By Cecil "Zeke" Yount | Jul 11, 2012

No, I’m not referencing the time of the year to be sweating in the heat of summer, although it clearly is that time of the year. I also don’t mean it is the time of year to be out tubing down the Pigeon, which of course, it clearly is time to be doing. I also don’t mean it is time to stand around with your neighbor making “rocket scientist” observations about your grass turning brown although, again, you could be doing that.

No, I mean it is that time of the year when cyclists world-wide begin to turn their attention fully to France and Le Tour de France. It is that time when the blood of Chris Horner, Tejay Van Garderen, and nearby neighbor George Hincapie miraculously begins to flow through the bodies of local road riders urging them to new personal bests. It is again that time of year when the outstanding commentary team of Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwin, and Bob “Bobke” Roll take to the airways educating, elucidating, and entertaining us sometimes 4 and 5 hours a day. It is that time of the year when the phrase “he finally turned the pedal in anger” actually makes sense.

Just as the first Robin seen locally used to be a harbinger of spring to come, certain signs that Le Tour is happening abound. Sign #1: Someone or some organization “leaks” the news and old incriminations of the latest investigation of Lance Armstrong just in time to take the news cycle away from today’s riders and waste yet more taxpayer money. Sign #2: People start trying to figure out the channel numbers for Versus and then remember that NBC Sports inhaled Versus; yet you still have to find the channel number because you NEVER watch that channel any other time. Sign #3: Local bicycle shops see an increase in the number of older, stored bikes being brought in for rehab. (This sign normally happens during week 2 of Le Tour.

For you non-cyclist fans out there, Le Tour offers up some compelling action. With apologies to Dave Letterman, here are my top 5 reasons for watching Le Tour:

#5 – the race within the race within the race that makes up Le Tour is exciting and great drama when you realize how many different strategies are in play at any given time.

#4 – Young and not so young American riders are now kicking butt on a consistent basis year in and year out at Le Tour. This hasn’t always been the case.

#3 – Something stupid always happens making you shake your head. Week 1 of Le Tour is always comprised of a “nervous peloton”, i.e., a bunch of anxious riders trying to be physically located where every other rider is located. Mayhem ensues.

#2 – The TV coverage, especially in high definition, shows spectacular scenery of Europe.

The NUMBER ONE reason to watch Le Tour this year…. There are NO POLITICAL ads spouting lies every 30 seconds during the coverage! Can I have an AMEN?


For more information, visit and . You may also link to Zeke’s Great Smoky Mountain 2 Wheeled Adventures under Opinion on the Mountaineer’s website.

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