The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Where’s the Love?

The English on ITV have stopped repeating the mantra that Lance does not belong in the Tour de France this year. After nine stages, it’s obvious how solid and competitive he is. The French authorities have not changed their tune, however, and have tested Lance for drugs three times in the last forty-eight hours. Of course, they are desperate to prove that his record number of victories in the Tour was drug-fueled. Liggett and Sherwen have called this tactic “silly,” but, of course, it’s part of a larger strategy to disrupt Armstrong’s ability to recuperate after races and break his concentration. There is much to admire about the French, but this kind of pettiness is not one of them.

I’m still processing Contador’s attack at the end of stage 7. Obviously, he had a score to settle, but it goes deeper than that. It was more than pride. I didn’t quite understand this until I heard Bob Roll’s comments on Lance and the team. Roll said that pissing off Armstrong was not a good idea, because he never failed to punish those who did. This much I already knew. More interesting was Roll’s comment that Contador did not have the full backing of the Astana team. Roll implied that if the team were split, the majority of riders would support Armstrong.

The pressure on Alberto Contador must be immense. Not only is he expected to win the race, but he’s got this pesky old man reducing his chances in frustratingly unanticipated ways. It must be like dealing with an aging superhero. Poor Alberto. He keeps shouting, “Where’s the love? Where’s the love?” and no one, except the other Spanish riders, responds.

We are still in for some surprises before this year’s Tour finishes in Paris, I think, but no one can say that Lance Armstrong has not done himself proud.