A ferocious pull by Brian Charles Lara at the Lords - a masterful diving volley at the net by Boris Becker in Centre Court at Wimbledon - A chip over the bunker by Tiger Woods at the 16th at Augusta - a dizzying spell of potting by Ronnie O' Sullivan at the Crucible - a masterfully taken penalty by Helder Postiga to kick England out of Euro2004.
If there is no ball involved, it ain't sport. Sports does not get more exciting than this.
Or so I thought till it happened. You could pardon me for believing so for I had still not seen the greatest spectacle of them all. Yes, I am talking of the TOUR DE FRANCE. The 2004 edition started off on a sleepy Saturday evening, July 3rd, from Liege and 23 grueling days and 3400 kms later, the event had a champion and I had a new hero. LANCE ARMSTRONG. I've seen Sampras dominate tennis, Schumi rule F1 and the Aussies demolish opponents in cricket but believe me, (this is no understatement) Lance Armstrong was much, much better than all of them put together.
Spread over 20 stages, the Tour De France covers 11 flat stages, 6 mountain stages and then the cyclists compete in 2 individual time-trial stages and 1 team time-trial stage. Its a true test of man's skill, strength and stamina. With just two rest days and 7 stop-over towns in between, the Tour De France is one of the most rigorous events in the sporting calendar. For every evening from that Saturday, I have been glued to Ten Sports watching as the race wound its way from Liege to Charleroi and then to Waterloo, through Chartres and Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat and then the mountain climbs from Limoges and Castelsarassin before touching Valréas, entering Annemasse before culminating in the beautiful Champs-Élysées in Paris. Breath-taking mountains, hidden valleys, rocky climbs, the serene Seine...The last 23 days have simply been magical as I toured France with that amazing man Armstrong.
For the entire photo gallery, please check here.