You might wonder why I’ve not written a word about the Tour de France this month. After all, the Tour was a staple of my July posts during my first three years as a blogger. With Lance back on his bike again, why haven’t I been writing about it?
To be honest, I still don’t know what to think about Lance riding, nor what to expect from him. Is this a triumphant return or simply a ride driven by ego and hubris? Is he really trying to spread the word of his cause or to simply shut all the people up who have been chipping away at his legend since he retired? Should I want him to win or just race competitively and make it to Paris without any red flags being waved following a post-race pee-in-a-cup session?
I’ve been watching, and hoping Lance does well, but I am having a hard time answering all the questions. The drama between him and teammate Alberto Contador doesn’t help, as I have no idea who is right and who is wrong.
As I’ve written before, there is a compelling amount of evidence that he may not have been clean when he won seven straight Tours. But he also passed every drug test ever administered to him. I tend to believe most people are cheating, somehow, and the best are the ones who are well ahead of the testing curve. His return brings back all these conflicted feelings.
It’s also been sobering to watch him and expect that hammer to still be there; the destruction of people on climbs, his withering gaze as he passed them, or his superhuman efforts in time trials. Clearly he’s still a world-class rider, but age and the time off have robbed him of the power and speed that made him unique. He’s just another rider who hung in there until the final week then didn’t have enough to keep up with Contador as he pulled away.
I suppose it’s a reminder that comebacks of all kinds, while often inspiring and entertaining, rarely live up to the original act.