Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No Gifts

This is a pretty new blog. One of the people who will probably come up often is Lance Armstrong. I'm not a cyclist, as Pigdog reader JPS will tell you, but I admire what they go through in the saddle. Riding up and down mountains is impressive. No matter what you think about Armstrong, what he accomplished was amazing. He faced down the ultimate pigdog, which had nothing to do with cycling. What I loved was that when he came back, he did it fierce, completely uncompromising and unrelenting. I went through YouTube looking for my favorite Lance moment, but it's been removed. It was in 2004, during the stage after he wrapped up the race by killing the field on the Alpe d'Huez. It was assumed he'd give Andreas Kloden a consolation prize that day because it was meaningless. The Phils on OLN called Kloden the winner with about 100 meters to go because it was just a formality. But Lance surged ahead at the last minute, in the slipstream, and overtook a startled Kloden. The rationale was simple: a bunch of German fans had spit on him going up Alpe d'Huez, cursing him as a doper. His explanation on the OLN video: "I thought I'd let Kloden win. Then I thought to myself, 'No, not today, that's not right." For a lot of people (read: Euros), it showed Lance at his worst: petty and kinda classless; I thought it showed him as he is: competitive and driven beyond belief. Lance said it was his favorite moment of the Tour that year. On the podium for something like the fourth straight day, Tour legend Bernard Hinault told him, "Perfect. No gifts." About 2:40 from the end, you see him eat up Kloden.

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