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    Sunday, July 24, 2005

    Sen. Kerry and the Maillot Jaune

    Last night I watched the last individual time trial of Lance Armstrong's career. It was great. I was treated to the best, most sad, and worst of cycling in this year's tour.

    First, Lance was magnificent. I have watched the tour faithfully since 1999, where I happened upon it while at college. I had heard faintly of "le tour de France" before, but had no clue what it was. Then I saw a relatively unknown Texan who had recently beat cancer win an amazing race.

    That hooked me. This year I watched every single stage. The time trial had Jan Ullrich turn in a phenomenal time, only to see Lance win by 0'23". Pure perfection.

    The sad came a little earlier with Mikael Rasmussen. He had ridden so magnificently throughout the tour--earning not only the King of the Mountain jersey, but a podium position. Then, at the beginning of the time trial, he crashed hard, and was never the same. He tried to make up ground, but his bike came apart on him, and he took a turn too wide, spilling into the grass. He went through four bikes while enduring two crashes and dropped to seventh overall in the general classification.

    The worst was Senator John Kerry. I almost puked when I saw him interviewed. Leave it to a politician to sully the greatest race of our generation. Somehow Sen. Kerry got permission to ride in the team car behind Armstrong, and then, upon getting out, got his ugly mug plastered on TV as he professed to be such a great cycling fan. He said he watched it every day during last year's campaign, fast-forwarding through commercials. Yeah right, he knows cycling like he knows football, which, if anyone remembers from last year's campaign, is not very much.

    But it's not about Sen. Kerry per se. I probably would have thrown up my dinner had it been any other senator. Our policy-makers have no business being there unless it's John Cornyn or Kay Bailey Hutchinson. They are the two senator's from TEXAS, and since Lance Armstrong is from TEXAS, I could understand them showing up. Kerry's from Massachussets, and last I heard, that's not a state in TEXAS (although Texan's will say Texas is big enough to swallow it whole).

    So there you have it: the good--Armstrong's utter domination once again, the bad(sad)--Mikael Rasmussen falls and drops out of podium contention, and the ugly (worst)--Sen. Kerry tries to steal face time from Armstrong's glory. What a great and horrible world in which we live.

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