts of the Tour.

It's that time again. I love the Tour de France. In fact weirdly, I love pro cycling in general. I keep up with it as all year as best as I can. It's not easy, because here in the U.S., Lance Armstrong not withstanding, it's not too popular. There are ways to keep up. Sites like the Daily Peleton and Cycling cover all of the races leading up to the Tour, like the famous one day races like the Paris-Roubaix over the cobblestones in the country side and the spring Grand Tours of California and the Giro d'Italia. All of those are great, but they are only the opening act for the most famous bike race in the world. I got interested in pro cycling, as most Americans probably do... Lance Armstrong. And did so enjoy seeing him win that first time, and then again and again and.. well you know, 7 times. But the July after he retired 5 years ago, I realized "Hey it's time for the Tour!". I had somewhere along the line become a real fan. In spite of all of the bad press and bad seeds that the sport has had, I had grown to love it. It's loaded with beautiful things. The mountains, the countryside, the cute boys on bikes and the beautiful athletism of the sport it's self. I don't think most people realize how brutial a sport it is and how well trained you have to be. One of the things I like best about it is that most of the best riders aren't young (except for last years winner, Alberto Contador, who was 24 when he won his first Tour in 2007). There's a lot of strategy and team work that goes into winning the Tour and no one does it alone.
This year should be amazing. Armstrong has a new team (Radio Shack) loaded with stars who are loyal to him and there in part to try to help him win. Contador is on the same team (Astana) he was on with Armstrong last year. Astana has few other great riders, and maybe none who will be trying to help Contador win. I admit, I'd love to see Armstrong at almost 39 years old, win one last time. Either way it will be Lance's last Tour de France. No matter who wins, it will be beautiful and it will be dramatic.
The Tour runs from July 3rd-July 25th and you can watch all 3642 miles of it live (if you can get up that early!) or replayed in the evening, on the cable sports channel Versus. Live feed of the race will also be available on Twitter if you don't have Versus.

No comments: