Wednesday, June 30, 2010
IT'S THAT MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR...
Yes, it's time for the Tour de France. My annual mania is kicking in. I'll be updating "The Tour de France for the Rest of Us" over the next few days. Check back often.
I've followed Lance Armstrong's Twitter activity over the past year (me and, oh, 2.5 million souls!) and of course the big but not surprising news is that this will be Lance's last Tour de France.
Armstrong is a living legacy with seven consecutive victories and then a 3rd place finish at age 37 after a 3-year hiatus. Now, at age 38 (almost 39)--two years beyond the oldest Tour winner--can Lance pull the upset over former teammate and defending champion Alberto Contador?
The experts say "no." But I wouldn't write Armstrong off. In fact, with Lance written off by so many, that makes him all the more dangerous...and the underdog. I love pulling for underdogs.
Lance vs Alberto -- that's the leading story line. But it's certainly not the only one. The field of nearly 200 cyclists is packed with contenders for the overall win, along with the best sprinters and mountain climbers in the world. Many excellent cyclists will shine on different stages.
Given certain conditions as the race develops, I can think of 10 different cyclists who could ascend to the top of the podium for the General Classification (GC = best overall time) in Paris. I'll name these and tell why in a later post.
Watch for carnage on the miles of cobblestones (pave) in Stage 3. Watch for a long breakaway in Stage 6. See who claims the Col du Tourlamet on Stage 17. And observe who prevails in the Individual Time Trial in Stage 19.
It's going to be a great Tour!