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Lance and Sheryl?
Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2004

by Bill Hogan


 
 

So Lance Armstrong is dating Sheryl Crow. There's a revelation that I'd probably have never been privy to had it not been for the over abundance of media coverage he gets every time the Tour de France starts.

My wife told me that Armstrong also had a fling with Sandra Bullock. Since it didn't take place during a grueling 20-stage bicycle race, all I could say was "that's news to me." Armstrong's love life seems to be as big a news story as his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs.

 
 


A topic that surfaces every year around this time. A time when Armstrong is dominating the rolling hills of Northern France. Of course, nobody has any proof. It seems, these days, proof isn't a prerequisite for throwing out outrageous accusations. Pick a target, toss as much mud as you can, and see what sticks.

Which is a shame when you consider that Lance Armstrong should be left alone to deal with the more gratifying aspects of his life. Like dating a rock and roll star and winning an unprecedented sixth Tour de France.

Armstrong has to think to himself that "All I Wanna Do" is become the greatest cyclist in the history of the Tour and spend some quality time with a hot rock star. Why do I have to put up with all these unfounded questions about illegal drug use?

When he's out on the course with the rest of the peloton, passing fellow cyclists like they're riding on flat tires, it must seem like "Every Day is a Winding Road." A winding road that will eventually lead to a place in sports history.

I don't think there's any question that Armstrong is "Strong Enough" to beat the field into Paris. A recently published book once again accusing Armstrong of "doping" has the French clamoring that the American rider is a cheater. Lance is mad. The last thing these people want to do is make Lance mad right before the start of the Tour de France.

If "The First Cut is The Deepest," then Armstrong should be immune to this kind of garbage, but he isn't. And he is using his anger to his advantage - he'll be wearing the yellow jersey of a champion when the race is over.

It still amazes me that Armstrong faces such animosity from the French. It seems that the wine drinking, baguette eating crowd needs a history lesson. A reminder of how things would be had it not been for US.

A lesson that I explained quite eloquently in a Hogan's Alley column a few years back when Lance was swiftly peddling himself toward a Tour de France three-peat:

The fact is, had it not been for the efforts of American soldiers during WWII, this race may have been called the Tour de Occupied France.

Flash back to your high school history class: After the German invasion of France in WWI, French War Minister Andre Maginot was committed to building an impenetrable fortress along the German-French boarder. Two hundred miles of steel, concrete and weaponry called the Maginot Line. It was fabulous. When WWII started, the French felt safe. A German attack would be futile.

Skip to the punch line: It didn’t take a genius (in fact, it only took the mind of a maniac) to figure out what to do against such a formidable obstacle. GO AROUND!! The Germans marched through Belgium into Northern France and were partying in Paris in a matter of days.

I don’t mention this “military blunder” in order to embarrass the French – the fact is, I have read with great interest the post card that details the “great modern military victories in French history.”

It took the American operation Overlord – a.k.a. D-Day – a.k.a. the invasion of Normandy – to drive the Germans out of Paris and back across the Rhine. An awful lot of American lives were lost in the process. But, still it seemed like a worthwhile endeavor.

Now the Frenchies are lining up around the block to throw down their Francs on Michael Moore's "blockbuster" fictional parody and are raving about its historical significance. The history they should be honoring occurred 63 years ago on a sandy, bloodied beachhead west of their beloved Champs-Elysees.

Lance Armstrong has a great chance to do what no other cyclist has ever done. Win the Tour de France six times. Put that in your history books, Jacque.

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