Lance & co. treat ESPN like trained seals, lunging for a herring:
if Lance Armstrong's latest comments are any indication, the seven-time Tour de France champion will more than likely be back in 2009.
"I'm definitely coming back to racing, and I recognize the Tour is the marquee event," Armstrong told the Austin American-Statesman. "Chances are more likely than not that I'll [ride in the Tour de France]."
No sane observer of the sport thinks Lance would skip the Tour. If his purpose is to enjoy the sensations he misses, or to publicize cancer research, the Tour is simply irreplaceable. Likewise, if the Tour's purpose is to make money off of viewership, nothing short of Lance injecting himself under the Arc de Triomphe in broad daylight could get him disinvited. So, while I don't want to declare this topic closed for discussion, it does seem patently silly to me. Another question is whether Lance will gear his training around a July peak... but you won't hear that above the barking din of ESPN.com.
I suppose Armstrong's biggest obstacle to connecting with more serious cycling fans is overexposure: big media obsess over every detail of his life, despite his absence from racing for over two years. Meanwhile, if they haven't bought a piece from a serious writer like Bonnie Ford on, say, Alessandro Ballan or Fabian Cancellara, chances are you won't find those names mentioned anywhere in their archives. It's not literally Lance's fault, any more than it's Michael Jordan's fault for his own media saturation. And if Lance is toying with them over ridiculous non-stories like this one, well, I guess he's entitled to some fun.