With exactly one month to go until Lance Armstrong’s last Tour de France (an professional race) ever, there seems to be no stopping the build-up of story lines. First on the docket is a new Danish documentary film that followed Team CSC through the 2004 Tour. As reported on ProCycling.com, the 100-minute film contains scene in which CSC’s Ivan Basso participates in phone call with Lance Armstrong. Though only the Italian’s end of the conversation can be heard, it clearly ends with Basso saying “In this Tour â€“ if you need something you just ask for it.â€ If that doesn’t sound quite legal to some of you, that’s because it isn’t.
Further fueling the TdF fire is Armstrong’s return to racing in the Dauphine Libere, his first appearance in a major international race since April. Though wags, reporters and pundits alike are foaming at the mouth for another look at Big Tex after his decidedly mediocre spring, it’s doubtful Armstrong will go vollenbak at the Dauphine. Many of you no doubt remember him playing possum in the 2004 edition of the race, throwing the Mt. Ventoux time trial, and fooling no-one in the process.
The Iguana’s team sponsor, Discovery Channel, is also pumping up the hype for this year’s TdF, plotting a series of new commercials featuring Lance, The Crocodile Hunter, those fat, angry guys from “American Chopper” and other Discover Channel celebrities. No word yet on whether the popular basic cable station will sack up and promote its squad by actually airing some pro cycling coverage. As I’ve said before, almost anything would be better than OLN.
One last item of note: hematocrit has apparently no impact on sexual potency. Jens Voigt, who, I’m told by former Credit Agricole teammate Jon Vaughters, has a relatively low hematocrit (something like 38…) just became a father for the 4th time. The interview-friendly and loquacious German will no doubt have his hands full upon his retirement from professional cycling.