Thursday, July 21, 2005

But not so busy I can't post about the Tour.

As most of you probably know, the Tour de France is still being raced and Lance Armstong seems to be on track to win his 7th in a row. This year, I've had the luxury of being able to watch the Tour on OLN. For the first time since Greg Lemond was racing in the late 80s, I've watched a LOT of bike racing. And I've loved it. I'm a bike junky, and watching the Tour for free is like stumbling across a dime bag in a parking garage.

Anyway, I was watching the Tour this weekend with some friends. I found myself trying to explain why the race was exciting to watch, how the tactics worked, and why Lance didn't really care if the 10-man breakaway was 4.5 minutes ahead of him on the stage that day. The hardest thing to explain, it turned out, was the tactics. Why draft so closely? Why wait so late in the stage to sprint? Who decides who leads the peloton or the break away? Etc. If only I had had this article. It doesn't fully explain bicycle racing tactics, but it does give great insight into the tactics and protocols observed in the Tour. I recommend it, if only as a bit of sociological trivia.