Announces Immediate Intention to Turn Venerable European Racing Institution into US-Friendly Reality Show
Paris, July 1 (Fat Cyclist News Service) – In a stunning announcement on the eve of the world’s most popular sporting event, Donald Trump has revealed that he has purchased all rights to the Tour de France.
With his usual flair for the dramatic, the Donald declared his immediate intention to overhaul the tradition-rich race.
Speaking from the Trump Building in NYC, Trump proclaimed in a media conference, "The French have had their turn. They’ve tried to make something of this race, but I just don’t think they see the possibilities. The Donald is ready to step The Tour up a notch. I will guarantee you that by the end of Season One, this will be the number-one-rated show on television. And by "number one" I don’t just mean in little one-horse countries like Belgium. The Tour will be popular in places that matter. Namely, in America."
"I don’t think I’m being overdramatic when I say that this is going to be the hugest reality show in the history of television. With the exception of The Apprentice, naturally," said Trump.
Big Changes to a Big Race
Donald Trump may be the only man in the world capable of turning a century-old race on its head overnight. While cycling enthusiasts across Europe appeared outraged, they were unfortunately outraged in dozens of quaint-sounding languages, reducing their concerns to amusing-anecdote level.
Trump, meanwhile, seems confident. "If you’re the world’s best surgeon and you come across a patient dying because the local quack has been using leeches on him, do you keep using leeches? Darn right you don’t."
Among the changes in the three-week race — which begins tomorrow — some of the most significant are:
Last Man Standing: Of course, the most important objective of the Tour de France has always been to finish with the shortest accumulated time. "That’s an incredibly pedestrian — not to mention outdated — way of doing a race, kids," says Trump. In this season’s Race, the objective will be to be the only one to finish the race." Racers will be eliminated each day using the following methods:
Last across the line is out: Between every 10 and 20 miles — the exact distance and location will not be made known to the riders, so they will not know where it is until they see it – a black line will be discreetly drawn across the road. The last racer across the line is immediately ejected from the race, in a highly visual manner. The manner will vary, ranging from the rider being shot with 10 paintballs simultaneously to having a helicopter slurry bomb the racer with black paint to having several burly ment tackle the racer from the side of the road.
Grudge Match: Between traditional stages, any racer can challenge any other racer to a "Grudge Match" — a 5-mile bicycle course with multiple hazards (tire fires, broken glass, Michael Jackson) strewn along the way. The loser is out of the race. (To keep things fari, no racer is allowed to initiate more than three Grudge Matches, and no racer is required to accept any more than three).
"You’re Retired:" Borrowed from his trademark "You’re Fired" line in "The Apprentice," The Donald will tell any racer he was not impressed with for some reason or another (too much drafting, irregular sprint, tacky outfit), "You’re retired." That cyclist is out of the race. The Donald’s decision is not subject to appeal.
Gear Restrictions Lifted: Tour de France riders have long been hobbled by stringent gear rules — the type of bike, handlebars, clothing, helmets have all been tightly regulated. No more. "I can’t think of a more effective way to limit innovation than all these rules," says Trump. "From now on, ride what you want. Just make sure it’s human-powered, all right? Or if it’s got an engine, I’d better not be able to see it."
Yellow Jersey replaced with Red, White, and Blue Jersey: "Yellow is the color of cowardice," said Trump. "Let’s have the winner’s jersey use some colors that Americans can identify with." When told that the French flag uses the same colors, Trump responded, "Whatever."
Name Change: "The Tour de France? What kind of name is that?" asked Mr. Trump at the media conference. It’s long, it’s dry, and it has no urgency or tension. In fact, it sounds like a stroll in the park. It’s like, ‘Honey, I’m in a mood for a European jaunt. Let’s take a tour de France,’" said Trump in a derisive tone. "From now on, this is ‘The Race.’ It’s short, it’s to the point, and it’s got pop. It’s not just a race. It’s THE RACE."
Drug Rules Changed to Drug Guidelines: "Listen, I’m not pro-drug," said Trump, "but these racers are all adults, and I’m not going to be the one to tell them what they can and cannot eat or drink. Just stay away from the hard stuff." When asked what constitutes "hard stuff," Trump replied, "I dunno. Crack?"
The Randomizer Roulette: At the end of each stage, each surviving racer will spin a roulette will, which will, depending on where the wheel stops, improve his standings, give him a bottle of EPO for use in the next stage, require him to wear a 1980’s-style helmet, add 10 pounds to his bike, give him the day off, or eject him from the race entirely.
Downhill MTB Event: Noting that several stages in a traditional Tour de France are straight, flat, and do little to change racer standings, Trump is replacing all flat stages with downhill MTB stages. "Sure, these guys can ride fast on the road, but let’s see what happens when they’re taken out of their comfort zone," said Trump.
Tyler Hamilton Back in the Race. Tyler Hamilton will be allowed to race in The Race, although he will be forced to ride the entire race as a solo time trial. "Did you see that kid do that solo breakaway with a compound-fracture busted leg a couple of years ago?" asked Trump, evidently meaning Hamilton’s hairline collarbone fracture. "That took guts. Let’s see if he can do that for three weeks." Oddsmakers place Hamilton’s chances at 0.00001%, unless he wins the EPO roulette, at which point his odds go to 40%.
Human Interest via Heartfelt Accusations and Confessionals: Between stages, racers will be encouraged to make disparaging remarks about each other, as well as confess — weepily — their doubts about whether they will be able to even finish the race. "Who’re you going to root for, a robot or someone you’re emotionally invested in?" asked Trump. "By the time that one guy crosses the finish line, you’re going to know him like your own brother."
The Riders React
Participants in "The Race" have had mixed reactions to this sudden and dramatic shift in the objective and tactics sprung on them by The Donald. Several European racers said several things very effusively, but Trump refused to have them translated. "These guys are not the stars. I’d be very surprised if one of them won," said Trump with a wink. "Not that I’m rigging The Race. It’s strictly above-board."
Approached for comment, six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong said, "Well, this is a little unusual. But it sounds like fun. Frankly, I was starting to lose interest in the way the race use to be run, so this should make a good change."
Floyd Landis, leader of team Phonak, seemed less certain. "I can’t believe they made me shave off my goatee," he said. "This makeup artist said it just ‘doesn’t work.’ I don’t get it."
Levi Leipheimer was not available for comment; his publicist said he was being fitted with a hairpiece, to make him more appealing to the highly-sought-after pre-teen demographic.
Check Your Local Listings
"The Race" premiers tomorrow on NBC at 7:00 PM. OLN, which previously had the rights to broadcast the Tour de France in the US, will play non-stop rodeo in its place.
Today’s Weight: 172.0.