I’ve got lots of things on the burners right now, but along with the Hockey play-offs, I’m watching unprecedented coverage of the Giro d’Italia
(even as I write this). The Tour de France has gotten lots of play over the years, with the Versus network
doing the daily reports for the last several years. However, the Giro gets short shrift every year. Mostly because their aren’t generally any prominent Americans that ride it, at least not a marquee rider like Lance Armstrong. Well this year is different because Lance is riding it for the first time. Hard to believe that during a 17 year career he never attempted it, but that is the nature of cycling in the modern era. Riders specialize and race to get maximum exposure for their sponsors. For Armstrong and other Americans, that has meant the Tour de France.
Armstrong really has had three cycling careers now. His pre-cancer career was highlighted by a World Championship win and a Tour de France stage win in 1993. Another TdF stage win in 1995 and success in the major U.S. tour at the time, the Tour duPont, were additional highlights before a slow decline culminating in his cancer diagnosis in 1996 at the still tender age of 25. His second career (and remarkable comeback) began in 1998 when he finished high up in the standings of Spain’s “Grand Tour”, the Vuelta a España
. 1999 was of course the first year of his total of 7 Tour de France victories. His retirement following his 7th Tour win saw Armstrong going out on top.
For 2009, the beginning of his third cycling career, Lance obviously felt like he had something left for the sport. He also wanted to make more prominent his role as spokesman for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, also known as Livestrong
, an organization that brings awareness to issues and programs related to cancer and its treatment. While victories have alluded him so far this year, he has performed well and has helped his teammate, Levi Leipheimer, to a Tour of California win in February. Armstrong even had a setback in late March, breaking his collarbone in a Spanish stage race that also saw Leipheimer win. Despite that, Lance is showing well in his first Giro.
Which brings us to the intimate video you see above, with Lance and Levi taking turns being both cameraman and narrator. To see them talk about the 16th stage of the Giro ( a 7+ hour affair!) as one of the hardest of their respective careers is really startling. What’s also startling to me, is that the technology of the day allows these two super-humans to bring us such exquisite detail of one of the world’s toughest bike races, almost instantaneously. With the addition of Lance’s Twitter feed
, it gives a cycling fan a revolutionary view of the life of a bike racer. Bellissimo!