Saturday, July 02, 2005

Tour de Force

Anyone who knows me or has read this blog for a while is aware that I'm a huge Tour de France fan. I'm also a happy Tour fan this summer, because the problem I've ranted about for the past two summers is no longer an issue: Comcast has added OLN to its channel lineup on expanded basic (it had previously only been available on digital cable or satellite).

I woke up in time to see the opening-stage time trial conclude just a few minutes ago, and Lance Armstrong made a definitive statement in the Tour's first stanza. In a time trial, the riders start at one-minute intervals, ending up in reverse order of last year's standings; this means that Armstrong was the final rider out of the gate, with his main rival Jan Ullrich preceding him by a minute. So it was a great moment when, with about five kilometers left in the stage, Armstrong caught Ullrich and then blew by him in fine fashion. Lance would end up in second place by only two seconds (which were likely lost when he came unclipped from his right pedal just after leaving the starting ramp), but an American, David Zabriskie, would claim the opening yellow, and Armstrong's teammate and main lieutenant, George Hincapie, would be in fourth place. Ullrich ended in twelfth overall, and none of Armstrong's main rivals would finish within a minute of him. The quest for an unheard-of seven straight Tour titles has started off quite well for Lance, and I'm happy that, metaphorically speaking, the powers that be in cable TV have allowed me to be along for the ride once again.

I shoulda guessed this: From Thursday's Bleat (which I just now got around to reading), we learn that Lileks is a Metheny fan. I always knew the man had good taste...

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