Monday, July 30, 2007

Idle threat of the week

At this time last year, I was forced to resentfully pay attention to the happenings of some bicycle race. I had to because of Lance Armstrong's legacy of strength through yellow rubber bracelet wearing, and because another American, Floyd Landis, was wildly falling out of and climbing back into the lead.

Well that all ended in drug accusations, hypocrisy, misunderstandings and the shaming of a liar Mennonite -- just like any tour of old Europe will inevitably come to a close. And I thought "good riddance," because bicycles are meant to entertain children or the Dutch, not to be raced around at high speeds in competition.

This year, with no high profile Americans participating in the Tour de France, I was able to ponder a question first posed by the mysterious disappearance of the once prominent America's Cup boat race: If an already shaky "sporting" event takes place and no Americans are in contention does it really exist?

The answer is barely. There was enough of a flicker for me to recognize that whenever someone grabbed the Tour's lead, or became the favorite, he was quickly exposed as a cheat and booted from the race. But not enough clarity for me to remember the names of these people or what exactly they did wrong.

Although I assume it had something to do with doping. Meaning nobody learned anything from last year's debacle. And all the public hearings and regulatory saber rattling that followed Landis's -- who is still officially last year's Tour de France winner -- positive drug test only amounted to the Idle Threat of the Week for July 23-29.

Proving, while cycling struggles to produce clean champions, it punches way above its sporting weight when it comes to providing idle threats to this space.

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