Monday, June 25, 2007

Le Tour on YouTube

I have a conflict with the Tour de France this year. I guess I did last year, too, with all the scandal and some of the comments coming out of the event organization about it all. So much so that I found myself not wanting to watch Le Tour at all. Basically, I've been sticking my head in the sand about pro cycling all spring. I haven't followed it at all. I've been focusing more on grassroots events and promotions here and how we can help communities encourage cycling. No pro stuff at all.

It works for me, until I talk with our friend Bob Roll. And then I can't help myself....I find myself asking questions about who is on the starting lists....who looks good this spring (because I haven't been watching)...and the route...and I find myself getting a little interested. I vow to myself that I'll watch a couple of nights just because it's Bob. Not for the race, but to hear what Bob and his cohorts are saying. That's all. I'm not interested. Really. I'm not.

But, I find that I can't help it. I'm counting the calendar days until the 7th. I'm reading and every morning now. And, this morning I broke down and visited Le Tour's official website. Know what I found there? They have partnered with YouTube. There are videos - 9 so far. They show clips from past Tours. They are obviously intended to show the wonderful side of Le Tour to get people interested again after so much scandal. To remind people of the wonder of it all; why they might want to tune in again this year even with the upheaval.

It worked for me. I found myself watching the 2003 and 2004 videos and remembering it all like it was yesterday (Tyler's broken collarbone and stage win, Lance going cyclocross, great sprint finishes and mountain battles). But, there are shots there that I don't ever remember seeing before. Behind the scenes, kids and more kids, spectacular scenery, amazing camera angles, the emotion, the mountain battles and even cows. Yes, cows (watch the 2004 video).

So, yes, I will watch again this year. As much for the spectacle as for the athletic abilities displayed. I'll want to hear what Bob is saying - he'll teach me a few things and I know he'll make me laugh. But, I need to get up to speed pretty quickly, right? I haven't been following along at all. I know what I'll be doing nights for the next couple of weeks....

Who is your pick? Is it too early for all that? I think I'll go with Vinokourov. He was my pick for a podium finish last year but couldn't compete because too many members of his team were on that stupid list. Don't get me started on that, again.

So, the Tour Day France is coming. It will start in London this year and I'm not sure there is a clear cut favorite, but it will still have fabulous scenery and great mountain battles. It might just be something to watch.

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