Saturday, 07 July, 2001

Tour de France

The Tour de France starts today with the Prologue--a 5 mile individual time trial.  The actual Stages start tomorrow.  Twenty stages in twenty two days, covering 3,545 kilometers (about 2,140 miles) through France and a little swing through Belgium.  This is the premier bicycling race, and arguably one of the most grueling sporting events of any kind.  21 teams of 9 riders each--189 riders in all--will compete this year.  Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team will attempt a third straight victory.

For stage-by-stage Tour coverage, you can visit Lance Armstrong's site, or the official site at www.letour.com.  One nice thing about the letour.com pages is that they have real-time updates during the stage.  Watching a bicycle race is a whole lot less exciting than watching golf (I think I'd rather watch paint dry), but I like being able to read the 5-minute updates.  I also like the 30-minute recaps on TV.  Last year MSNBC would run a piece every night at about 8:00.  I wonder if I'll be able to get that kind of coverage this year. 

The Copper Tank Brewing Company in downtown Austin is sponsoring Tour viewing parties on four Sundays in July (July 8, 15, 22, and 29) from 2pm until 5pm.  I'll have to attend at least one of those, not necessarily to watch the TV, but rather to visit with other cyclists in the area and maybe drink a little beer.  Copper Tank makes some primo brew.