Monday, July 25, 2005

Tour de France...Tour de Lance...Tour de Force

Well, well, well. That was easy enough. I’m sure that’s what a lot of people think. Lance Armstrong won his 7th Tour De France yesterday. It was never really all that close. But that should not take away for the utter unbelievability of the accomplishment.

All he did was come back from cancer. A cancer that no doctor thought he had a chance to defeat. And after seeing the other side of cancer, he goes out and wins one of the most grueling physical competitions the world has ever seen. Then he wins it again... and again...and again...and again... and again...and again. As a comparison, Tiger Woods just won his 10 major tournament as he chases Jack Nicholas’s record of 18. I’ll probably ruffle some diehard cycling fans by saying that in their sport there’s only one major but the Tour de France is the only one the world stops down for. So, the way I see it, Lance’s 7 is the same as Tiger winning his 25th major. Exactly.

FYI, going up a 16,000-ft mountain on a bike is not easy. Doing it when 100 other guys are plotting your defeat is probably tougher. I don’t know, I’m just guessing. It’s been said that Lance is physically predisposed to process oxygen better than the average human. The same thing has been said about Jan Ullrich. The deference was probably evident Saturday during the time trial when Armstrong wanted to win. He hadn’t won a race all year. This was essentially his last chance to do so. He didn’t need to. But he wanted to…a lot more than any one else. That’s what made him the champion he became. His willingness to punish his body to be the best he could be. Not always true for others (see Ullrich).

It’s always fun to have the guy for which you’re rooting dominate. It’s also fun to have that guy let his competitors know that, in the end, they don’t have enough to beat him, and then back it up. He never let us see him fail. He knew the expectations and met them. I’m guessing part of that is because his own expectations dwarfed them. I could go on, but I'll end the slobbering here...Viva la Lance!

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