Originally posted by Anders
And this years Armstrong is a more humble bike rider than previous years and simply liked more.
You think? That's not the impression I get. I remember the first year he came back, and actually won the Tour. Everybody was awestruck at this hero, who overcame cancer and won the Tour de France, maybe one of the most demanding sporting events in the world. This year, however, hardly anybody, if not nobody mentioned his fight with cancer. Many people were close to pleased with how weak he appeared in the first time trials and in the first Pyrenee stage, and people were already crowning Ullrich, the new/refound king, who, breaks your heart to think, left his newborn and firstborn daughter to come win this Tour.
I have a feeling that people are fatigued with Armstrong, much as they were with Indurain in the end: here we go again. Good prologue, win one or both time trials (with a time advantage that makes your competitors feel like they can only compete for second place), and win a mountain stage if you feel you've got it in you. Again, this is probably the best way to win the Tour, but it does get a bit boring. Especially if the competition seems to be miles away (which is not Armstrong's fault, mind you). Not for naught has this Tour been dubbed the most exciting in 13 years (with, of course, a reference to the historice Fignon-LeMond clash of titans, won by the latter American with only 7 seconds).
And Armstrong, through all this, has definitely deserved his victories, and I have been a fierce supporter of the man (hey, he retaught us the value of smaller speeds - faster peddling-, he oftentimes crushed the competition). Yet, I think that this year, Armstrong has probably been less favored by the general audience, than any of the previous years.