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By Stan Silliman
       
THE TOUR DE LANCE
   
    Is there even any question anymore? The Tour de France has about as much drama as a Police Academy movie.

    France might as well turn over the deed. Lance Armstrong owns the Tour de like Bill Gates owns our screens. Everyone else is renting space, biding time, exercising in futility. It’s to a point other cyclists dare not look de Lance in the eyes… for he will banish them. If other bikers gaze in Lance’s direction they’ll find a squint that’d make Clint Eastwood crawl under the bed. Soon they’ll find themselves peddling for La Baguette de Obscure in some little remote French village huffing and puffing to deliver the sandwich dans 30 minutes ou c’est libre.

    The other bikers are merely bugs on Lance’s windshield.  They’re smashed by his Lake Michigan sized lungs. They’re twitted by his steel tendons disguised as legs. You expect his arms to be strong so you forget about his legs. And then there’s his Will. Even if you trot in your own Godzilla lungs and Gabriella Reece legs, you still have to fight with Will. That’s one you’re not going to win. You’d sooner win a craggy face contest against Charles Bronson.

    The only chance one might have to unseat Lance is sabotage, assassination, or bump off – sending Lance’s bike over a ravine. That’s where Lance’s posse comes in – the U.S. Postal Service biking team. Nobody messes with the U.S. Postal Service. These guys protect Lance during rain or snow or dark of night, unless, of course, if Lance is asked to ride during a holiday. But other than that his team, the U.S. Postal guys, makes formidable body guards. Keep in mind that “Postal” is the optimum word here. Even in France, they’ve heard of Patrick Sherrill, Joseph Neale, Edward Premo and David Berkowitz. They’ve seen the video game --“Going Postal” – and know these guys, disguised as ordinary world-class cyclists, can snap at any time, whip out  automatics and leave bikes and bodies scattered all over Mount Ventoux.  Nobody wants to risk that.
Tour De Lance
    It doesn’t matter the Postal team is truly international with riders from Russia, Spain and Portugal as well as the U.S., the perception is still there. You don’t come close to messing with our boy. And it doesn’t matter that the Post Office pulls it’s sponsorship after this year. The mystique is still the same. Next year, when they re-convene under the Discovery Channel sponsorship, riders will still fear the team knowing some postal mentality could carry over.

    It should be noted Lance divorced his wife Kristin and hooked up with Sheryl Crow. 
As said in the titles of several of a Sheryl’s songs “A Change Would Do You Good” “If It Makes You Happy” as long as he’s “Safe and Sound” because on the Tour “Everyday is a Winding Road.” Just don’t go off that ravine because “The First Cut is the Deepest” and you don’t want to “Crash and Burn.” Hey, we might as well finish with more Sheryl Crow song titles. Lance has endured five years of attacks by the French press accusing him of doping. For him winning his sixth Tour is “All I Wanna Do” because he’s “Strong Enough” and he always said “I’m Gonna Be a Wheel Someday.” The French might as well give him the deed, rename their country, don their berets and say va la’-bas le voisinage “There Goes the Neighborhood.”


     
    
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