Monday, June 12, 2006

AMERICAN ATHLETES IN EUROPE: MIXED RESULTS

It depends on which sport you're watching. If you watched Team USA in its match against the Czech Republic in their first game of the first round of World Cup competition earlier today, you might conclude that we are out of our league. Ouch! What an inauspicious start for the emerging Americans. It should be noted, however, that the Czechs are currently ranked second in the world. Perhaps they'll have a better shot at wins against Italy and Ghana over the next 10 days. My son, who knows a lot more about World Cup stuff than me, says that USA's group is considered the toughest first-round group in the World Cup.

If, on the other hand, you were paying attention to professional cycling, you would have noted that an American, Levi Leipheimer, won the Dauphine Libere in France on Sunday. The Dauphine is one of the major single-week warm-up races to the Tour de France. Leipheimer, a Montanan who leads the German Gerolsteiner team, has placed respectably in the Tour de France in the past. He will be a contender in the first post-Armstrong era of next month's classic. Leipheimer wasn't the only American to ride well in the Dauphine, so July in France could be more interesting for Americans than July in Germany (where the World Cup finals will be played). Follow the lead-up to the Tour de France at www.cyclingnews.com.

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