I’m totally burned out from the Tour de France deathmarch, but I want to keep my blogging momentum going. There’s only one answer: pictures. Here’s one from this year’s 4th of July parade in Alameda.

Tour de France 2005, Stage 21, a.k.a. The End of the Tour


Stage 21 wasn’t the first time Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich have held hands in public.

It was supposed to be a day for relaxation and celebration at the Tour de France. Since 1990 the last stage has been considered an “epilogue,” not a competitive part of the Tour per se, though the stage win is contested among the sprinters. To be honest with you, I’m a little fuzzy on how this part of the Tour works. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing actually preventing the riders in second, third, and fourth overall from trying to gain time on the leader in the final stage; it is simply not done.

There’s something very European about that. It seems strange to us here in the U.S., where we love a winner, hate a loser, and don’t give a damn about anything else; but in the culture of the Tour it’s very important to honor the code, follow the etiquette, and remain gracious whether you win or lose.

Tour de France 2005, Stage 20

Well, that mean ole devil want to catch Lance
Want to stick that pitchfork in his ass
Yes, that mean ole devil want to catch Lance
But Lance, he just too fast

–Blind Lemon Peloton
“Lance and the Devil Blues”

Let us now worship Lance Armstrong.

Lance — I feel comfortable calling him Lance now — came in first in the time trial today, beating a very motivated Jan Ullrich by 23 seconds. In doing so, he won his first stage of the 2005 Tour and guaranteed that he will complete his seventh overall victory tomorrow.

Just about the whole world is united in its admiration for his achievement, and while I am constitutionally averse to holding popular opinions, I just can’t find any reason to feel otherwise.

Sure, there are some haters out there who will tell you that we should turn against Lance because a) he’s on the juice, b) he dumped his wife for Sheryl Crow, or c) he’s only pretending to be such a nice guy and underneath is a cold-blooded, manipulative egomaniac.


Tour de France 2005, Stage 19

“Everyone knows which comes first when it’s a question of cricket or sex — all discerning people recognise that. Anyway, don’t forget one doesn’t have to do two things at the same time. You can either have sex before cricket or after cricket — the fundamental fact is that cricket must be there at the center of things.”
–Harold Pinter

Little of import happened in Stage 19 unless you’re a big fan of Giuseppe Guerini, the stage winner, or Oscar Pereiro, who moved into the Top 10 as a result of his time gain. At this point watching the Tour has become kind of like watching cricket — or rather what I’ve always imagined watching cricket would be like, since I’ve never actually seen a cricket match.

Tour de France 2005, Stage 18

James Doohan will be drinking Scotch and smoking a cigarette in heaven tonight.

James Doohan will be drinking Scotch and smoking a cigarette in heaven tonight.

Today’s stage of the Tour de France was cancelled due to the death of James Doohan, who played Scotty on Star Trek.

Psych! No, they went ahead with the race, but for the fourth stage in a row, there’s not much to report except that: