Thursday, July 14, 2005

Le Tour de France

Looks like there will be some excitement for Le Tour after all.

Manuel Beltran of the Discovery Channel Team has abandonded the tour today due to injuries sustained in a crash. T-Mobile and Rabobank still have all 9 of their team members. Jan Ullrich rides for T-Mobile but I don't give him much of a chance at this point, he is 4 minutes back and barring any unforseen luck, his chance at winning Le Tour is slim.

Rassmussen rides for Rabobank and is only 38 seconds back of the leader, but his team is relatively weak compared to Armstrong's team. I like Rassmussen because he is a mountain biker, which has a bit to do with his climbing ability.

Recidivist links to a Tour quiz by Fat Cyclist. It's a funny quiz and Fat's post that leads up to the quiz is just as humorous. My results are in recidivist's comment section.

Speaking of recidivist, his post about Armstrong is a good read. I had my own personal experience with Armstrong during the '96 games in Atlanta. (There was a terrorist attack during those games, if any of you recall.) My then-wife and I watched the road race from La Fonda Latina in Buckhead. La Fonda's had the best paella I have ever eaten on American soil. The best ever paella I've had was at Taste of Spain on Yonge Street in Toronto. That city has an incredible array of international restaurants to choose from and believe me I've visited my fair share.

Back to Armstrong; we were watching the race which was a 12 mile or so course that the riders had to complete a number of laps. (I forget the exact mileage and laps and am too lazy to research it.) Armstrong attacked with 3 laps to go, way too early. He was expecting other riders to help him pull away from the peloton, but this was the Olympics. Nobody helped Armstrong, he got swallowed and finished off the podium.

As he cruised across the finish line he was visibly pissed and cussing. The Olympic volunteers formed a human circle around the riders as the crossed the line, separating them from the spectators. Armstrong did not want to be in the circle and as he headed out of it, an older lady volunteer motioned for him to stay inside of the circle.

"Get out of my fucking way bitch" is what he said to that woman. Now, I have been in many bike races and the intensity level is high, emotions are high, nerves are strung out, etc., but that is no reason for that kind of behaviour. I found it appalling and I was embarrassed to be an American.

That event soured me on Armstrong until he was diagnosed with cancer. That huge slice of humble pie did indeed change his nature, gave him something to fight for; his life.

There are things about Armstrong I do not like, but I do admire his cycling ability and his drive and determination to overcome cancer. I just can't be down on the guy like many out there can.

I think it will be great if he succeed's in winning his 7th Tour, and if he does not win, then congrats to the person that does win because they will have earned the hell out of it.

Many would like to say Armstrong is 'cruising' to victory but this ain't no cruise and there are a ton of things that can go wrong. Think about it, racing between 80 and 120 miles twenty-one of the thirty-one days in July.
The crashes, the weather, the politics, the emotion, the fans, you name it and it's there and anything can happen.

If Armstrong get's knocked of his high horse it will be because there is another rider out there with a tad more desire, talent and luck that wants that title, and that's the way it should be.

2 Opinions:

Blogger Recidivist speaks!

Case well made .... but I still disagree ;p

5:30 PM  
Blogger Redjalapeno speaks!

I'm shocked, SHOCKED I say.

8:39 AM  

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