Hi. Dave Shields here with another look at the Tour de France. The Tour is always a tactical race, but this year's version is turning out to be the most tactical we've seen in years. The cause is a much more level playing field, and the result is going to be an incredibly exciting final week of racing. Check out this article for some insights into the complex strategies at play. On Saturday Floyd Landis purposely fumbled away the lead. It's a daring long term strategy and gives insight into both the confidence he has in his own abilities, and the reservations he has about the strength of his team.
Despite this explaination, ESPN canceled my interview this morning. To them, the Tour de France isn't relevant news unless an American is in the lead at the moment. It shows how far this sport still needs to go in order to gain acceptance with the average sports fan on this continent. Interestingly, cycling seems to be more adept at attracting a non-traditional sports fan base. While mainstream sports journalists often write articles demeaning cycling, I hear from housewives, university professors, and other non-sports fans frequently who tell me they can't get enough of the Tour.
If Americans do tune in to OLN this week they are going to be rewarded with some thrilling action. Tuesday the cyclists confront Alpe d' Huez (which happens to be the climb my novel, The Race, is primarily about). On Wednesday they ascend (and then descend) the awesome Galibier (the highest point in the Tour de France), before finishing on La Toussuire (a climb the Tour de France has never visited before). The next day includes several more extremely tough climbs. The athletes have a truly frightening week in store.
By the time I next post on Thursday an awful lot of chaos will surely have transpired. At that time I'll try to analyze the upcoming Saturday time-trial. In the mean-time, if you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to write.
....( )/ ( )