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Okay, is it me? LA and the TdF.(6 posts)

Okay, is it me? LA and the TdF.mleptuck
Mar 25, 2003 12:55 PM
(First off, I think I might need to don the flame-proof bibs)

Is it just me, or is Lance being a little TOO vocal about his fears of being an American riding in an international event?

I certainly understand his apprehension, but frankly, I'm not sure hearing him talk about this over and over is really going to accomplish anything other than possibly planting an idea in some loony's head.

Granted, he IS much more readily accessible than F1 drivers (hell, Fort Knox is more accessible than Mr. Schumacher the Elder), but that is the nature of his chosen sport. And somehow, I simply can't envision the TdF securing all 2000+ miles of the route because Lance is a bit leery.

Any one have the gut feeling this might be an indication that he really DOESN'T want to ride in the TDF but is doing it anyway (for the sponsors, his teammates, his fans)?

(PS. Yes, I am an LA fan, and want to see him win a 5th, but I'm not sure what he is accomplishing by constantly talking about this. If he's worried, maybe he shouldn't go...)
Real concerns,TJeanloz
Mar 25, 2003 1:15 PM
The Tour has a history of fan "interaction" with riders, and I think this is a real concern for Armstrong. Incidentally, it probably has less to do with the current conflict than with the idea that an American has the opportunity to tie the record held by the great Euro riders.
No easy answerms
Mar 25, 2003 1:43 PM
As I sit comfortably in Fortress America, it is hard for me to say how Lance or any other United States citizen should expect to be received in France or Spain. I think that most people can distinguish between the actions of a government and its citizens. However, you only need one person to disrupt a race or injure a rider.

Lance Armstrong is in an especially vulnerable position. He is not just an American, he is a Texan and a "friend" of President Bush. Given the number of cowboy hats and Texas flags that have lined the route of the TdeF during the past four years, the connection is strong in the minds of followers of the race.

I would be very disappointed if Armstrong were not to ride in any race, and especially the TdeF, because of the fear that he will be attacked because of his nationality. I went to France last summer, in part, because I felt that it was important for Americans to remain engaged in the world after the events of 9/11. And, I feel that it is important for Americans to continue to be engaged in world during and after the war in Iraq. Notwithstanding the current disagreement between the United States Government and the Republic of France, the United States and France have many common interests and shared values.

I do not know how much of what Armstrong says is packaged by his handlers and publicity machine and how much is pure, unfiltered Armstrong. However, I think that his public statements are very savvy. He is trying to distance himself from the war position of the US Government, which is unpopular in Europe, where he lives and works. This should give him some breathing room with European fans. He also is giving some warning as to why he may be distant or inaccessible (didn't he have bodyguards last year?). And, I would expect that he hopes that his comments will spark the local authorities to step up security, which probably is not a bad thing.

The bottom line is that everything in life has some risk. Cycling is a dangerous profession -- even without any interference from fans or spectators. I expect that Lance will ride the TdeF this year and I plan to be there to cheer him on (but since I am from Maryland, don't expect me to wear a cowboy hat or wave a Texas flag).
It's a pre-emptive strike.Mel Erickson
Mar 25, 2003 3:04 PM
The more the top dog brings up the issue the greater a concern it will become and the less likely someone will actually try to hurt him. Even if the Tour takes no special precautions (and I think it will) just the thought that "someone" may be watching will help deter the wackos. I also think he's more at risk from the regular fans because he may tie the record than he is from an al Queda (sp?) attack. He's just planting the seed.
That's the same thing any rational American rider would say. nmpnitefly
Mar 25, 2003 5:19 PM
re: Okay, is it me? LA and the TdF.The Human G-Nome
Mar 25, 2003 5:27 PM
he's getting asked about this statement repeatedly right now because he said it and because anything at all about the war is front page news. the reporters will refuse to leave this story alone as long as the war continues. eventually, i'm sure he'll get tired of it and say no more, but for right now he's just indulging reporters. it's not like he's calling up CNN or SI to say "hey, i got a gripe and i'd like you to write this story ok?"

how that has anything at all to do with LA not wanting to win a 5th tour is completely lost on me. his concerns are completely legitimate. if you're American in a country where Americans are typically villified in a time when Americans are most hated throughout the world and you just happen to be an American hero, you have plenty of reason to worry.