7/07/2004 Add a comment

Can anyone find the point of this horrendous column by the New York Times' George Vecsey on the Tour de France? As far as I can tell, the next-to-last sentence is supposed to be the point: "It's a goofy spectacle, this Tour de France." But the rest of the column has basically nothing to do with the Tour or anything else. Vecsey mentions that he saw Sheryl Crow there at the start, and the king of Belgium at the finish line, but there's nothing even close to substance in between. Some allusions to the history of the region, some nonsense about people waving to the cars that drive by, and complaints of how the European press smokes, and you call that a sports column?

My question is, why does Vecsey try to make cycling seem so foreign? It's an American who's the current champion, and riding a bike is a fairly universal experience, so why does Vecsey go out of his way to describe the Tour as a "goofy spectacle" and to keep mentioning "Old Europe" as though it's a quaint ride at EuroDisney?

And my next question is, how long until the U.S. hosts a hugely popular bike race like the Tour? Are there any American races that have a fan following at all? I can't think of any off the top of my head. ben