They say we never remember who wins second place.
I’m betting the average American will not only remember who placed third, but might believe he in fact won.
Of course I’m talking about Lance Armstrong, who will likely, as he repeatedly does, buck odds by lingering in the minds of news-watching (though not cycling enthusiast) Americans as having won the 2009 Tour de France after coming out of retirement.
He did ride hella-good. To finish third after aging four years, plus the broken collar bone a little over three months before the Tour, is phenomenal. But in reality, Armstrong finished behind Andy Schleck, who placed second to Armstrong’s teammate (and rival) Alberto Contador.
Back in September, hearing of Lance’s come-back, i mentioned losing respect for athletes who retire and then return to their sport. Gotta admit Armstrong’s presence made the Tour more riveting than i’d figured.
Way to go Lance for increasing Tour viewership over 50-percent this year and securing a new American team sponsor for next season in RadioShack (with Johan Bruyneel at the helm, of course). I can hardly wait for 2010.
Until then, I suppose it wouldn’t make as good a story for Lance and Contador to follow the leadership of Cavendish and Hushovd and end their spitting contest. Sure, Contador was selfish in the Tour but from what i remember, a certain Texan was equally so at a comparable age – “brash” and “headstrong” being two commonly-used words describing the pre-cancer Lance.
A SHOUT-OUT TO MY PEEPS: Samuel Dumoulin was the Tour’s smallest cyclist, at 5′ 2.5″ and a buck twenty. That didn’t stop him from carrying his fair share of the workload in several breakaway attempts, including one for the final stage in Paris. [Photo included to indicate his height on the podium in relation to the woman not on a step – not her panties. Bonus!]
Ryder Hesjedal was representin’ for Canada, finishing 49th in his second Tour of duty. In his blog, Hesjedal described how his teammate, Julian Dean, suffered one of the more odd incidences in this year’s Tour:
My teammate, Julian Dean, was unbelievably shot at with an air gun during today’s stage and was hit in the hand. It goes without saying that it’s not something you really expect in a cycling race. Maybe it was kids being stupid or we’d hit a small French town that had never seen the Tour and decided to open fire on a moving peloton, but anyone having that kind of intent is scary. Who knows what the meaning of that was?
In the breakaway on the Champs Elysees was Japan’s Fumiyuki Beppu. He and Yukiya Arashiro were the first Japanese to complete the Tour, ever.
Yauheni Hutarovich illustrated his mad time-keeping math skillz by earning the oddly strategic Lanterne Rouge (dead last overall). Hooty presumably stashed his remaining energy for the final stage in Paris, placing 5th in the sprint.
NOW I’M DONE: Alas, my prediction about Randy Murphy going to Colorado has gone unsupported. He’s accepted the coaching job in Huntsville.
Albuquerque hockey fans felt abandoned long ago, but unfortunate for all 500 Rio Rancho fans, the Scorpions go dark for the upcoming season [Team Presser, 7/2/09]:
The New Mexico Scorpions have announced they will not take the ice for the 2009-2010 season. The current ownership group was unable to secure additional investors to make the coming season a possibility….
Ownership will continue to pursue the sale of the team in hopes to have hockey back at the Santa Ana Star Center in the future. All current players will immediately become free agents.
Luckily, Blades can fit about 500. As i’ve mentioned, it’ll host the NM Renegades Junior hockey team in 2009-10.
C’MON, BOB: I’m wondering when Bob Costas last lived in a small market city with limited access to Big League personalities. Tasteless though it may be, I attended one of the games Banny Ramirez made an appearance in at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque. Why not? Didn’t cheer for him or anything.
TIMBITS: [Oh no she didn’t!] If you’re still stumped on how to effectively dress your junk, I recently saw this helpful Trojan Ecstasy commercial on the teli. Gosh – some of us didn’t get that kind of information outside of a California Sex Ed. class!