Looks Like Another Wild Ride at the Tour de France
Ah, yes, it’s that time of year again. The Tour de France begins tomorrow morning in Monaco. My Twitter account is atwitter with those following and riding the race, and I’m trying to catch up on hash marks and RSS feeds. I just found the weblog of Martin Dugard, whose commentary on the last few races generally rises a step above the usual swirl of rumors and speculation.
And the rumors and speculation could not be at a higher pitch. Will Lance Armstrong win the race for an unprecedented eighth time, eclipsing even teammate Alberto Contador, generally recognized as the best cyclist riding today? Phil Liggett, erstwhile television commentator, is not alone in already proclaiming that Armstrong will be on the podium come July 26. Our local newspaper has had stories on Armstrong every day for a week, and stateside interest in the tour seems higher than, well, the last time Armstrong participated.
Drugs still loom large over the Tour, and given the ingrained nature of doping I’m sure a few riders will be bounced before it’s all over. Tour officials have bragged about increased testing procedures, yet they were forced to allow sprinter Tom Boonen, who tested positive for cocaine in the last year, to compete after a last-minute ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport of the French Olympic Committee.
Le Tour. All the highest and lowest qualities that sports has to offer wrapped around three weeks of epic European backcountry scenery. Who could ask for more?