Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Its NOT the Tour de Lance

We stayed up really late last night to watch the replay of the 3rd stage of the Tour de France. There were a lot of things going on with 7 sections of cobbles they had to ride over ranging from 350 m to 3400 m (that's about 2 miles riding over the equivelent of a broken road with potholes) . Lots of spills, one even on flat, straight, dry road. Frank Schleck was out with a broken collar bone (in three places). Thor Hushovd eventually won the stage. Sylvain Chavanel regained the yellow jersey (the leader that day) as he finished in a pack just behind Hushovd (riders finishing in a pack all get the same time).

All this going on and what was the headline in the "Greatest Newspaper Ever"? Lance has Blowout. It appears Lance Armstrong had a flat (he wasn't the only one) on the cobbles and wasn't able to keep up with the pack. He made a valiant effort but wasn't able to gain enough time to stay with the leaders.

Now I know Lance Armstrong is the face of cycling in the US and has done a lot to bring the sport into the American consciousness. Oh yea he did win the Tour de France 7 times.

But Lance is not the only thing going on in the race. There are a lot of world class cyclists that are as interesting to watch. To this point Lance has not been a factor. Don't get me wrong I am rooting for him, but I am not rooting for him at the exclusion of others. I think he is just one of the many facets of this sport and event that make it worth getting up at 6 am each morning to watch.

Maybe that is why I like baseball. Like baseball, the Tour has a lot of strategy and lots of things to consider. The comentators do a good job of keeping you informed while entertaining, even for the novice.

The really amazing thing is that these guys average 30-40 mph on these bikes. Try going 30 mph on a bicycle. I ride a lot and 35-40 is my top speed downhill. It takes a lot of conditioning to be able to go that fast for that long over that many days.

And to do it better than anyone in the world 7 times is worthy of the accolades heaped on Lance Armstrong. I'm just saying there are other reasons to watch the Tour than just to see what Lance is doing. Good luck Alberto Contador.

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