What an amazing Tour de France this year! This was easily the most exciting race since 1989 and 2003, with the race changing leads a record-tying eleven times. Landis truly deserves this race after proving to everyone that it’s not over till it’s over. I watched Stages 16 and 17 live, and like all those who have been following the race, I’ve gone from sadness to incredulity to sheer amazement. I’m shocked that this sporting event and this particular story has not gotten the attention it should have in the mainstream US press. Amid the stories of the Bonds “will he get indicted or not?”, Landis’ remarkable comeback is getting second page status. That’s really quite sad.
Felix, who has been staying at the house for the past two days after returning from Vietnam, was telling me that the ratings for this year’s Tour are down 50% from Armstrong’s seventh victory last July. What can be done to bring the ratings and American’s interest up?
Here’s my theory on why cycling, nor soccer, in America hasn’t caught on. Americans share a tradition of having a strong work ethic. Despite this, when it comes to sports and recreation, we’re basically lazy. We don’t like sports where we have to go all out for hours at a time. We like to rest and relax between plays. Sports in the US are tied heavily to the broadcast networks and commercialism. Baseball, football, and basketball all have plenty of commercial breaks, wherein Americans can grab a beer, go to the bathroom, or stuff themselves full of food. In soccer, you can’t miss a moment; a goal can happen almost anytime. With cycling, there’s no rest on the bike for three weeks; you keep going and going, every day trying to turn back the clock in the exorable march to Paris. Sports that don’t have the interests of capitalism and commercialism just don’t cut it here in the US. Can it change? I think so, but I struggle right now to see how. What do you think?