I feel that an article summarizing Lance Armstrong's victory in the 2004 Tour de France is overdue on Operation Gadget. My explanation for not publishing it sooner is as follows:
- Armstrong's victory became so decisive as the Pyrenees gave way to the Alps that I felt like I was repeating myself. I like to think of myself as a fairly descriptive writer, but I had difficulty coming up with additional synonyms for terms like "dominant," "decisive," and "impressive". Maybe I didn't use the term "emphatic" enough.
- Spectator behavior at La Mongie, Plateau de Beille, and Alpe d'Huez caused me to stop and think for longer than I realized. It also seems to have influenced Armstrong's subsequent race tactics, as evidenced by an on-camera comment he made in one of the final episodes of The Lance Chronicles. Armstrong did not want Andreas Kloden to win the stage at Le Grand Bornand partly because of the way that German fans treated him at Alpe d'Huez.
- Rider behavior surrounding the dispute between Filippo Simeoni and Lance Armstrong raised a lot of questions in mind. Maybe my only comment about what happened during Stages 18, 19, and 20 ought to be that I learned through years of competitive ice hockey that there are some things that go on in games that cannot be fully understood by spectators no matter how much they are studied or discussed. Cycling may be like hockey in that respect.
- Media behavior surrounding the whole drugs in cycling issue made talking about the end of the Tour less enjoyable for me. The more circumstantial evidence and innuendo brought forward by the anti-Armstrong media faction, the less I pay attention. Will coverage of professional cycling continue to degenerate until it is fundimentally similar to coverage of U.S. politics, where you almost have to choose who you read or watch based on their pre-conceived points-of-view?
I should also point out that external events have played a role. A few weeks ago, I approached a major IT infrastructure software developer regarding a fulltime job. I spent the last week of the Tour being interviewed or preparing for interviews for this position. This effort definitely cut into the time I spent reading Tour-related media, although I did watch most of the coverage provided by the Outdoor Life Network.