What is it with Americans and the Tour de France? Why do we seem to win this thing all the time? Even crazier, why do those Americans who are less than 100% always win this grueling race?
This year, unless someone decides to be rude and challenge the yellow jersey on the last day of the race into Paris, American Floyd Landis will win the Tour de France. For those of you not keeping score, that's an amazing eight years in a row that an American has won this thing. And, even more amazing is that Floyd Landis seems to have won it on a bad hip which will have to be replaced as a result of osteonecrosis. Last I checked, you need hips to ride a bike, don't you?
The thing is, I'm thinking if you're an American and you show up in perfect health to this race, like George Hincapie, you don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning so long as we're able to field a sick American somewhere in the race. Consider the following:
Greg LaMond, was actually the only truly 100% healthy American to win the Tour when he did so in 1986. However, after getting riddled with buckshot in a hunting accident, he came back to win in 1989 and 1990 despite being a little heavier as a result of the shrapnel still embedded inside him (including in the lining of his heart).
And then there's Lance Armstrong. Do I really need to talk about Lance Armstrong? If you're not familiar with his story, then welcome to Earth. Sorry about the mess.
However, today we have Floyd Landis and his degenerative hips. A friend of mine had a similar osteonecrosis, and he can barely walk much less think about riding a bike. Can Floyd Landis come back to win the Tour de France after he has his hip replaced? Your guess is as good as mine. I wouldn't bet against it though. The only other American apparently capable of winning would be the perfectly healthy George Hincapie or David Zebriske. And, though I don't want to wish them any ill, it seems it may actually improve their odds.