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Vive Le Tour

posted by DL Byron on July 25, 2005

I watched the last stage of the tour 3 different times yesterday. Live at the crack o’ dawn, the end again, and the beginning. I got a bit teary each time I listened to Lance’s unprecedented speech from the podium. As he noted, it was a dream podium for 3 great champions. The reports on Lance often talk about what he means to millions. Here's what he meant to me, during those seven years and more

  • I’d think about his training when I felt too tired or burned out to ride my bike
  • I rode technology that he helped develop with Trek
  • I wore a wristband for the two women with breast cancer I know and for my grandfather that died of stomach cancer
  • Lance mainstreamed a sport I love

Velo Images I’ve also been a fan of Jan, before Lance, TDFblog once quipped, “you’re rolling with the T-Mos.” In OLN’s behind the podium coverage, you could see the emotions, the utmost respect, and love between the competitors. Jan is critized much, when compared to Lance, but he makes no excuses, never quits, and rode his way next to Lance on the podium. I cheered him the whole way and thought the podium should each up just as it did.

In his final words about the 2005 Tour, OLN’s Paul Sherwin said, “It’s sad to close a book,” and Phil Ligget added, “except when it’s a good book.” Following the storybook theme, George Vecsey wrote Champagne on Champs-Elysees Sends Armstrong Off to Act III.

In their coverage, USATODAY writes about Lance’s next mission and this quote from one of Lance’s doctors stuck with me

“There’s this ancient Chinese belief that when a person is held in the hearts and minds and souls of so many other people, they can do better.”

After David Zabrieskie fell, CSC’s Team Director Bjarne Riis, exclaimed, “Lance has all the luck.” And he did, tour after tour. “I have to think so because this race is too hard to win once: too many obstacles, too many problems, accidents, illnesses, other guys get better, you get lazy, you have a bad day — I’ve just never had too many bad days — and perhaps that’s because I’ve got this army behind me.” Lance had an army of fans, survivors, and their hearts, minds, and souls behind him.

As for racing, Lance’s legacy can be seen in the Tour results: 3 Americans in the top ten. Be it Basso Jan or someone else, Vive Le Tour with a new champion and memories of the greatest one.

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