“Vive le Tour. Forever.”

July 24, 2005

Bicycling

It has taken me four hours to get up the courage to write today’s post. And I fear that I will never have the words that are sufficient to describe what has happened today. So I’ll start with the facts:

– Lance has won his seventh – and last – Tour de France. Mr. Armstrong now has a few days of rest before he starts his next career. I pray that he will have as much success with his next endeavors that he has had with cycling.

– Lance was joined by his family on the podium. What a wonderful way to say goodbye. And what a great thing for his kids. Maybe Luke will remember this some day. I certainly pray that Lance can give his children the love and care that they so richly deserve. At the same time, I pray that they will show him the kind of love that only children can show. Teammates and sponsors want wins. Cancer survivors want a “slice of hope” to draw upon. But kids want time. They will repay every smile with a hug. And they will warm your heart on the coldest of days. May Lance truly experience the love of being a Dad to his kids. It’s an even tougher job than riding around France for three weeks – seven times in a row. But the rewards are found in a different kind of yellow. Kids will hand their moms a bunch of dandelions and Mom will treasure them as jewels. Lance, I pray you are thrilled whenever you skip stones with your children. And I pray you can remember your arithmetic so you can help them when they stumble.

– Lance was also joined by his rivals and friends. With Ivan and Jan on the podium, it must have made the day so wonderfully sweet for Lance. I sure hope that both Jan and Ivan will be batttling for the maillot jaune next July.

– Alexandre Vinokourov won today’s stage on the Champs Elysees. It was a magnificient strategy and it paid off handsomely. Not only did Alexandre take the stage, but because of the time bonuses that were awarded, he nudge into fifth place in the overall standings.

– Levi Leipheimer was nudged out of fifth place. It’s too bad. He fought to stay even with Vino at the first intermediate sprint of the day. Vino took irst, Levi took second. That meant that Levi was ahead by less than a second. And the Tour organizers suspended the remaining time bonuses on the Champs Elysees because of inclement weather. So Levi eased off and enjoyed the final laps around Paris. But Levi didn’t know that a time bonus would be awarded to the stage winner. If he did, you know that Gerolsteiner would have covered Vino’s final attack. Man, it’s too bad that Levi had to lose like this. Both men deserve tremndous praise for their accomplishments in the Tour.

– I am sure that there are a lot of people that are a bit upset about what happened with Vino. Not only did he spoil Levi’s party, he spoiled the party for everyone else who had a chance to beat Thor Hushovd. Boy, I hope Vino has a new contract lined up because he may have burned some bridges today.

But in the end, Lance had the simple and sufficient words to meet this occasion. He was given the unique opportunity to address the crowd. And his words were somewhat stumbling. But his last words were the best. “Vive le Tour. Forever.”

I can’t wait until next year. But until then, we still have the Vuelta!

-CyclingRoo-

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