Lance is coming! Lance is coming! All Hail the return of the King!
I wish I could get into the heads of some of the riders of the pro peleton. I want to know what they are REALLY thinking since Lance Armstrong announced his return to cycling for 2009. I know what they are telling the press but, in all seriousness, there has got to be a collective, “Oh, Shit,” coming from the riders and team director’s. Lance garners unequivocal attention no matter where he goes and what he does. He will instantly become a favorite for another Tour victory. And I’m not sure I believe Contador when he says he will “Welcome him back with open arms.” No one vying for a Tour victory can welcome him back with open arms. No way. So here’s a collection of quotes from people around the sport reacting to Lance’s comeback, and my translation of what they are actually saying in their own head.
Alberto Contador – “I’ve always admired him and would love to race with him. I welcome him back with open arms.”
Translation: Does Lance Armstrong know he can’t be the next Lance Armstrong cuz I am the next Lance Armstrong?
Tom Danielson – “The guy has nothing to prove. Especially in my eyes.”
Translation: I’m the king of nothing to prove. I was supposed to be the next Lance Armstrong and I have continually proved nothing. 3 years post Lance and I have yet to even attempt the Tour.
George Hincapie – “I think everyone should embrace the idea of him coming back.”
Translation: Glory days. Well, they’ll pass you by, Glory Days. In the wink of Lance’s eyes, Glory Days. Glory Days.
Mark Cavendish – “I know some of the other guys like George Hincapie are really excited about this.”
Translation: I get to meet Lance! I get to meet Lance! OMG! OMG! OMG! Ooooo…I hope he likes me.
Bob Stapleton – “Lance is going to pick and hire the team he wants…not the other way around.”
Translation: Hmmm…I can knock off Johann Bruyneel and make it look like an accident. Then Lance will HAVE to pick me…I mean, I have George Hincapie! Lance is nothing without George, right? Right?
Marc Madiot, Manager, Franciase De Jeux – “Lance Armstrong has to explain himself about what happened in 1999.”
Translation: French law requires that I question the legitimacy of Lance’s accomplishments and insinuate doping allegations every chance I get.
Jan Ullrich – “If he starts then I ought to start again, too…At the moment I can’t imagine that.”
Translation: Come back to cycling, they say. Come on, everybody’s doing it, they say…that’s exactly what Dr. Fuentes said…
Egoi Matinez – “I don’t know whether to take it seriously or if it is a joke.”
Translation: Am I on candid camera? God, I hope it’s a joke. It’s a joke, right?
Carlos Sastre – “He’s a rider who can put your hair on end just by watching him on TV.”
Translation: I’m gonna watch the Tour on TV next year…see you in 2010!
Andrew Messick, Owner, AEG Sports – “We welcome him to our race (Tour of California) along with his Astana teammates.”
Bjarne Riis – “Something must be lacking in Lance’s life for him to do this.”
Translation: I’m not qualified to comment because although I doped my way to my Tour victory I never suffered the retribution for it. Wanna see my yellow jersey?
Levi Leipheimer – “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Translation: My career is over.
Tom Boonen – “Why is everybody so impressed?”
Translation: I’m a Classics sprinter. What does this have to do with me?