Why American cycling needs a new Greg Lemond or - whisper it - Lance Armstrong

A look at America’s fickle relationship with the Tour and the hero needed to restore fandom

American fans watch the Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We love sports in America. The hype, the drama, the speed, strength and skill. And the stats, always the stats. Mostly, we love ball sports —football, basketball and baseball. They’re a battle in a set arena, where two teams of five to eleven players face off and the team with the most points at the end of regulation wins. 

There are no balls at the Tour de France, at least not for sport. But there is coordination. Just watch a pack of sprinters maneuver for the line in slow motion. Or Tom Pidcock lay his bike over like a MotoGP racer. The drama unfolds on a network of secondary roads that wind through towns, up over mountains, through valleys, gorges and ultimately up and down the most famous cobbled boulevard in the world, the Champs Élysées. 

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Marshall Opel

Marshall is a freelance writer from Missoula, Montana. He road raced throughout the U.S. and Europe with the US U23 National Team. Marshall has worked as a bike tour guide, brand marketer, and promoter of two wheeled stoke. In 2019 he traveled the U.S. racing, riding, and reporting on the sport of gravel. Marshall's aim is to help grow the sport of cycling by telling stories that hold the door open for people to become riders.