Here in the US of A, cycling is a niche sport – along the lines of skiing, tennis, soccer, etc. Regardless of it’s lack of mainstream popularity, these sports will always have devoted followers no matter what.
That being what it is, it’s always great to get a little mainstream sport love for cycling. Case in point at ESPN.com: Jim Caple’s Must-See’s for the 2009 sporting calendar. In the article he lists the Giro D’Italia as the must-see event for May. I have a feeling that since Lance is including it on his racing calendar for the first time, it just might get more press than it normally would. That’s a good thing; the Giro is a beautiful race. I’ve only been following it for the last 4 years or so and it always lives up to it’s billing.
The Tour will always be the #1 event; it’s impossible to ignore, but I will always have a special place in my cycling heart for the Corsa Rosa. I know the Pez loves it above all else. I’m sure there are others also outside of Italy who feel the same way.
This time of year, I’m looking forward to the Tour of California – a great race in it’s own right. However, in all actuality it is one of many precursors to the Grand Tour season. The Giro starts it off in May, but it is truly a grand départ for the high season of racing.