Following Blognor Regis’s coverage of the Hollywood-style comeback of Floyd Landis in the Tour, I did a Google News search for the latest and I found this real story from the online version of The Gainsville Sun:
LACK OF LANCE HURTS AREA INTEREST
By Elizabeth Hillaker
Special to the Sun
July 21. 2006 6:01AM
As the Tour de France nears what is expected to be an exciting conclusion this weekend, interest in the race appears to be mixed in the Gainesville area, where cycling is one of the more popular recreational activities.
“I think with not having Lance Armstrong in it this year, people really don’t care,” said Jeremey Bingham, a manager at Spin Cycle Outdoor Center on University Avenue, referring to the seven-time champion who retired after last year’s Tour de France.
But many members of the Gainesville Cycling Club have followed the tour with an intensity that rivals football or basketball, according to Bob Newman, president of the club.
Newman concedes that the tour in the post-Armstrong era may not capture the fancy of all area cyclists.
“Just as not all Gainesvillians are (University of Florida) Gator zealots, not all cyclists are interested in the tour,” he said.
Bingham said the key to building that interest back up will be success from another American rider.
“An American needs to win again,” he said.
Floyd Landis appears to be America’s best hope as the tour winds down.
“Landis is really the strongest American rider,” Bingham said. “He’s a name to look at.”
He even has an Armstrong-like medical problem he has had to battle.
Landis has a degenerative bone condition called osteonecrosis or bone death caused by lack of blood circulation. He first damaged his hip in a biking accident in 2003 and will require a hip replacement after the tour. While cycling isn’t a high impact sport, the pain is chronic.
“I think it’s impressive,” Bingham said of Landis’ performance under pain and pressure.
Looks like the work of “World Ceres“…