Call me crazy.
I have unwavering faith that all you hockey fans out there have been inspired, or at least your curiosity piqued, to check out the Tour de France this year. Want more aggression in cycling, you say? You got it.
Speaking of Corner Gas, the Canadian show has had episodes about hockey and curling of course, and now cycling, gob bless ’em. They referenced Le Tour on a recent episode about a spin class, where the instructor encouraged spinners to (i quote loosely), “Pretend you’re a crazy spectator on the side of the road on a stationary bike at the Tour de France!”
Wha? Those silly Canadians.
Note: Apologies to anyone who might be scarred for life after clicking on the “crazy” link above….
Alas, time has expired with no change in the decision to refuse Alberto Contador (and Team Astana) the chance to defend his title at the Tour. Instead, listen for names like Cadel Evens, Alejandro Valverde and Carlos Sastre to take the podium.
No Tom Boonen in the sprint finishes, either.
Wide open field.
Hands down, the best way to watch any sport is with a little knowledge. Here’s a basic tutorial, Tour de France 101, to get you started. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really tell you things to notice for pure entertainment. I’ll get to that….
Tip One: If you have a short attention span and/or minimal interest at this point, skip the reading on gruppettos and echelons. I didn’t have to learn about those until TdF 102 and neither should you.
Skim the stuff about how climbs are categorized, but it’s enough to know that “hors categorie” isn’t nearly as fun as it might sound. To summarize, it’s the most difficult climb/s of the day – the kind you and i would vomit on ’cause it’s steep and/or at kilometer #136. No more juice in the legs. All light-headed and silly.
Tip Two: Here’s an abbreviated list of what to take note of for the sake of entertainment:
– Bob Roll. Anything that comes out of this man’s mouth is worth listening to, wacky though it may be. If you have a problem with Bob, you have a problem with yourself.
– Phil and Paul. Duets in sports broadcasting don’t get any better. They have British accents and witty idioms. If you’re an intellect or/and female, you can’t get enough of the accents.
– Otherwise, it’s a matter of what you’re into. If you like watching crashes, they’re there.
If you like watching men with quads the size of California redwoods pound the pedals and bump shoulders to the finish line (sprint), catch a long, flat day.
If you like watching crazed, naked, booze-infused fans run side-by-side with suffering cyclists, catch a “mountain finish” stage.
There’s plenty of stunning scenery. Cyclists occasionally take a “nature break” to enjoy the view as well (sometimes, they don’t even get off the bike).
In case you hadn’t heard, Barry Melrose will share his coaching wisdom once again, this time with the Tampa Bay Lightening.
And for those of you familiar with cyclist Floyd Landis and his testosterone dealio, the ruling is in and it ain’t in his favor. I.E. Floyd doesn’t get to keep his 2006 Tour de France title.