Lost in all the attention given to Lance Armstrong's comeback is the obvious dilemma facing the Texan's long-time bodyguard Serge Borlee. If you didn't know, Serge is a former Belgian policeman, hired by Armstrong to protect him most notably during the rolling chaos that is the Tour de France. Lance had very real death threats and with rather lax security at stage starts and finishes it seemed prudent to have someone watching Armstrong's back.
Now that Lance has been re-united with his long-time director and close friend, Johan Bruyneel, and his F1 speed team (Steve Hed, Scott Daubert, the boys from Giro, etc.) will Serge be returning to Armstrong's posse? Judging from all the recent attention from the media and fans, Lance is still as popular as ever so the need for some extra security is probably warranted.
The problem is that Serge was pretty darn good at his job. So darn good, that after Lance retired, Alexander Vinokourov hired Serge to watch his back. After Vino retired, prematurely, from the sport in 2007, Australian Cadel Evans hired Serge's services for his 2008 Tour de France bid. I was on the receiving end of a not-so-friendly push from Serge when I attempted to talk to Cadel before the start of the stage from Bourg d'Oisans to St. Etienne. I hope you can believe me when I tell you that I meant no harm to Cadel. I was just trying to ask him when on the ascent of l'Alpe d'Huez, did he realize that he had to chase Carlos Sastre.
So, what about Serge? Just when you thought it might be an easy decision, a seven-time Tour winner versus a Tour whiner, along comes the news that Vino is looking to return to professional cycling. What's a bodyguard to do? Please don't ask Kevin Costner. I am certain he is trying to forget that on-screen performance.
But, seriously, where is a bodyguard's loyalties? Can Tony Soprano help us out here? Or is it just a case of who is offering the most compensation. Not that I am contemplating a job in personal protection, I would just like to know how Serge is going to decide for whom is he prepared to take a bullet. Also, It would be good to know so I can tell my editor who I am not going to be interviewing at the 2009 Tour as I bruise easily.