Tour de France
If there was ever a TdF with unexpected events, this is it. The tour began with 3 days in England where the crowds were overwhelming and yet were characteristically well behaved.
The days in the UK proved very popular and successful. Unfortunately, England wasn’t kind to one of its favorite sons Mark Cavendish. “Cav” also known as the Manx Missile, who hails from the Isle of Man went down in a controversial sprint to the finish of Stage 1 and was forced to withdraw from the tour.
Before the first two of three weeks were over, GC (General Classification) contenders Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and American rider Andrew Talansky were also forced out of the race from crash induced injuries. Following much of the drama of the pro peloton on social media it didn’t take long to hear a bunch of whining from fans who were decrying that the race was boring. “Without the big GC riders in the race, it’s not worth watching.” To them I simply say, “Whaaaah”. To use a baseball metaphor, calling this year’s race boring is like saying that a baseball game isn’t worth watching unless everyone hits a home run during every at bat.
Obviously, my opinion is different. Now let me remind you again, I am the world’s foremost expert on my opinion, but I digress. What made this tour special and more than worthwhile watching was the hope that every rider competed with. With the big guns out due to injury it was easy to see that everyone thought he had a chance. Why not? The riders left in the race had nothing to lose and the aggressive riding proved that to be true.
It didn’t take long for Vincenzo Nibali to assert himself the leader of the race and dominate the ownership of the maillot jaune (yellow jersey). Nibali was considered a top 10 GC contender but fewer people, other than yours truly, really expected him to podium this year. The race proved to be exciting and full of surprises including seeing French riders claim 2 stages and actually podium this year. For the first time in a long time positions 2nd and 3rd were owned by Frenchmen Jean-Christophe Péraud and Thibaut Pinot respectively.
Tour of Utah
Billed as America’s toughest stage race in America’s prettiest state, the race will run from August 4th – 10th. This year’s Tour of Utah will be the longest stage race in North America at 753.8 miles. The race also tackles 57,863 feet of vertical gain over seven stages.
I’ve been able to watch the first stage of this race and can put up little argument that this race takes place in America’s prettiest state. I’m sure that there’s at least 49 other states that will disagree, such as California (Tour of California) and Colorado (US Pro Challenge) which have wonderful stage races themselves. However the color and panoramas of Utah are hard to beat.
Regardless of what state you hail from I suggest you find the this race on tv and enjoy. Where I’m from it’s being televised on Root Sports, channel 627. If you have Comcast Xfinity (who makes up these words?) surely you can find it as well.