Another Fourth of July weekend, another start to the Tour de France.  But c’mon, who really gives a shit anymore.

Maybe if you’re a Yank who doesn’t know any better, it became meaningless once Lance Armstrong dropped out, then became marginally interesting again when he got back in (un-retiring is for assholes), then returned to being completely pointless once Lance fucked off again.  It’s a bit like a comment I read recently about the late Clarence Clemons – people who cite Clarence Clemons as the greatest sax player of all time (to which Kenny G goes, WTF!) often can’t name another sax player.  I’m pretty sure it’s the same with Lance.  With all the stupid Lance worship, most folks couldn’t name another rider out other in the peloton.  So what’s the fucking point, really.

Thing is, the Tour has been utterly pointless for years now.  Before Operación Puerto, anyone who followed the Tour de France tended to have a bit of a nudge-nudge-wink-wink approach to the event.  We all knew what the fuck the riders and teams were up to, and somehow we were all OK with it.  The occasional rider got caught, got banned, but the show went on.  Underneath it all, we all believed that every single rider was hopped on something.  Everyone.  You’ve got to be a complete and blithering idiot to think that any human can ride 200 miles a day for six consecutive days a week – at speed! – for four weeks, and not be hopped up on something.  The only person on earth who can do that is Andy Dick after a week-long coke binge.  And he’d do it in a dress.

Anyway, no one gives a shit about the Tour de France now because there are no longer any interesting characters in the sport.

When Lance was racing with U.S. Postal, it wasn’t just about him.  Yeah, he beat cancer, he has one nut, whatever.  Yet, Lance couldn’t be Lance without the likes of Jan Ullrich, for example.  Without Seinfeld, Newman would just be an dull, fat postal worker.  Luke Skywalker would just be another whiny little bitch if it weren’t for his dad.  And as such, the Tour de France used to be interesting because you had heroes and villains.  Lance was the all-American comeback kid, Ulrich was the cold, methodical Teutonic machine.  Classic Rocky parallels here.  Rocky with one nut… and Drago with a bit of a coke habit.  And Lance beat Ullrich.  Then there was Alexander Vinokourov, the next Ullrich, the cold, calculating Ukrainian machine.  Once again, he fucked up and got busted.  Then Ivan Basso rose up as the heir apparent to Lance.  Like fuck, ’cause he got caught, too.  Basso was non-starter, done before he could properly get going.  No one gives a shit about Basso now.

But in 2009, it got marginally interesting – Alberto Contador forged to the front with a good and proper “fuck you” attitude towards Lance.  He was an enormously cocky douchebag.  He didn’t give a shit, he was racing for himself and no one else.  He wasn’t prepared to be Lance’s bitch.  And because he was the foil to Lance, I didn’t mind him too much – the enemy of my enemy is my friend sort of thing.

But now Lance is gone.  Again.  Lance, who so quickly went from golden child of the sport to the biggest self-righteous asshole on the planet.  Lance, who is probably as clean as Lindsay Lohan, and basically shakes his single nut at the authorities because he know he’s outwitted the cops so far.  The fact I have no doubt in my head that he’s a sanctimonious douchebag who has been up to no good his entire career irritates me to no end.  He’s a dick and he’s gone now.

And since the Operación Puerto shake up, so has every other good/bad guy in the sport.  With no one to love or hate, it’s a struggle to give a flying shit about the Tour de France.  It was never just about Lance.  It was about the Ullrichs, the Bassos, the Contadors of the peloton.  Who the fuck’s going to step up to make you give a shit?  The three assholes who sprint for the green jersey?  I’ll bet not one of them is in a position to win the Tour.  The king of the mountain rider?  I, for one, fucking love climbing hills on my bike, and yet each year I couldn’t give a shit about who wins that polka dot jersey.

There is no one to root for, no one to give a shit about, no one to hate, no hero, no villain, no conflict, and that’s why in July, not a single fuck will be given by me for the stupid Tour de France.