Le Tour de France

Riders competing in the world's most prestigious cycling race, Le Tour de France, completed Stage 2 of 21 today, climbing from Bruxelles to Spa in the magnificent country of Belgium (they enter France in Stage 3). The soggy weather caused one major crash that slowed many cyclists in the peloton down, including American Lance Armstrong, who has said this will be his last Tour.

The televised, three week event will test the limits of international riders with over 2200 miles of picturesque -- yet arduous -- French countryside. This year's Tour began on July 3rd, and the champion will be crowned on July 25th. If Le Tour has you excited about bicycle racing then check out the AADL's collection of books and magazines on the sport of cycling.


This has been a pretty treacherous Tour so far... the cobblestones really tore up the bikes - and their riders - today. There was a frightening accident involving a dog running out in front of the peloton on day 1 (the announcers said that the dog was - amazingly - okay), followed by the end of that stage, where essentially the entire race came to a standstill in the last kilometer, as a wall of crashed riders from barrier to barrier left nowhere to go. Though crashing is a valid part of a sport that involves pushing man and machine so hard to their limits, I always hope that the simple bad luck of getting caught up in the blast radius of someone else's mistake doesn't change the outcome too drastically...

I loved the cobbles sections of today's stage, such a rare treat this year. The dust blind turns, the powerful riders gearing up and pounding ahead, and the way the peloton narrows down and spaces out are all part of what makes the Tour so much fun to watch. And can you beat those aerial shots of all the beautiful villages and winding streets of Belgium and France?

What's incredible about the crashes is how many riders can simply swap out bikes and start riding again. For us mere mortals, many of these types of pileups would result in several weeks out of the saddle, but for these guys, it's time to pedal on.

Comeback 2.0, Up Close and Personal is full of amazing photos of Armstrong, both on the road, and behind the scenes. There is minimal text and great captions. It's a great way to get a quick look at what he goes through.

That books looks stunning, manz. I'll have to check that out. Last year's Tour, with Lance's return and the Lance / Contador controversy subplot is going to be hard to beat this year. I'm pulling for Cancellara to stay strong in the next few stages at least.

i want to go to france