Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Bicycle Race

Well big news was released today.... the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team's Lance Armstrong announced that he will be competing in the 2005 Tour de France (TdF). He will be seeking his seventh straight victory in the famous bicycle race. In 2004, Armstrong made history by becoming the first cyclist to win six Tours de France and we were there to see it happen.

We've been watching the TdF for three years straight. The first year we didn't know where to position ourselves and waited for about 3 hours for a 10 second glimpse of the riders. Two years ago was a lot of fun because it was the 100th anniversary of the bike race, and to celebrate, the TdF race started in Paris for the first time since 1950 with a traditional finish on the Champs Elysées. We walked about 5 minutes from our home, sat on the hill by the statute of Benjamin Franklin and watched Lance speed by to at the start of the race. We also watched him win, about three weeks later, on the Champs Elysees. It was very exciting.

Last year was very fun too. First, the TdF course went right past my sister's front door in the south of france. Of course, when she found out about this, she invited us down. See the picture below with my son on my sister's balcony. You can imagine our GO USA didn't go over too well. In fact, my sister's neighbors quickly put up a sign of their favorite... Richard Virenque.

A couple of weeks after that we rode our bikes to the Champes Elysees to watch the competitors cross the finish line. At that point, everyone knew Lance had won an historic 6th time and there were a number of Texas and American flags on the famous avenue. They played the American national anthem and all these Americans were walking down the Champs Elysees singing out loud and waving their flags. Then, because he's dating Sheryl Crow they played "All I want to do is have some fun."

I'm really looking forward to the TdF this year even though there is no major anniversary or record to break. I'm not even sure I want Lance to win this year, but I'm sure he will. Have you ever read his books, e.g., It's Not About The Bike? The man is driven. Anyway, it's lucky 7 for him.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
9:39 PM



I love Lance!! I hope he wins again. I thought it was so exciting the two years we watched him win the Tour. My son had a blast watching all the floats and being a part of the excitement. It was also nice to watch it from here b/c the OLN (Outdoor Living Network) televises the whole race and it's great to hear English commentators---especially since they aren't biased against him. Don't Mess With Texas---GO Lance!! I am envious you can see it again. Have fun!


# posted by Anonymous : 1:46 AM  

What are the crowds like? It must be an enormous amount of people all along the route! That wonderful it's easy for you to see (and I bet you know good spots to see it from). Hope you get a good view this time.
Terry in SF

# posted by Anonymous : 5:14 AM  

I love visiting your blog -- I feel tres chic just reading it!
Thanks very much for commenting on my blog today via Michele.

# posted by Candace : 5:32 AM  

I've been practising my aural comprehension by listening to the 10-minute news on RFI. Most of the time, I don't understand everything. Your blog verified that I did indeed understand the news about Lance Armstrong.

# posted by Oz : 9:26 AM  

I caught the end of the TdF by accident 2 years ago along Rue Rivoli. Honestly... it's all a bit of a blur as they go by and I was rather disappointed.

I know, I know I'm a killjoy... but I guess we brits are not known for our TdF winners!

# posted by L'Oiseau : 10:05 AM  

hey! i just noticed you had a link for the American School of Paris. I was a student there in highschool! good times.

i'm sorry, and this is going to sound really childish, but i haven't liked lance since he started carrying on with sheryl crow. i really dislike sheryl crow. blech.

# posted by maryse : 12:40 PM  

Eh, I'm of the school of "quit while you're ahead," but if good luck to him. I think the Tour is coming through or near Troyes, so I'm excited about maybe catching a glimpse of it. :)

# posted by ViVi : 1:00 PM  

Hi Auntie –

Next time run into all those Texans at the TdF you can ask them where the Embassy of Texas in Paris used to be. (smile)

When the look at you blankly, you can tell them that in 1842, the Embassy of the Republic of Texas was housed at 1, place Vendome, in a town house built in 1723. It is now the Hôtel de Vendôme.


# posted by L'Amerloque : 1:49 PM  

CMAC, You Texans always stick together. I think it will be great if he wins, but then again, it would be great for someone new to break the records. Either way, it will be a great race to watch this year.
Terry, There are crowds in the big cities. My sister lives in a small town so there weren't too many people. The kids all got a lot of TdF stuff when the advance cars drove by with their goodies. The crowd on the Champs Elysees... it's packed.
Chenoah, Thanks for your visit too!
Oz, Isn't that a great feeling?
L'oiseau, That's why you have to stay in a spot, like the Champs Elysees, where they ride past you a few times. You feel you get your money worth then.
Maryse, I understand how you feel. I felt so sorry for his wife after reading his book because she went through sooooo much to bear his children and now they are divorced and he's dating a music star and he's a star himself. It just doesn't seem right.
Vivi, I agree.
L'A, Texas. What can you say??

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 6:16 PM  

I was happy to hear that Lance would be competing again. Good for him!! The Tour passed through Ivry last year at the beginning of the race. The boys really enjoyed the "parade" of sponsors at the beginning of the race. Then it was all of 2 minutes with the riders going by.

# posted by Pat : 8:55 PM  

Armstrong is a client of the infamous Dr. Ferrari. When Simeoni,one of the few on the Pro Circuit, who dares to give testimony against Armstrong, broke away on a stage last year, Armstrong sent all his men out to reel him back, despite the fact that Simeoni is no threat. He told the rest of the breakaway pack that if Simeoni was returned back to the peloton, he would agree to let them go. A remarkably transparent display of his idea of sportsmanship.

All great champions know the difference between winning, and winning with class.

# posted by NARDAC : 2:36 AM  

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