Even if you don’t care for cycling, even if you think that watching cycling on TV (or in real life) is as boring as watching the grass grow – only with more lycra and crazy looking sunglasses, you might still want to head over to VS. tonight (yes, the TV network) and watch today’s Tour De France coverage.
Judging from the RSS feed of today’s stage, Stage 17 sounds epic. No… not epic. EPIC: Not one, not two, but THREE major (HC) mountain climbs (the crushing Col du Galibier, the leg-shredding Col de la Croix de Fer, and the Holy Grail of cycling: Alpe D’Huez), the best riders in the world struggling to stay in the race, crashes galore, cyclists misjudging turns in 70mph descents and flying off mountainsides… It is absolutely insane.
Sure, I miss the early days of Lance Armstrong’s dominance – when the show was all about his crushing superiority on the climbs and in the time-trial, but this is spectacle. Pure, raw warfare on wheels. No engines. No time-outs. No half-times. No substitutions. Just sweat, blood and grit against some of the most spectacular vistas in the world. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know one rider from the next. This kind of stage is so intense, so pure, that you will find yourself rooting and cheering for the guy with the most heart. The most huevos. The guy who wants the stage win the most. You will find yourself cheering for a guy whose name you can’t even pronounce and whom you have never heard of before. That dude in green, or that dude in white or orange or blue. Who knows.
Whether you’re into cycling or not, this is truly sport at its best. Skip the sitcom re-runs tonight and tune in to VS. for a couple of hours. If the climbing portions bore you, stick around for the descents. (Between the full speed motorbike cameras and the sweeping helicopter shots, you are sure to gain a whole new appreciation for what is without a doubt one of the toughest and most dangerous sports in the world.)