What is to happen to the American audience without Lance?
So I guess this is the litmus test (again) for exactly how fickle (read ignorant) the American public is exactly about the Tour de France. Since this will be the first year where Lance is not going to compete – I would also hazard a guess that it very well might be the last year it gets the coverage it has here-to-fore received. It’s not that big of a stretch really is it? After LeMond took 30 some-odd rounds to the back, the coverage all but collapsed until he returned, then it up and vacated again when he left for the last time. No one paid any attention to Andy, or good ol’ Bobke, or anyone else for that matter. Then Lance shows up full of spunk, and :: wappow! :: the Tour is cool again.
So who wants to start a pool on the next American? Is there anyone with the legs to take the podium? Nope. I doubt it. But honestly, who cares?! There are a ton of excellent riders in the filed, and right now it’s anyones race. Which, for a change, is really exciting! I for one will be watching, again, this coming year to see who conquers the Tour. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind seeing George Hincapie take a podium spot, it is just really unlikely. My guess is that Jan Ullrich is going to go for it at least 1 more time before he hangs up the cleats.
The 2006 Tour starts on July 1 in Strasbourg, in the Alsace region of eastern France, then passes through Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands, before winding counterclockwise through the Pyrenees and then the Alps and ending on Paris’ famed Champs-Elysees on July 23 — a distance of 2,256 miles. With five major mountain ascents and three uphill finishes, the route most likely will favor climbers.
In Armstrong’s absence, the early favorites appear to be 1997 Tour winner Jan Ullrich of Germany, Ivan Basso of Italy, Alejandro Valverde of Spain and Floyd Landis of the United States.
Source: USA Today
What I do hope these chuckle heads get right this year is to tone down Bob Roll’s involvement. I can’t stand this twit. He’s why people dislike the Americans. He is. You know it too. I caught a couple of late season races on OLN this year, and he was horrible. Sounded like a complete tard (no big surprise), though the other guy was even worse. What a bunch of idiots! No wonder cycling in the states is unappreciated. If I had no one else to listen to but these yahoos, crap, I’d just go shoot myself. :: BANG :: Problem solved….