It was Einstein that first introduced us to the theory of relativity.
Simply put, If I'm traveling 100 mph and you're traveling 100 mph right beside me, then relative to each other, we're more or less standing still.
This is really the enigma of racing such that no matter the speeds involved, relative to the rest of the field, there is very little difference in acceleration or velocity, and it's really the intricacies of strategy that often make all the difference.
For some reason, of course, we insist on calling the winner "the fastest," even though much of the time we should probably call them the "shrewdest" or the most skilled.
So why am I telling you all this? As ardent racing fans I'm sure you're all familiar with these things.
What I'm trying to impart to you, is that for all the reasons you like watching NASCAR or F1, you might also enjoy following the Tour de France.
Granted, the speeds involved are considerably less, but when you consider it is the difference in speed, not the velocity itself that really defines the dramatics of any particular race, then I would argue that the Tour provides more diversity than any single auto racing event, and employs many of the same tactics.
Are you into sprint cars? Well the Tour offers up the time trials (or T.T's) whereby the rider's tear down a shortened course, offering up speeds that dizzy the mind when considering the engines.
Are you into team racing? Well the Tour offers some of the most intriguing teamwork and interteam rivalries, at times working together to control the pace, and at times shooting off on their own to claim their share of the glory.
The emerging rivalry between Lance Armstrong and Alberto Cantador within team Astana is fascinating stuff.
Are you into wrecks? Well the Tour offers up some first rate crashes, generally with very real injuries. These guys can exceed sixty miles an hour on the downhills and have nothing but Lycra to protect them. The tour has accounted for nearly ten deaths, as the mountain rides particularly offer little compassion for riders that plunge off the road.
These guys draft, and bump, and wreck, and play head games with one another.
Are you into long distance events? Well the Tour can traverse up to 2500 miles, with riders covering hundreds of miles a day, sometimes battling the hills, sometimes on the flats, sometimes winding through the city, sometimes charging down the straight-aways.
Besides these similarities, this particular Tour is shaping up as a gripper, with iron-man Lance Armstrong coming back from a four-year hiatus and putting on an unbelievable display considering his age, his layoff, and the broken collarbone he suffered just months ago.
There are any number of contenders this year, but don't count out the gritty Texan.
Are you into the equipment? Well, these guys are riding on space age polymers, pushing incredible gears, and can even have their pit crews come to them, often with mechanics hanging out the windows of cars to provide some in-race adjustments.
So come on, gear-heads unite!
Watch a bit of the Tour de France on Versus.
It's all about relativity afterall (Einstein says so), and I think you'll really enjoy some of the racing.
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