Well, I've added the Tour widget to my blog, which is free advertising for Versus, but that's OK. They need the help.
Personally, I think that this year's Tour is pretty damn exciting. I sort of feel the way I did when I first started watching the Tour. New teams, new riders. Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to be happy to see CSC get out, but hopefully my favourite team will stay together with their new sponsors. Some people I've talked to have said they think it's just not exciting anymore.
I think some people just can't get up for the Tour now that Lance is gone, and others have bought into the idea that cycling is somehow tainted in a way that other sports aren't- I was reading former football player Mike Golic talking about how the Tour is off-the-radar because of its lack of credibility. Interesting. Football has a pretty good drug testing program, but let's face it, drink driving is getting more players suspended these days than failed drug tests and the league just isn't getting it done regarding HGH.
American sports writers are especially quick to bash the sport. I think despite the Lance Armstrong era american sports writers see cycling in general as European and the Tour as even worse, French. It's hard to believe how despised the country that was vital to the securing of our independence, a country that gave us the Statue of Liberty, is these days. But really, it's more than that, it's just that the sport is based in Europe, in my opinion, that makes sports writers seem to love to bash it.
Am I underplaying the doping problem cycling has had, and may still have ? Not really. Bad is bad and the problem was bad. But let's compare. Floyd Landis wins the Tour, but tests positive for testosterone. Result ? Banned for two years, victory stripped, team he rode for disbands.
Then there's America's Pasttime. Barry Bonds is approaching the sacred cow of baseball records- a sport that is defined by its statistics- and what does the MLB do ? Turns a blind eye. Yes, Bonds never failed a drug test, but that's because baseball had no effective testing and no effective punishment. Remember when a failed drug test was a 15 day suspension ? And how many have there been. Obviously baseball felt something was wrong with Bond's actions because they refused to honour the moment when he set the record. But they let him set it...
I think this year's tour is off to an exciting start because so far, nothing predictable has occurred. If the rest of the peleton can keep Robbie out of the winner's circle and CSC can take a shot at the team title, I will be happy...