Le Tour – C’est Arrivé

June 26, 2005

Bicycling

In six days, Lance Armstrong will ride the last stage race of his career. The Tour de France begins next Saturday. And my excitement is building! Will Lance win a seventh consecutive Tour de France? I sure hope so. Lance will face a number of challenges this year. They include:

– The Discovery Channel team lost an important lieutenant in the mountains when Vatcheslav Ekimov crashed during a training ride. His loss will be felt keenly during the team time trial.

– Many of Lance’s former teammates will be working against him. Floyd Landis will ride for Phonak this year. Floyd was a major reason for Lance’s success in the mountains during the 2004 tour. Roberto Heras will once again be riding for Liberty Seguros. Bobby Julich and Dave Zabriskie will be riding for Bjarne Riis and Team CSC.

Jan Ullrich seems more committed than ever to defeating Lance.

Ivan Basso had a great Giro d’Italia. And he wants to win le Tour. Lance will have his hands full defending against Ivan – especially since Basso has finally shown that he can time trial.

But Lance has some great assets on his side. These include:

– Six of his eight teammates are returing from previous Tour wins.

– Lance is joined by new teammates who will make a big difference. Paolo Savoldelli won this year’s Giro d’Italia. Along with Jose Azevedo, Paolo Savoldelli brings unparalled climbing credential to the Discovery Channel team.

– Lance rides with one of the most successful team managers of all times. Johan Bruyneel has led a team that has won the Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta a Espania and six Tour de France campaigns.

– Lance has won six straight Tours. He knows what it takes to win.

– Lance is the only cyclist who has stared death in the face and come out on top. He has a decided mental advantage in this regard.

– This is Lance’s last tour. I can’t think of a greater incentive to win than to go out on top.

Will Lance win? I think he can. I pray he does.

-CyclingRoo-

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