Tour excitement?

June 29, 2011

Is it just me, or is it difficult to get excited about this year’s Tour? I am not totally sure why I feel that way, but maybe it’s just tough to mentally commit to a race for three weeks and possibly not know in the end who has won. I had a similar feeling at the Giro, and although some stages were definitely spectacular and I enjoyed watching them, the fight for pink was just a non-event for me. Partially that may have been caused by Contador’s dominance, but mostly it’s the uncertainty over what decision the CAS will take in the end.

In fact, a half-doping case like we have now in cycling may be much more damaging than a full-blown case. At least when a rider is awaiting a first decision or serving his sentence, he is out of the spotlight. Even if he gets some attention, the sport can point at him and say “look, he cheated, we caught him, have dealt with him and we’re serious about it”. It’s a chance to highlight the fight against doping. In the current case, the embarrassment is multiplied and the response has to be very meek, all about respecting the process and nothing about anti-doping measures. They can’t even say the “process is working”.

Maybe once the race gets underway, I’ll get sucked in anyway. Are you excited about this Tour? Let me know in the comments section or on twitter @gerardvroomen

20 Responses to “Tour excitement?”

  1. CycleGirl108 Says:

    I have key riders – not the main GC contenders – that I’m following. I don’t much care who wins, since a court case has to be completed in order to determine that. Still, I’ll be rooting for Andy and/or Frank to beat Contador, and for Cadel or VandeVelde to come in third.

    I’m going to be watching for the sprint races, and to see how guys like Tejay VanGarderen, Phillippe Gilbert and Damiano Cunego perform. It’s an exciting time. I wish I could be part of it, instead of watching on TV from the other side of the planet.

  2. Hi Gerard,

    nice piece on your thoughts about the Tour. A friend and myself will be heading to France next week. Definitely looking forward to the trip. First some relaxing days in Nice and then we’ll catch up with the peloton. Last year we went to Paris for our first live tdf visit. This year, we’re going for more. I guess you’ll be visiting the Tour as well? Any particular stages you look forward to? We’ll be checking out the time trial in Grenoble, the stage to Pinerolo and the final in Paris. The rest is still open, so any suggestions for stages in between are welcome.

    Enjoy the Tour and will be following you for your further thoughts along the way:).

    Kind regards,

    • Hi Carola, of course Alpe d’Huez is interesting just from a human craziness perspective. And the stage through Sestriere will provide fireworks I think as that is just a terrible drag. I don’t think you can go wrong, just make sure you ride part of the course yourself too! Have fun.

  3. Gerard,

    I’m always excited about the Tour no matter what happens. For me it’s the month of July that I wait every year and it’s always a pleasure to watch it. The riders, the stages, the environment around cycling the whole month. It’s the month of the year that I can talk with other people about cycling that they will understand what I’m saying.
    I think noone agrees with the CAS decision but the decision is made.

    This year I am mostly looking at other contenders like Tom Danielson or Ryder Hesjedal.

    Can’t wait to be in Paris on the final stage!

    Just one question for you: Who are your top3 contenders?



    • I am notoriously bad at predictions. But I don’t think Contador and Andy Schleck will finish 1-2, in whatever order. Someone else will pop into the top-2.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I am really looking forward to this Tour. Many of the teams that I follow, have a great squad, including Garmin. I think it is going to be a great field, and don’t think it will be like the Giro, where there is a runaway winner.. Bring on the Tour de France 2011.. can’t believe it is here already.

    take care G
    tim WI-USA

  5. Michael Says:

    I’m very excited! All the new bikes, the strategy, Phil legget, cav, contador, spartacus, god o f thunder and podium
    Girls!!! Bring it!!

  6. Gerard,

    I have felt the same way, excitement over the Giro quickly waned and has struggled to recover since. The Contador case hanging over the sport, clouding the results of three Grand Tours continues to damage pro-cycling for me. Further clouds and accusations over other riders has just added to the malaise in my view.

    However, as the days count down to the Tour, I am getting excited again … I’m just worried about how my excitement will last (I’m hoping for the full three weeks but aren’t banking on it).

