There are many exciting aspects of the Tour de France. The team presentations is not one of them. In fact, I chose to watch the whole sordid affair on Eurosport. This of course is interesting in itself. In America, we can barely get bike racing on TV. If it isn't one of the biggest races on the cycling calendar, fuggedaboutit. We get some great races and a big thanks to Versus for standing behind cycling when they could be airing the Bassmasters Classic instead.
It just demonstrates how big bike racing is in Europe that they would put, arguably, the equivalent of cycling's answer to submarine racing on primetime live TV. There is no witty banter like Phil, Paul and Bob provide when presenting the teams at the Amgen Tour of California which is a great night and an incredible celebration of professional cycling that lasts well into the evening and is over way to soon.
No, the presentation of the teams today in Brest was pretty much a snoozer, but it is an integral part of the whole prelude to the start of the Tour. Speaking of the festivities, you have to feel for the riders. These guys are about to embark on the biggest race of the year with careers and team sponsorship on the line and while fighting a humongous case of pre-race jitters, they have to spend the last three days before the start getting poked and prodded, attending the team presentation and making themselves available to journalists...... basically just about everything except riding their bikes.
To be sure, they will get 2500+ action-packed miles of racing in the next few weeks, but when your nerves are at the breaking point, just heading out for a few miles is a great way to calm yourself down. I am guessing that parading around in front a some fans and a few journos at the team presentation doesn't have the same effect.
Let's light this candle and get everybody on their bikes racing down the road in France. Anybody else out there also ready for the dog and pony show to end and for the bike racing to begin?
ps- what does everybody think of the new Garmin-Chipotle racing strip(that's UK-speak for 'racing kit')? Looks a little toned down from the 'total argyle" look. I am not a fan as of yet, but if the boys spend some time off the front it might just grow on me.