28 June 2009

En anglais

This year's Tour de France starts next Saturday in Monaco, and the betting world is expecting Astana to claim the final yellow jersey with Alberto Contador, with Lance Armstrong currently running second favorite in his bid for his 8th Tour win.

Maybe even more noteworthy as a Tour factoid than a potential 8th Tour win for Mr. Armstrong, though, is the team that Garmin-Slipstream is bringing to the party. A read down Garmin's Tour roster reveals 4 riders from the US, 2 from Great Britain, and 1 each from Ireland, New Zealand, and Canada. Which means that for the first time in a long time (did 7-Eleven or Motorola ever bring an all-anglophone squad?) and maybe since 1968, when the UK fielded a team in the last year the Tour was ridden by national teams, a team composed entirely of native anglophones will contest the Tour.

Their native language doesn't impart any value to their riding or worth as people, of course, and one could certainly argue that there are non-native speakers in the peloton who are more articulate in English than many of the native anglophones, but it's just interesting that, after a long run of American dominance at the Tour with US Postal/Discovery and with maybe the single most dominant team this year being the US-based team Columbia, this is a modern-era first.

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