Tour de Lance. Final Commentary.

Alright, that’s not a particularly clever headline. I know you have probably read it a couple of hundred times in the course of the last years if you at all opened the sports section of your newspaper of choice in the month of July. But with only days left to the official retirement of Lance Armstrong from professional cycling, this year – despite the terror in London – the Tour, its most successful rider in history, as well as all alleged challengers are getting the additional amount of public attention only available in years without Olympics or a major international football competition.

Probably in some sense preemting a good deal of social and foreign policy conflicts that could arise following federal elections in Germany this Autumn, a newspaper columnist who thought he was being particularly clever even turned Lance Armstong’s domination of the world’s most important annual cycling event into a systemic conflict of American determination and European decadence. As insulting as that may seem to Jan Ullrich and other Armstrong challengers, to read mindless commentary like this helps to decide which newspapers not to read.

Far from taking it too seriously, a very funny blog called “The Fat Cyclist” is nonetheless looking at the deeper meaning of some aspects of Le Tour. So for your morning enjoyment, I present the Fat Cyclist’s Tour de France Personality Test: What your watching the race can tell you about yourself – example question:

Question 1. Who do you want to win the Tour de France?

  • Jan Ullrich: You love a comeback kid, a perpetual underdog, a likeable loser. If American, you voted Democrat. If you are a cyclist, you are more likely to be overweight than not, and use Jan as a shining beacon of what it’s possible for a fat cyclist to achieve.
  • Ivan Basso, Alexandre Vinokourov: You fancy yourself a thinker, an analyst, but you’re actually just a flibbertigibbet. You’ve looked at Basso’s results from the past and think he’s a good bet for the future. When Basso doesn’t wind up in the top 10 after this year’s tour, you will hardly notice, however, because you’ll already have moved on to the next big thing.
  • Lance Armstrong: You are a pragmatist, and like to surround yourself with winners. If American, There is a 70% chance you voted Republican. If you are willing — when confronted — to vigorously defend Armstrong’s character flaws, there is a 95% chance you are Republican.
  • Levi Leipheimer, Floyd Landis: You are a dreamer, and hold to those dreams even in the face of harsh reality. If American, you vote Libertarian.
  • Iban Mayo, Roberto Heras: You are an idealist, and tend to remember the old days as better than they actually were.
  • Someone else: You are simply obstinate.


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About Tobias Schwarz

German, turned 30 a while ago, balding slowly, hopefully with grace. A carnival junkie, who, after studies in business and politics in Mannheim, Paris, and London, is currently living in his hometown of Mainz, Germany, again. Became New Labourite during a research job at the House of Commons, but difficult to place in German party-political terms. Liberal in the true sense of the term.

His political writing is mostly on A Fistful of Euros and on facebook these days. Occasional Twitter user and songwriter. His personal blog is almost a diary. Even more links at