    For a casual fan, I think it will be as compelling as ever – the spectacle will be impressive as always. For the devoted fan these are troubled times until more progress is made on continuing saga of doping that’s plagued the sport one way or another for decades. Doping seems to rise and fall in its prominence over time, whilst never truly going away and we’re in a high visibility phase again sadly.

    I’ll still watch and I still love my riding but pro-cycling has definitely lost some of it’s gloss …. for me anyway for now.


    • Indeed, if you love riding, that’s more important than pro cycling and it also means that once there is cycling on TV, you’ll probably be drawn to it anyway.

      To be honest, I’ve gotten more excited about it since I wrote it!

  7. Rowan Says:

    In 2009 I rode along with the tour the whole way, and it was the greatest tour I have experienced, but half the time I didn’t know who was winning. I still watch out of general interest, but can’t be as passionate as I was before all of the doping started coming out. This year a friend of mine is riding along for the whole way, I will be following his progress with more interest, because I believe he is clean.

    I will still follow it from the couch though, and will probably ride the last week, because it is still a great ride!

  8. firwave Says:

    Nice summation & I agree, I feel pretty lackluster about the Tour. I’m trying to get into it but am a bit disillusioned due to doping overload, all the lies, & then the powers that be dragging their feet with the Contador case.

  9. Toby Stanton Says:

    Hey Gerard,

    I am looking forward to the tour but more for how the next generation of stars, the ones we can be proud of, will do. I can feel the change, not so much from the old guard that now talks a clean game but by the ones who have never been in the game.

  10. Bertux RS Says:

    The Tour… yes. You expect a lot of things and then becomes boring from week to week with all that flat stages through Central Massif or the Coast. It seems as if everybody rides with plenty of caution in order to reach the final week. Reaching Alps or Pyrennes takes too long!!!
    Great favourites will expect for Contador firsts moves and then decide what to do..
    This year I hope lot of fight in the breakaways. It would be nice to have some new Voeckler/Chavanel´s demonstrations, like 2010.
    Meanwhile, watching the new frames, colors and designs of the bike manufacturers will be interesting as well. This is a must do every year in order to discover some variations for 2012.

  11. Matt Rose Says:

    I’ve gotten to the point now where I ignore the major GC contenders as much as I can, and focus on guys like Jens, Danny Pate (Apparently he’s gonna be TJ’s roommate this year), and, of course, Ryder.

    I do have a guilty pleasure in watching Cav tho. He just wears his heart on his sleeve, and never minces words. In a lot of ways he’s the anti-Lance.

    For me, it’s the one time of year when all of the biggest Cyclists get together (minus Shummie, what the hell was JV thinking on that one).

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Gerard,
    Will the Garmin boys be running the new S5 all during the Tour? How has the feedback been on it thus far?


  13. Sarah Says:

    Hey Gerard,

    If you’re disillusioned about Le Tour, there’s always the other big race starting tomorrow, the Giro Donne! It’s the only 10-day race left on the women’s calendar, after the Tour de l’Aude collapsed last year, and the Grand Boucle before that – and Emma Pooley will be one of the big contenders, riding her Cervélo, of course!

    It’s a really good race, and because of the small (& non existent) pay packets, pretty much all the women are riding for the love of the sport. This year’s course includes the Mortirolo, and it’s going to be hard fought. At least we’ll know for sure who has won at the end of it!

    (I’d be really interested in knowing more about your ideas on bikes for women – I know the video that was made last year said that there’s no need for women-specific bike, just getting the bike sized up properly, but if you’re ever stuck for a topic to talk about, it would be good to know more!)

    • Absolutely, I’m very excited about the Giro Donne. I’m not sure there is much more to say about women’s geometry other than that it is the most horrible case of marketing gone wrong which not only sells people a product they don’t need but also reduces the enjoyment of the sport and reduces the chance women stick with it. But I don’t have a very strong opinion about it :-). I’ll see if I can write about it in more detail than is in the video one day.

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