He can toy no more by meeks
July 20, 2009, 1:09 pm
Filed under: Sports

I never thought I cared for the man on a personal level having found his personality and politics off-putting, which is why yesterday, the melancholy with which I watched Contador drop Lance Armstrong blindsided me.

Later in the day Versus showed archival footage from the 2004 Tour De France, which helped me more fully realize my strong feelings about Armstrong.

A pack of Lance, Kloden, Ullrich, Basso, and Landis were vying for position a few kilometers from the end of a mountaintop finish. Landis had paced Armstrong for much of the stage and Armstrong was now trying to reward Landis by positioning him for a stage win. They kept eating up road though and Landis was not breaking away. Within 1 km of the finish, Kloden brilliantly timed an attack and to me, the riders, the announcers, and the cameramen, everyone, Kloden had cycled away with the stage. I don’t quite know what happened next because I relaxed my attention to the race haven given up on the drama of the finish. With Kloden at the distance from the line where most winners tear up and blow kisses to the crowd, Lance in one fluid motion, opens up, leans forward on his bike, nips Kloden at the line, and spreads his arms in cathartic victory. His dominance was stunning, comical that at the highest level he could toy with the competition that he could turn such a grueling intense event into a farce. The question for Lance on that day was never whether he was going to win the stage but how long he could wait for Landis.

As long as I have followed professional cycling Lance Armstrong has won the Tour de France. From this world-view, Lance Armstrong always wins the Tour de France. It is a basic postulate of which other life convictions revolve around. Seeing him struggling, huffing and puffing at the rear of the pack, a wounded superhero, is surreal enough to make me reevaluate my life assumptions.

Yesterday, cemented that he is not longer that sublime superhero athlete circa ’04 (Lance admitted as much in his interview). In a world, already fraught with too much realitism to say much with conviction, I no longer have the comforting bedrock of Lance Armstrong: Super Tour de Franceman, and that I will miss.


1 Comment so far
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Thanks for the clip, I’d only been reading about it. I feel similarly, well put.

Comment by Tom

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