Sunday, July 23, 2006

French scouring country for someone sick enough to win Tour

Floyd Landis won the Tour de France today, becoming the 8th straight American to steal France's greatest athletic trophy. The past 7 were robbed by Lance Armstrong, and just when the French could bid adieu to the second most hated Texan in Europe, another colonial rears his ugly head.

The French and the rest of Europe have been following the wrong strategy in their attempts to stop the 8 year-long domination of their most cherished athletic event by the despised Americans. They have resorted to such things as accusations of drug use against Armstrong - those didn't stick, sprang midnight raids on his hotel room - they found nothing but Armstrong sleeping, and all the while sending forth the best and most highly trained athletes that they could muster to try to beat the hated Yanquis. Finally, becoming desperate, they resorted to the same drug use of which Armstrong was accused, only the Europeans really did it. It was not a figment of someone's imagination. Four or five of the top riders in the world got kicked out of cycling just before this year's tour began.

Lance Armstrong is a brain cancer survivor once given only a 5-10 percent chance to survive. Floyd Landis cannot walk without severe pain and must undergo hip replacement surgery before riding in another race. Neither has ever failed a drug test and they have been subjected to hundreds, if not thousands. Armstrong won 7 straight tours and, upon his retirement after last year's victory, Landis limped in on his bum hip to keep the 2006 yellow jersey on American soil, or soiled by Americans, depending on your point of view.

The French and the other Europeans must find some people sick enough to compete with the Americans. The too-healthy cream of European athletic stock can't get the job done, at least not legally. They are going to have to resort to scouring hospital wards and out-patient clinics. They'll have to visit the sewers of Paris searching for diseased, homeless waifs - 18-22 years of age. They'll send emissaries to the hashish dens of Amsterdam, ablutophobia isolation wards in Berlin and cacophobia hospices in Rome.

No rock must be left unturned to see what might crawl from beneath it in this French led all-European effort to recover a . . . yellow t-shirt.

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