Yesterday (that’s July 11th, 2010) marked the end of an era. It was the day when The Boss (not Springsteen, the other one) had to let his ambitions to win the Tour de France once more go. Seven years in a row (1999-2006) Lance Armstrong dominated Le Tour. Not only did he win it, he ruled it (hence his nickname). The boss did not bend, nor did he break. Nothing was left to chance and even when chance would have played a role (say: a punctured tire or something), this never happened to The Boss. Lance did not fall, even when all others did. All of his helpers performed at a higher level than at which they would have normally been capable. Such was his ruling.
The Boss doesn’t fall…
And last year, the Boss came back. In a heated battle with the younger, fitter Contador Lance could not lose. And, finishing third, he didn’t. Nor did Contador by the way. The tour won, Lance won, Alberto won. Perhaps he should have left it there. But that’s not the way Lance is built I guess. He felt he still had something to prove. He had to win Le Tour (His Tour) once more. So he and team manager Johan Bruyneel built a team around The Boss; Team Radioshack. A team that should’ve secured Lance’s final victory of the 2010 Tour de France.
… Until he did
After a troublesome preparation (some unfortunate crashes and the whole ‘Landis’ situation) he had a good start, riding an impressive prologue. It actually felt like he could perhaps pull it off. But then there was stage eight to Morzine Avoriaz. The Boss, who never fell, was involved in two crashes. He actually had to let go of the first group with all the other favorites, losing about a minute at the top of Col de la Ramaz. Nasty, sure, but still not the end you’d say. But at that point, two Euskatel riders -stupidly- fell down when reaching for some food and ended up on the pavement in front of Lance. This moment ended the era. Lance had to put his feet on the ground not to fall again and lost more precious time. On the final climb to Morzine -Avoriaz, he took it easy. Losing more than 10 minutes. That same evening he tweeted: ‘It never rains, it pours.’ And he’s just going to enjoy he last two weeks as a professional cyclist. I hope he will. The Boss deserves nothing less.