Some Tour fans complain that there is too much attention given to Lance Armstrong. It’s hard to ignore a guy who survived cancer and went on to win the Tour de France seven times. Other racers have amazing stories too but none so incredible as the comeback of Armstrong.
If Armstrong wasn’t at the Tour this year, would you watch it? We wouldn’t see Robin Williams or Ben Stiller. Phil Liggett would still call Christian Vande Velde “Armstrong” by mistake. There would be no Texas longhorns at the race. Levi Leipheimer would still have no hair. Who would be the star? Armstrong’s appearance has psychological effect. Last year’s Tour champion Carlos Sastre says Armstrong’s return has ruined chances to defend his title. Alberto Contador would be much happier without his Astana teammate around. The two have tried to brush aside questions about any rift in their relationship, but yesterday, Armstrong admitted “there is tension.”
And how does Armstrong’s boss handle this? My buddy Ledge says Johan Bruyneel must feel like the parents of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. How could they root for one and not the other? Bruyneel too avoids promoting any one of his boys and is content with letting them fight it out on the streets of France.
If Armstrong wasn’t himself, who would he be? During yesterday’s rest day, Armstrong listened to the Rolling Stones and twittered, “I love my life but wouldn’t mind being Mick Jagger for a day.” Well, start me up!
–Le Tour Babe