Bob Roll: Lance will win

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Bicycle racing commentator Bob Roll predicts Lance Armstrong will win an unprecedented seventh Tour de France this summer.

“I think he will win,” Roll told the crowd at a bicycle show in Seattle I attended on Saturday. “If he's ready and willing to do it, he'll kill everybody in the Tour. When he's ready, we've seen what kind of damage he can do.”

Although perennial challenger Jan Ullrich of Germany is preparing for this year's Tour, Roll says that Italy's Ivan Basso has the best chance of beating Lance this year, but he says those chances are slim. “He's (Basso) too nice.”

Riding for Team CSC, 28-year-old Basso finished 3rd in 2004, 7th in 2003 and 11th in 2002.

A member of the triumvirate (with Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen) that calls the Tour de France and other major cycling races for the Outdoor Life Network, Roll himself was among the first US pro racers in Europe. He cycled with Motorola, 7-Eleven, and Z in four Tours de France and seven Paris-Roubaix.

Roll said his reaction to news that Lance would ride the Tour again was “Hallelujah! I've extended my life in cycling for at least another four or five months. Compared to my teammates, that's outstanding.”

Lance's new team, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, announced Wednesday that Armstrong would compete in the Tour de France and the Tour de Georgia, as well as other races.

Always the comic, on air and off, Roll kept us laughing as he pranced around the stage telling stories and screaming into the microphone. He repeated stories about being stopped by police in Georgia during a nature break and watching cyclists try to get photos of themselves while riding with Lance in the Ride for the Roses.

“Tour DAY France”

He also explained his continuing mispronounciation of Tour DAY France.

“I have my reasons. It's to get back at the French for being so cruel when we used to race back there,” he said. When he and his parched teammates would stop at a restaurant and ask for water, the waiters always acted like they couldn't understand what they were asking for and didn't serve them. “We decided to get back at the French by massacring their language every chance we'd get.”

Roll says he plans to continue savaging the language when racing begins in a few weeks. OLN's current schedule for pro cycling coverage can be download here

Roll spoke Saturday at the Group Health Seattle International Bicycle Expo, which features about 150 exhibitors. The Cascade Bicycle Club event continues Sunday. Follow this link for more information.

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