MSNBC also has a nice slide show running through some highlights and capturing bits of the Tour seldom seen—sometimes for good reason.
There are two main storylines so far. The first is the blood-doping scandal that sent some of the top contenders fleeing their Strasbourg hotels before the Tour’s July 1st start.
Next, the apparent man to beat this Tour, American Floyd Landis, will have his hip replaced after secretly riding in pain for four years due to a degenerative hip condition. Landis’ tolerance for pain has doctors stumped. Ever cool, Landis was leafing through a joint manufacturer’s literature ten days before the race looking for a new hip.
With the Discovery Team fading, former leader Lance Armstrong made a surprise appearance mid-Tour. In case his arrival wasn’t enough to draw attention away from his team’s flailings, Armstrong goaded the French by taking a cheap shot at the French national soccer team shortly before his arrival.
Meanwhile, the actual race appears to be down to three grueling days of climbs in the Alps.
For anyone looking to lay a last minute wager but uninterested in learning names or the subtle tactics of team bicycle races? I present you Baby Smithers.