Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Of Bicycles and Burritos

I've posted many times about the Tour de France, especially a few years ago when Lance Armstrong reigned supreme. The Tour riders have been a little more anonymous to the average American since that time, and it hasn't gotten as much press here since the "Tour de Lance" days, either. I knew that his old Discovery Channel team had gone under in the past year, but I had no clue what, if anything, would be replacing it. So I was quite happy to discover the other day that Chipotle is a named co-sponsor of one of the teams that's new to the Tour this year.

And they're actually doing pretty well thus far. Their marquee rider, David Millar, is third overall after today's Stage 4, and another member, Christian Vandevelde, is in sixth. Perhaps even cooler is that the team itself is ranked first overall at the moment! (And I have no idea how Garmin/Chipotle ends up being abbreviated "TSL" on the standings; I'll get back to you on that.)

They've also come up with a special burrito that the team eats on occasion (probably not every day, but then they do ride enough to keep the weight off). It's pretty close to what I eat anyway (chicken, black beans, minus the cheese and lettuce, replacing the corn salsa with pico de gallo--I guess the tomato scare is over?--and adding guacamole), so I tried it. It's quite a good combination (if a little pricey from adding the guac), and I'm sure I'll have one again during the Tour promotion.

At least he didn't say "Chip-uh-top-uh-lay" like the old Jack in the Box commercial: It has been funny to hear the legendary cycling commentator Phil Liggett, in his mellifluous British accent, pronounce the name of the burrito-sponsored team; he calls it something like "Garmin/Chuh-PUTT-luh." (You may recall that my dad had some interesting pronunciations of the word when the restaurants were first around.)

TV or not TV; that's not the question anymore: In the early years of this blog, I ranted repeatedly about the Tour being relegated to a tiny little cable network called OLN that my cable system didn't carry. Thankfully, that situation changed three years ago; not long afterwards, OLN grew up and became Versus (even snagging the NHL along the way), and their Tour website is outstanding, comparing favorably to the Tour's official site. Cycling took a hit from the doping scandals of a few years ago, but there are plenty of us fans still out there.

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