I’ve been following the Tour de France this year more closely than I ever have, and I’m loving it. Live stage video and audio streams every morning combined with ESPN’s Streak for the Cash game (warning: highly addictive) have helped to drive up my interest.
I’m not the greatest Lance Armstrong fan, though I recognize him as one of – if not the – best athletes in the world. His ego and personality are a turn off, though. I don’t have one favorite cyclist this year, though I love watching Britain’s Mark Cavendish and Norway’s Thor Hushovd battle out for the green jersey (best sprinter), the drama of Team Astana’s Dream Team (Armstrong, yellow jersey holder Alberto Contador, veteran Andreas Kloden, etc.), the two brothers Andy and Frank Schleck working together up the mountains – second and sixth in the overall standings, respectively – and watching the poetry in motion that is the peleton. While doping has crippled cycling’s popularity over the last several years, it seems to have died down this year, and it hasn’t deterred my from loving every minute of coverage I watch.
Big Picture has some great shots of this year’s Tour, which ends on Sunday with the traditional Champs-Elysees promenade through Paris. The Spaniard Contador has a large, comfortable lead, and barring any miracles in Saturday’s very challenging mountain stage, he should win. Lance Armstrong is comfortably in third place – higher than many expected him to finish.