Velogal's Blog

Friday, December 23, 2005

I took this pic while the Discovery Team guys were warming up for Stage 19 of the 2005 Tour de France. You get a good look at George wearing his Oakley Thumpers to rock out while he warms up. I think this side-by-side, on the bikes image is symbolic of the seven Tours that George and Lance rode together. No matter what their individual choices were, they always rode to the same music, the same rhythm, and with the same winning goals.

One of my fav blog readers asked me to talk a bit about George and Lance: I’ve been around these guys so much. When guys ride and train and suffer together on a bike for year after year, they develop a bond, a trust, and a knowingness about each other that is almost symbiotic. Eki is also like that with Lance. Totally in sync and able to read each other’s mind and body language. A look says it all, and the plan is in place.

Total dedication and devotion to their team and their leader, based on respect. Respect that Lance earned from them with hard work and suffering: respect and dedication that can never be bought at any price. This is the respect between Lance and George. We’ve all read and seen so much about Lance, but the spotlight hasn’t been on George that much. I’m hoping that 2006 will be the Year of George....

George is one of the sweetest (yeah, I know, you don’t call guys sweet, but he is) and nicest men that I know. He is kind and gentle, with not an ounce of arrogance or narcissism in him. Quiet and soft-spoken, with a great sense of humor and quick smile. He is really a devoted family man and adores his little daughter, Julia Paris, and his wife Melanie. George and Lance are like brothers - Melanie and Sheryl are very close - Baby Julia calls them Uncle Lance and Aunt Sheryl.

I’ve written in my blog before about how I have a kind of tiny special place with George, because I photographed George and Melanie’s first kiss, and didn’t sensationalize it or sell it. I’ve never made the images public at all... I sent the series of shots to George for their private memory album.

I have so much respect and admiration for George - he never stops earning his place on the Discovery Team...


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