If you know the names of the early favorites for the 103rd edition of the Tour de France, odds are you spend each July listening to the dry humor of NBCSN commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.
American cycling has a dearth of contenders for the grandest of the grand tours. In some ways, the sport is looking for its next iconic rider, the hero who can expunge the sins of Lance Armstrong and to a lesser degree Floyd Landis. America’s best hope at the Tour lies with 27-year old Tejay Van Garderen. He abandoned last year’s race due to an illness but enters 2016 as a contender.
The best hope for a breath of fresh air lies with 25-year-old Taylor Phinney. He will skip Tour de France in favor of Rio, which may help the sport’s cause since U.S. audiences are more tuned-in to the Olympics than the Tour.
American cycling needs a hero with big wins and a big personality. That, however, is proving to be a difficult combination to find.