For international sports fans (at least those who enjoy watching soccer and cycling), it's going to be a great weekend. The quarterfinals of the World Cup got off to a great start today, with the Netherlands beating Brazil. The Dutch are the best footballing nation never to have won the World Cup, and it's great to see them making a real run at it this year. Tomorrow, Germany v. Argentina could be epic. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if Paraguay upset Spain in Saturday's later game.
Also tomorrow, the Tour de France starts in Rotterdam (making this a truly memorable weekend for the Dutch). The race for the general classification looks wide open this year. The defending Champion, Alberto Contador, has not been on his best form in the lead up to the race, although he could definitely ride himself into form during the 3 weeks of the Tour. Other contenders include last year's runner-up Andy Schleck and Lance Armstrong, who has announced that this will be his last TdF. Armstrong clearly is not the rider he once was, but he has a very strong team, which could help carry him to another podium finish. The other "usual suspects" include Cadel Evans, Brad Wiggins, and Carlos Sastre. But I don't give any of them much of a chance. I'm more excited about some younger challengers, including Roman Kreutzinger of Team Liquigas and Edvald Boassan-Hagen of HTC-Columbia. Here's the route map for this year's Tour:
Locally this weekend, the Wilkes/Raynor group is planning to ride 150 miles this weekend.