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Tour de Lance

I thought the televised distraction of transatlantic sporting spectacle would end last Sunday with the conclusion of Wimbledon, but now that I have digital cable, I get the Outdoor Life Network, which means I can watch the extensive coverage of the Tour de France once I get home from class. The drama of the peloton snaking through bucolic France is surprisingly seductive.

Comments (2)

Scott Harris:

Two cheers for bicycles!


Lance Armstrong is obsessed with numbers: He measures his seat height by the millimeter, his food by the gram, and his performance by the watt. Such attention to detail is de rigueur in cycling, one of the most data-driven sports of all. Consider the numbers behind the Tour de France: 21 days of riding; 2,110 miles; 5,200 calories burned per day; a peak of 1,000 watts output at any given moment (enough juice to run seven iMacs). The two most important figures: 6, the number of consecutive victories Armstrong will have if he wins the Tour again (a new record); and 61, the number of seconds he won by last year, his narrowest margin yet.
To ensure the 32-year-old Texan has every advantage, his equipment sponsors have joined forces in an unprecedented, cost-be-damned collaboration known as F-One. Their goal: to get Armstrong's rig as close as possible to the Union Cycliste Internationale minimum bike weight of 6.8 kilograms (about 15 pounds) and make the rest of his gear as light and aerodynamic as possible. After all, even the slightest improvements can pay off. In 1989, Greg LeMond won the Tour by eight seconds - a victory universally attributed to the aerodynamic handlebars he used in the final time trial. While some of Armstrong's custom-made equipment won't be ready until race day, other items are premium versions of gear for sale at your local cycling shop. Here's a glimpse at the hardware designed to keep Armstrong in the yellow jersey.


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