In past years, I’ve watched several days of the Tour de France in the early morning, or catching the repeat on OLN (now Versus) in the evenings. Some of my fonder moments a few years ago were getting up early with the boy and teaching him who Lance Armstrong was, as we ate breakfast in front of the Alps or Pyrenees. Like most Americans, some of my interest diminished when Lance retired, and Landis’s breakthrough rise and fall last year was maddening. I can’t help but join those who wonder about Lance, too. When everyone from Basso to Ullrich and beyond was caught or implicitly acknowledged “mistakes” in the last few years, and the Tour finds itself with a much diminished field each year… how could it have been so different during Lance’s seven years?
Still, I watched a few hours here and there, mostly last week. Liggett and Sherwin are marvelous commentators. Makes me want to go out and ride up (shorter, less steep) hills. Bike racing is much better on TV. And so much worse in person, unfortunately, if you actually want to see anything.
Then Rasmussen, the surprise leader, gets tossed. Argh. I’m still going to watch part of the final time trial tomorrow. Yet it feels like watching Barry Bonds chase the home run record. No matter how much you’d like to get caught up in the moment, how can you commit the psychic energy of fandom to any of these athletes?