July 28, 2002

Lance Armstrong wins his fourth straight Tour de France.: Spain's Miguel Indurain won five in a row in the early '90s, and several other people have won four in a row;

posted by kirkaracha to other at 10:50 AM - 12 comments

Well done to Armstrong, but it became hard to sustain an interest really. At least the race for the green jersey went to the wire, well done McEwan.

posted by Fat Buddha at 11:01 AM on July 28

I had no trouble sustaining interest -- I'm still annoyed that you couldn't watch the last stage live in the U.S. As dominant as he was, Armstrong's performance was nothing short of spectacular (as, of course, has already been discussed here). And Jalabert provided a great storyline, and Boogerd, Botero and Virenque's performances in their respective stage wins were inspired. Even yesterday's time trial was more interesting than I'd expected, with Rumsas pushing as hard as he did to try and win an improbable second place overall. 'Twas a good race, say I.

posted by mattpfeff at 11:16 AM on July 28

These guys blow my mind. I bust my gut daily mountain biking on a gravel trail riding 27k at about 25km/h in and out of the Credit River valley (hills but not very big at all) then I tune into the tour and see guys doubling my speed going up mountains! Also what is up with the lack of crowd control? Several times in the last few stages fans were interfering and once actually threw stuff at the peloton. I found it gripping and look forward to seeing a more produced version of the race in the future (something more like NFL films?).

posted by srboisvert at 12:00 PM on July 28

I agree that Armstrong is a superb athlete and that he again proved his pre eminence in his sport. For the last week though, it has been the minor placings that have provided interest, or the performance of Millar, or Jalaberts ability to maintain his grip on the award for most aggressive rider. Armstrong had it won at least a week ago, and although he felt compelled to prove a point yesterday, there is not much intrinsically interesting about watching one man dominate year after year. The event loses some allure. Tell a non cycling fan the latter stages of the tour is on and Armstrong is pissing it again and the response will be "so what ?". None of which detracts from Armstrongs awesome power and consistency.

posted by Fat Buddha at 12:12 PM on July 28

there is not much intrinsically interesting about watching one man dominate year after year. The event loses some allure. Rubbish. The manner in which Armstrong wins the Tour changes year on year. He once took the Indurain route of gaining time by dominating on the time trial, and basically surviving the mountains. Then he launched lone attacks on the mountains. This year, he didn't attack so much as ride the competitors off his back wheel, with the aid of his US Postal teammates. That's not a matter of 'consistency'; that's about thinking through your opponents' weaknesses and having the strength (as an individual and a team) to execute on them. And as for 'telling a non-cycling fan': who cares about them? They can go and drink Bud Lights with Ron Borges and talk about boxers.

posted by etagloh at 12:47 PM on July 28

Mate, we will have to agree to differ. I was a keen cyclist but not a cycling fan until the great days of Le Mond and Hinault and Roche and Delgado.It was their duels that got me hooked. I take nothing away from Armstrong, it is not his fault he is so much better than the others, but when you know he is going to win days, or even weeks in advance, the enterprise becomes less interesting. Regardless of his tactics.

posted by Fat Buddha at 01:01 PM on July 28

He's pretty good, considering he's not really an athlete, and all. Well done, Lance. Love ya.

posted by iconomy at 05:28 PM on July 28

I found that I generated excitement in myself by screaming at the TV watching ONCE essentially cower in fear in the mountains. I was expecting more of a battle for the top, really. Sigh. Next year, though, I'm already hoping for a really interesting race: Simoni in, Hamilton focusing on the Tour, Leipheimer focusing on the Tour, Ullrich back and (hopefully, please!) focusing on beating Lance. Beloki coming back stronger, more ready to attack. Rumsas coming even more into his own. Azevedo as a big threat. Sevilla in better shape. Especially Rumsas and Azevedo -- those two guys were real eye-openers, although Rumsas has been knocking on the door (and denied entry by his own freaking team!) for two years. And I will not forget Santi Botero, one of my favorite riders in the peloton. If he didn't crack on Ventoux, the entire Alpine section would have been vastly different.

posted by ahhgrr at 09:08 AM on July 29

Don't look now, but Rumsas has been suspended by Team Lampre, and is under investigation for doping. *sigh*

posted by avogadro at 12:50 PM on July 29

After the doping allegations emerged, Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc said he was a "bit surprised'' by Rumsas' performance. "He didn't have the reputation as a rider so outstanding that he could climb the Tour de France podium,'' Leblanc told LCI television. Gee, thanks J-M. Folks who pay attention to cycling have been eyeing Rumsas for years, waiting for him to get into the Tour, due to the obvious talent he's been displaying. But it's gotta be the drugs. Maybe the Tour staff was jealous that they didn't have all the main contenders tossed out mid-race like the Giro? But yes, avogadro, *sigh*.

posted by ahhgrr at 01:31 PM on July 29

Rumsas also broke one of the great traditions when he tried to snatch second place on the last stage. Perfectly allowable, but still, not very gentlemanly.

posted by Fat Buddha at 03:35 PM on July 29

It's quite something that Bradley McGee is in Manchester for the Commonwealth Games, having finished 109th in the Tour on Sunday, including a stage win. Though 4000m pursuit (my favourite track event) is probably nothing compared to 4000km...

posted by etagloh at 10:31 AM on July 30

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