I finally got to watch some European bike racing this past weekend—a rare treat with my current schedule. But I won’t deny for a second that the big story on Sunday took place several thousand miles away, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, just outside the men’s room.
For all its storied climbs, the Dauphine has long been an exercise in posturing and one-off performance. In 1999, Jon Vaughters famously used the race to “answer some questions” about his riding abilities. In 2003, Iban Mayo lured Armstrong into a deep-dug defense of his lead at the race, and it almost cost the Texan a record-tying 5th Tour de France the following month. Most commentators saw Armstrong’s “disappointing” finish in 2004 coming a mile away.