25
Jun
09

The Countdown Begins: 10 Days to Le Tour

2009_tour_de_france_route

It’s officially ten days until the 96th Tour de France blasts off in Monaco, and things are strangely quiet. Even with national championships going on, there’s not much news hitting the wires; the best (and most cliche) way to describe it is as the calm before the storm. And you’d better believe it’s coming. The multitude of Lance-centric storylines in this year’s Tour (the “don’t-call-it-a” comeback, Lance vs. Levi vs. Alberto) will have every media outlet on the planet gushing over the stage results as if they actually watched it — have you ever seen cycling recaps on CNN, or the local news, for christ’s sake? Take this moment to mentally prepare yourself for all of the “So how’s Lance doing???” questions you’ll field in the next month.

Something to keep in mind: even a seven-time champion needs Lady Luck to win the Tour de France, and anything can happen over 2,000 miles (3,500 km) of racing. Lance will have his hands full dueling with longtime wingman Levi Leipheimer and ’07 champion Alberto Contador; meanwhile, strong contenders like defending champ Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov will give the Texan a serious ride for his money. Expect fireworks, feuds and flameouts (not necessarily in that order). I wouldn’t count Sastre out of it.

I’ll be updating throughout the next ten days with a variety of pre-Tour stuff to get your appetite primed. Stay tuned.

[2009 Tour de France]

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