I’ve neglected this little blog–partly a symptom of neglecting something far more serious: riding. But I won’t go into all that just now. For the next three weeks, anyway, I’m back.
In just a few hours, the lads will start clicking in and another Tour will be under way. There may have been a time earlier this season when I felt I had some idea of the shape of professional cycling this year; I mean, as much an idea as I ever have. I don’t have that sense now, and I haven’t been reading the racing media. In the U.S.A.’s general media–the San Francisco Chronicle, for instance, with its story today from a Hearst reporter somewhere–the Lance Armstrong fog has set in and set in good. Meaning that if you’re following the race from North America, it’ll be hard to see around the Lance legend during the Tour, or at least until it cracks, if it does.
Personally, I find it hard to imagine he’ll win this one. Even getting onto the podium will be tough. The competition on his own team is tough, let alone what the rest of the peloton will throw at him. Still: Contador had a low moment during Paris-Nice. Leipheimer has had some wonderful rides this year, both in California and Italy. But he didn’t produce the sort of indomitable performance in the Giro that might make you think he can break Lance.
No predictions, anyway. Except for maybe a couple non-racing ones:
–Cadel Evans will sulk, throw a memorable tantrum or two, and finish out of the money. Crikey. Even the guy’s Twitter feed sounds whiney and fussy.
–The race will be rocked by news that one of the riders was caught doping. I hope it’s Cadel.
–Paul Sherwen will not announce he’s retiring the “suitcase of courage.”
–No one will “turn themselves inside out” during the prologue Saturday. Sunday, riders might start doing just that during the first long breakaway.
–Untold numbers of riders will “dance on the pedals” shortly before experiencing “a spot of bother.” Phil Liggett says you can count on it.
–Sheryl Crow will knock Lance off his bike just as he’s about to win the Mont Ventoux stage. All she wanted was to have some fun. …