Who knew, right? One of the biggest sporting events in the world and, potentially, the most grueling, and I can’t even watch it on TV. My local cable provider has opted out. Such a shame, it really is a terrific event, even if you’re not a cyclist.
Of course, the economics of carrying the event probably make no sense. It’s long – 21 stages over 23 days, each day taking many hours – and there probably aren’t enough sponsors in the US to even fill all the available slots, let alone make money at it. Finally, if you’re in the US, there are only 4 American riders in the race – 3 of them with one team, the new Garmin-Chipotle team. Even though Americans have won 10 of the last 22 races (not Including Floyd Landis’ doping-enhanced “victory”), four contenders from the country is hardly enough to build any fan base of cycling outsiders or noobs.
In any event, Americans do have something to be excited about. Christian Vande Velde of the Garmin-Chipotle team (an American on an US-based team) is currently in 5th place, only 39 seconds behind the leader. Only 49 seconds separate the leader (wearing the Yellow Jersey) from the 6th place rider. Danny Pate, also of the Garmin-Chipotle team and another American came in third today, 10 seconds behind today’s stage winner.
Overall, a pretty good showing for the new American team and two American riders so far.