Out of 176 riders, only 5 Americans were on the starting line of the Tour de France this year. The U.K., Poland, and Denmark each had as many riders. By comparison, Belgium had 19 riders and France 35.
The United States never really recovered from the Lance Armstrong scandal, writes New York Times reporter Ian Austen. On the Tour, his name is as unspoken “as Lord Voldemort’s is within the world of Harry Potter.”
Suspended for doping and stripped of his 7 consecutive victories, Armstrong eclipsed the triumph of Greg LeMond. The latter defeated race favorite and French hero Bernard Hinault and became the first American to win the Tour de France in 1986.
There are now fewer American riders on the Tour and, as a result, fewer fans. “During the peak years of American dominance, American flags could be seen all along the race route,” writes the New York Times. “Only four were visible in the three stages leading up to Monday’s rest day — plus one Confederate flag.”
Read more at The New York Times