Stage 20 and beyond – 2013 Tour de France recap

July 20, 2013

OK, I know the Tour is 21 stages, but for all intents and purposes it ends when stage 20 finishes. So, here’s my top-10 recap for the 100th edition of the Tour de France. I welcome your thoughts and guest posts on any other cycling events or news around the globe. Just contact me or leave a comment on this post.

Here we go…

10 – I was a bit annoyed at this year’s Tour de France coverage because it spent a lot of time NOT talking about Lance Armstrong and doping. And the discussion of doping mostly amounted to commentators saying the race has cleaned itself up. See #7 for another doping comment.

9 – The course in the 2013 Tour de France was beyond AWESOME. A double ascent of Alpe d’Huez? ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?! That stage, the balance of climbing stages, and the final few stages in the French Alps were just fantastic. We all like sprints, but there is nothing like a mountain-top finish to really capture a viewer’s emotions. This is true whether you’re at the race or watching on TV.

8 – I want barriers on more sections of each stage. I am the most anxious viewer ever when it comes to the Tour de France and I HATE HATE HATE when spectators get within inches of the riders or even bump into them when trying to run up the road with them. Phil Liggett feels the same way, and I wish the organizers would do something to punish these random acts of danger before someone really gets hurt and a race is affected.

7 – If Alberto Contador – knocked off the podium today – is allowed to race after being found guilty of doping in one of his Tour de France wins, what is going on with the complete indictment of Lance? Yes, Lance admitted it. But to this day, Lance Armstrong has yet to fail a drug test. There are myriad riders in the Tour and other professional races who have actually tested positive and they’re allowed to continue racing after minimal sanctions. I attended three of Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France wins. It’s hard for me to reconcile that the time I spent in France watching the Tour de France didn’t happen, doesn’t exist, has been wiped from the history books. How does that work? Can I get my time and money back from the UCI and the race organizers? Because by not acknowledging Lance’s wins – and not giving prizes and jerseys to others in the races – they have essentially said the race didn’t happen those years. In fact, why wasn’t this the 90th running of the Tour de France? Because there have been about 10 Tours (if not more) that have had winners removed from the top spot on the podium because of drugs. WTH?! Stupid cycling governing bodies. #rant

6 – If there is one bucket-list item related to cycling that you could do, what is it? Mine is riding on the back of a motorbike or scooter for a stage of the Tour de France. I wouldn’t mind taking photos or reporting while I did so, but THAT would just be awesome.

5 – I’m totally disappointed that my predictions from earlier in the race didn’t come true. Here’s what I wrote a few weeks ago predicting the top six places…

1. Chris Froome – Team Sky

2. Teejay van Garden – BMC Racing

3. Richie Porte – Team Sky

4. Alberto Contador – Saxo – Tinkoff

5. Andy Schleck – Radio Shack – Leopard

6. Cadel Evans – BMC Racing

Seems I was right in two spots and completely failed in the others. How did your predictions turn out?

4 – There are few things as great as having coverage of the Tour de France in the United States. Kudos to NBC Sports Network and their entire team for doing more work behind the scenes and on camera, than we could ever imagine. Thanks guys!

3 – Ala David Letterman’s top ten lists…. spandex, spandex, spandex. And of course the technology, techniques and the crashes from which cyclists recover quickly and fully.

2 – I’m encouraged that my social media and IRL networks have so many friends who also enjoy the Tour. If I’m not in France for the 2014 Tour de France, I’ll plan on organizing at least a couple viewing parties in the Boston area. Some people might call them Tweetups.

1 – The new route map is decided in October. That means I’m holding my breath for a few months until we all find out where the 2014 Tour de France is going to go. FUN!