Well, the Tour de France is in full swing and despite the fact that there is not a Greg LeMond or Lance Armstrong riding this year, I am still as happy as a pig in… well, you know.
One the things I have had to struggle with during the spring classics is figuring out which team to root for. It was easy during the LeMond era when he rode for Team 7-Eleven. US Postal and subsequently Team Discovery were easy choices when Lance Armstrong headed the team. Unlike other professional sports, you can’t hitch your wagon to a team forever because the teams are very fluid. Team Discovery disbanded and I was faced with choosing a new team for the first time in a decade.
I thought about Astana because so many of favorite riders headed over to that squad – doping scandals ended that thought as the team was literally destroyed by scandal. Domestically, I had always been partial to Motorola, but once again they failed to make the grade and earn a spot into the Tour de France.
During the early spring when I heard that George Hincapie was with Team High Road, I figured I would give them a look. The more I saw, the more I liked. Just when I thought I was all set for my Tour rooting, High Road suddenly changed to Team Columbia (sportswear, not the country.) In addition, for the first time a second American team qualified for Le Grande Tour – Team Garmin-Chipotle.
Not a fan of Garmin or Chipotle, and a huge fan of Hincapie, it was obvious that the choice was the newly-formed Team Columbia.
In stage one, my new team nearly took the win as Kim Kirchen was passed within sight of the finish line by Alexandro Valverde.
The casual fans of the Tour are gone without an Armstrong story, but those of us who have loved this sport for the past two decades couldn’t be happier. Three weeks of amazing athletic achievement, heart-stopping drama, spills, chills, and surprises at every turn – we are talking the greatest sporting event in the world.
I love this time of year!