An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Uff dah!" The last word on TDF07


Well, the Tour is over for another year. It probably was both its darkest hour and its brightest moment -- there's no where to go but up when you've hit bottom, right?

In my view, the Tour has gotten too big anyway. One of the things our big Texas hero did over his 7 year domination of the event was this: He brought Texas-sized media attention to it. Americans basically turned the tour into the Superbowl of cycling-- not just through media coverage and replica bike and jersey sales, but through targeted, scientific training. (Lemond, by the way, was the first to bring aerodynamic equipment, so the scientific impulse goes back at least a generation.)

No one had it dialed like Lance, and no one focused so obsessively on one stage race like Lance. Newcomers to the sport often wondered why Lance wasn't even on the top-10 of the UCI rankings. Well, because he only rode in one race per year, duh! Now it's a commonplace that each team's strongest GC contender will spend the next 12 months "focused entirely on the Tour."

Small irony that Eddy Merckx was the final guest on last night's TV broadcast. Merckxs, of course, won more races in more places than any living being on two wheels. True, championship cyclists have very few achievements to own as a part of their legacy. No one can dominate the entire field the way Eddy did, and no one can dominate a single grand tour the way Lance did.

Or maybe they can. Perhaps going forward, the record books will continue to flower with asterisks in the years leading up to 2007, and thereafter it will be nothing but pages pure and white as the driven snow.

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