Monday, July 5, 2010

Give me your tired, ..Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

Today, for the first time in a while, Seattle actually had better weather than Central Europe. Here, cyclists were imbued with an unfamiliar sense of well-being, inspiring congenial greetings, well-wishing, and generally good behavior, not often seen in the recent meteorological morose through which we just passed. For the pro-cyclists in Belgium, I sympathize with the dismal rain they experienced today, and the subsequent rain enslickened (Not misspelled, I just made it up--it means: recently rendered slippery as all shit.) roads, as well.

As I mentioned earlier, today's stage is not the first that I've seen of this year's race; I've slacked. As a cyclist, the Tour de France represents the premier event of my favorite pasttime, much like Free Donut Day does for those progressives seeking the release of imprisoned donuts everywhere. I've been overwhelmed by the majesty that it is this race, and was too 'entranced' by the scenery of Holland (which, I'm told, happens a lot, there,) I was hoping to find evidence of 'doping', as the competitors passed through Rotterdam and Brussels, but if they were, it wasn't of the sort I was hoping to see. That said, the events in the last 3,000 meters of yesterday's stage, may have been the sign, I missed.

As it happens in most modern Tour de France happenings, the race has been Nascar-ifically eventful. I'm guessing this is no accident, given the courting of American audiences and their tourism dollars. Even the four-mile, Prologue stage, that launched the whole thing on Saturday was not without incident.

Usually, the Prologue defines cycling's equivalent of the 'Pole Position' (Thank you, motorsports!) rankings for the first, official stage of the race. It's usually short and gutsy. Indeed, the commentators on Versus, spent more time tying their ties, I imagine, than each of the riders spent out on the day's race course. Nonetheless, seeing Bob Roll in a tie, is an event worth waiting for, almost as much as the prologue itself.

So, yes, the World Cup quarterfinals took a back seat to the most epic of epic events, the Tour de France, and I couldn't be happier. By the way, in case you were wondering, Wimbledon crowned new winners, over the weekend, as well. But it wasn't going to be Roger Federer, so I chose not pay witness. That said, if you'd like a more complete wrap-up of the actual events of the Tour, you'll be better served by BikeSnobNYC's new Universal Sports blog, regarding these events.

I homage, and I hope to learn.

So, in Snobbie's first post, he mentioned that the rider's characters would reveal themselves. I think it's important to introduce the riders 'characters', as we've come to know them, so we can better appreciate the manner in which they choose to reveal themselves this time around.

No discussion of pro riders can be complete, nor started, without mentioning the General Classification (GC) contenders. This year, the cast includes:

Lance Armstrong

and the Yin to his Yang, Alberto Contador.

Will it be the year for Levi Leipheimer?

Or will Mick Rogers build on his Tour of California win?

Will Christian Vande Velde avoid adversity, and build on the promise he showed just a few, short years ago? (It turns out, no.)

Or will David Miller be the one to rise to fame

Maybe Carlos Sastre, will congenially steal the limelight again?

Or, maybe we should just let Sylvain Chavanel enjoy his catch for a little bit, after all. But the French never get to enjoy their own race, anymore. Perhaps, we should let this year pass.

And what of Cadel Evans?

and, what if Bradley Wiggins has something to say about it?

Will George Hincapie will finally shed his Susan Lucce reputation?

And what about the Schleck brothers? They're a formidable team within a team, and have seen success at the Tour before.

That said, what of the sprinters?
(Okay, the word 'Friends' may be a bit of a stretch.)

Or will it come down to a team competition?

Like Radio Shack?

Or Liquigas?

Either way, Mark Cavendish said it best, "It's just bike racing. Get on with it."

If you'll be in the forests of Arenberg tomorrow,

Ride safe. I love you all.


  1. ...nice...helps me 'member who's who & keep this whole bike racing thingy in perspective...

  2. I do this for my coffee flavors too.

    You'll never guess which one is Hazelnut.

  3. ...yeowww...perhaps i'm better off not knowing certain things...

    ...besides, i'm a yerba mate kinda guy...which means i'd never survive in seattle...