I’m really not a fan of France, even though I took three – maybe four? – years of French, but there are exceptions to everything. In this case, the exceptions are: the Revolutionary War (although that was mainly because they hated the British), cheese, chocolate, guttural rs, and the Tour. As in, le Tour de France.
Instead of raving obsessively about it, I’ll just mention that I’d really like to see Garmin’s Tyler Farrar (the 25-year-0ld Washington sprinter) take a stage and stick it to Mark Cavendish. Of course, now that they’ve started on the mountains, all the sprinters will be hanging on for dear life, so we won’t see much out of them, but later on there might be a few chances. I really think Farrar can do it (oh, and become the first American in twenty years to take a sprint finish). It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one out there who considers this a possibility; see this article. However, Dean is also his teammate – he wouldn’t be much use if he didn’t believe it.
Also – Astana what? We all know it’s Team Livestrong using Kazakh money. I would really like to see Levi Leipheimer in the yellow, though, just because he kind of gets lost in all the attention surrounding Armstrong and Contador and whatever drama they’ve got themselves into. And can Armstrong please stop advertising anything and everything to with cycling? Please?
Some good/entertaining links for following this year’s Tour:
- Official site (standings and points; I’ve been navigating in French but I assume there’s an “English” language button somewhere): http://www.letour.fr/indexus.html – huh. I think it figured out that my personal computer is in the States and pulled up the U.S. index.
- VeloNews (good all-around cycling news and deets): http://www.velonews.com/
- TDFblog (more internet links on this site): http://www.tdfblog.com/
- Tour day Schmalz at NY Velocity (snarky commentary on each stage. Quite enjoyable, but occasionally pushes beyond the PG level. Here’s Stage 6; consecutive stages can be found in the sidebar on the right): http://nyvelocity.com/content/features/2009/tour-day-schmalz-stage-6
- If you’re interested, here’s a catalogue of Twitter feeds out of the race: http://www.tdfblog.com/2009/07/tour-de-twitter-1.html It almost makes me want to get Twitter. Not quite though.
Also, the BBC live audio feed is useful for listening to the action while I mindlessly copy and paste data into tables. It’s accessible from the text feeds (they usually throw up the link at about 1445) . The hosts do tend to follow a pattern, however:
- Talk about breaks. Talk about who’s at the front of the peloton.
- Talk about the weather and the road conditions.
- Talk about who’s got the best chance of taking the stage or the GC rankings.
- Talk about Mark Cavendish and whether he can keep the green jersey.
- Rave about Mark Cavendish.
- Talk about Armstrong and Contador.
- Talk about Mark Cavendish.
- Crash! Talk about who’s down. (“No, can’t quite see there, looks like Tom Boonen…”)
- Talk about Mark Cavendish. And the Ashes, mostly in passing, and then back to Cav.
I’m totally rooting for Garmin, btw.