I think we live in Bizzaro World. The cycling pro race circuit is rocked with doping scandals and the most popular man in the sport has retired, yet pro cycling is more popular in the U.S. than ever before.
According to this article by Sal Ruibal in the USA Today, a record 60,000 U.S. race licenses were obtained last year and 1.3 million people will line the streets to watch the Tour of California (ToC) this week.
In fact The Tour (as opposed to Le Tour) is so popular that it may one day be on par with the grand tours in France, Spain, and Italy. At least if Phillip Anschutz (owner of the ToC) gets his way.
Guess what? Anschutz is the man responsible for bringing David Beckham across the pond to join Major League Soccer. This gives me great hope to learn this as I have been quite impressed with the MLS's strategic plan for growth. It's no wonder the Tour of California has been so successful with a guy like this that knows that you have to make an investment early if you want something to last.
That not withstanding, Anschutz is not solely responsible for cycling's renaissance in the U.S. But, I can't say I know what is. Could it be that it's just that Americans have a warped appetite for negative news and bad news is better than no news? Help me out here.