Lance Armstrong Returns to the Tour

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Lance Armstrong is laser-locked on one other Tour de France. But the 45-year-old ex-pro rider, who received seven consecutive Tours between 1999 and 2005 earlier than these wins have been voided for doping offenses, received’t race the 2017 version. Instead, Armstrong will analyze, editorialize, and prognosticate by way of his new daily Stages podcast, addressing each the main points and every day highlights of professional biking’s iconic, three-week, mid-summer conflict.

The Stages Podcast

Lance Armstrong shares is perspective on the 2017 TdF with a brand new every day podcast

Listen now 

“I’m approaching this as if I were in the race. I want to know every stage profile, every weather report, where the wind is coming from, even how far away the teams’ hotels are from the stage starts,” says Armstrong. “Just a couple things go wrong for you, and the Tour becomes a lot harder.”

Throughout the Tour, which runs from July 1 to 23, Armstrong will even share his ideas on the Tour’s hyperbolic ups and downs right here at Outside. As the world’s best riders put together to place shoe to pedal, right here’s what Armstrong has to say about his strategy and expectations.

OUTSIDE: You stay persona non grata on the Tour, and never way back you have been extra runner than bicycle owner. So why a podcast in regards to the Tour de France?
LANCE ARMSTRONG: Two issues: I discovered that I’ve actually loved internet hosting the Forward [Armstrong’s year-old, weekly podcast]. And to not sound corny, however not way back I fell again in love with the bike. I’d been working so much and overdid it. My left and proper psoas muscle tissues acquired actually pissed off. I assumed, I’ll begin driving once more, till the harm heals up. Then I acquired again on the bike and thought, “Wow, I’m digging this.”

Translation: You’re driving so much?
When I’m in Austin [Armstrong’s hometown], it’s 90 p.c highway driving. When I’m in Aspen [Armstrong’s retreat], it’s 90 p.c mountain biking. I get pleasure from driving with the younger guys, too—like Nate Brown and Lawson Craddock. I can’t go toe-to-toe with them, however I can dangle for six hours within the group. They’re honest to me. They’re candy and respectable children.

Apparently you’ve warmed again as much as the Tour, too.
I spent a number of years not watching it in any respect. You received’t even hear my title talked about by the announcers, which is so traditional—and as a rider it’s such a grind. But then final yr I watched some, and it was excessive leisure. The big banner falling down on the course 1 kilometer from the [Stage 7] end. The complete lack of crowd control on Mont Ventoux, and Froome running. I imply shit, that’s content material gold.

Spoken like a real leisure exec. Or, for that matter, an aspiring podcaster.
Yes, I feel extra that manner. The actors who make up the play. The dynamics of the race. How the actors act.

How do you see the 2017 Tour de France unfolding?
It’s a really atypical Tour in that it lacks very long time trials and a whole lot of uphill finishes. The complete elevation beneficial properties are comparatively low. That Düsseldorf prologue [Stage 1] may simply be within the pouring rain, after which they’re in Belgium and Luxembourg. Any time the Tour goes outdoors of France the crowds alongside the highway are about 10x of what you discover in France. Crazy. Then they’re in part of France that’s a sophisticated place—twisty and wet. In the primary week, it’s going to be race over for some individuals who thought they’d be in rivalry.

So who will transcend all of these challenges, and shine for one more 2 weeks? Your favorites?
The odds-on favourite is Richie Porte, if he can race good. Plus, let’s see if his workforce can handle the race. I’d wager my life on Sagan profitable the inexperienced jersey.

Back to the yellow jersey for a sec. Porte, in a landslide?
No. Froome is quantity 2, and really effectively could win. My darkish horse, and he may definitely pull it out, is Alejandro Valverde. You can’t eliminate Valverde. He received’t have any problem navigating the primary week’s extremely technical elements. He is aware of what the fuck he’s doing.

You’re not exhibiting a lot love for Valverde’s teammate, Colombian climbing nice and 2013 Tour winner Nairo Quintana. No manner?
I don’t know, this may be the kick within the ass Quintana must make true accelerations, to not be conservative. This is just not a route for the conservative. Anybody that wishes to be conservative on this Tour de France? They’re racing for 10th place.


Tour de France Preview

Why profitable the Tour is “a mix of running a marathon, playing a game of chess, driving in NASCAR, and running for president.”


Stage One: It’s Not Too Slippery If You Don’t Go Too Fast

From crashes to Team Sky’s dominance, there’s a lot to speak about on day 1—a 14-kilometer prologue in Dusseldorf, Germany. For the total story, listen to today’s podcast. For Armstrong’s highlights and predictions, learn on:

  1. Geraint Thomas. Nobody threw that title round. And it was an oversight. Team Sky’s Thomas is a two-time Olympic champion. He’s been round for some time—I did the Tour de France with him. He’s a powerful time trialist, and actually he had much less to lose than the GC riders. Folks like Richie Porte appeared on the wet prologue as a dangerous, harmful day with slick roads and a whole lot of draw back. Thomas checked out it as a possibility, after which he received. The Welshman additionally had the perfect post-race quote: “[The roads] weren’t too slippery if you don’t go too fast.” Some sort of bizarre and severe understatement.
  2. Everyone has to acknowledge how a lot time Chris Froome put into his rivals. He completed a powerful 6th, and solely 12 seconds behind Thomas. Four of at this time’s prime ten finishers are with Team Sky, which sends a transparent message to Porte’s BMC squad.
  3. Porte, my pre-race decide to win this Tour, rode tentatively for apparent causes. But ending 49th and 47 seconds again—35 behind Froome—is hard information. You lose 10, 12 seconds driving conservatively. But 35 seconds? That’s not being cautious. That doesn’t occur since you’re utilizing extra brakes within the corners.
  4. Alejandro Valverde, my dark-horse to win this Tour, is out with a broken kneecap. Overnight, the race has modified. If Froome was nervous about Valverde and Quintana, he’s not now. If Porte was nervous about Valverde and Quintana, he’s not now.
  5. Cycling wants extra personalities. So huge congrats to Taylor Phinney at this time. He’s one in every of solely 3 Americans within the race, and he’s a pleasant child and somebody who’s really enjoyable to look at. He stored it upright at this time and completed 12th, within the first stage of his first-ever Tour.

Tomorrow: Belgium, and 203 kilometers. A day for sprinters, and I’m going with Marcel Kittel. He’s German however would like to win in entrance of a Belgian crowd, and rides for a Belgian workforce. Quick-Step is designed to escort Kittel nearly all the way in which to the end line. And proper now that dude is quick. If Kittel takes the intermediate sprints and nabs the end, he is also in yellow tomorrow.

—Armstrong

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