Tour de France--Race Recap
Back in the days before cable TV made it out to the country we had satellite TV. Not those little baby dishes you see today, but the good old 12 foot diameter monsters that could pick up anything, anywhere all the time. Combined with signals that werenít scrambled, this made for some interesting sports viewing. My favorite memory is of a fight on the undercard of a major boxing match. I donít remember who the headliners were, but one of the earlier fights featured two over the hill heavyweights who gave it their all.
We picked the fight up in about the fourth round and it was apparent that defense hadnít been a feature in this fight. Both fighters were bloodied and tired and looked like they could collapse at any time. For several rounds we watched as first one and then the other would beat his opponent to the ropes only to be caught square on the chin by a desperation swing and then the whole process would be reversed. This continued for several rounds until the network decided to end the feed of the undercard matches. We never did find out who won or even who the fighters were. I didnít care. Those five or so rounds were the best fight I ever saw. I feel the same about this yearsí Tour de France. While you all know by now that Floyd Landis won, this Tour had a lot more to offer.
I started out this year hoping Francisco Mancebo would win but predicting Floyd Landis would win. The doping scandal immediately eliminated Mancebo and I was left without anyone to root for. Without anyone to root for, I was able to just enjoy the racing and strategy, which proved to be the best Iíve ever seen. I missed the banned riders not one bit. Viewership may have been down in the US for most of the Tour (Iím guessing it went way up this past weekend), but I think many people are now realizing they missed something special. If you didnít follow the Tour this year, you did. The tour is a spectacle unlike anything else, and if thereís anything a three week race can do, itís provide lots of sporting moments you donít get in a three hour game.
Eventually, I settled on rooting for Floyd Landis, only to have to suffer through his collapse on Stage 16 and then act like a little kid during his resurrection on Stage 17. In the end though, I wound up not caring who actually won the race as the level of competition and sportsmanship was far superior to anything I had previously witnessed in the Tour. I felt like there were three or four riders who won. Landis for his comeback, Pereiro for hanging on against the odds, Sastre for not quitting in the mountains even when his team had other goals, Robbie Hunter for riding the last time trial out of the saddle because his saddle sores were too bad to allow him to sit. While Landis was the best rider and certainly deserved the win, the absence of at least some of the dopers and the absence of the non-stop media hype machine that is Lance Armstrong allowed us to enjoy the rest of the Tour and all the little dramas and little victories that take place during a three week race. Hopefully, this will be a yearly occurrence from now on and not just a one time aberration.
For Landis, this may have been his last race because of an impending hip replacement. Hopefully that will not be the case. Regardless, we can expect another free for all next year perhaps made better by the fact that all the riders witnessed what was possible this year. So to all the riders of the 2006 Tour de France I say thank you for the best sports event of the year. To Floyd Landis I say congratulations on the best sports performance of the year. To all the others I say go back to your corners and come out fighting for 2007.
Posted by BVBigBro at July 24, 2006 09:34 AM
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|# July 24th, 2006 10:00 AM kris|
|I don't remember the fight at all. I recall listening to Terry Bradshaw's comments during commercials, how tennis cameramen would scan the crowd for hot women during breaks, betting in the announcer's booth & watching Hockey Night in Canada in French. Good times... |
|# July 24th, 2006 12:45 PM kris|
|My favorite moments from the Tour:
1. Landis' ride on stage 17
2. The Chicken's breakaway on stage 16 that tore the race apart (at least for a day)
3. The peloton giving Ekimov the right to ride first to the Champs Elysees
4. Levi racing past the peloton on the final stage and then quickly pulling over to the side of the road to applaud everyone who made it through the race
5. Boonen in yellow in Belgium
|# July 24th, 2006 4:02 PM BVBigBro|
|Landis ahs apparently re-upped with Phonak. |
|# July 24th, 2006 8:54 PM james|
|my favorite moments from the tour:
1) the 3 minutes total that they talked about it on PTI.
hmm, coincidentally, that's also a list of "my only moments from the tour." there was a chicken in it?
|# July 24th, 2006 9:06 PM KVBigSis|
|BV, this was a wonderful column that summed up the spirit of the race. I enjoyed all of your Tour de France columns. |
|# July 24th, 2006 10:13 PM kris|
|I've finally realized who Landis reminds me of: Ned Flanders! |
|# July 24th, 2006 10:30 PM BVBigBro|
|He's the long lost twin of Kid Rock.
When Zabiskie and Landis raced together at Postal, Armstrong couldn't stand the two of them together and would call them Dumb and Dumber or Beavis and Butthead. I think Landis would be Beavis.
|# July 24th, 2006 10:41 PM james|
|# July 24th, 2006 10:43 PM kris|
|why didn't Armstrong like them? because they weren't serious enough?
by the way, little Adam also knows Zabriskie by name, although I don't know if he's invited to the birthday party.