From my own experience- I started watching Le Tour for Lance and only then realized that he was taking an american approach to the race - while those europeans embraced their tragic losers & fallen heros.
What is it that gets lost in translation? One would think sport is sport and it transcends culture. But those europeans love their scoreless ties in soccer, their Jan Ullrichs', Carlos Sastres', tragic, beautiful, futile breakaways spilling guts down the road.
Maybe it's because we are the world's only superpower, we only respect #1, the winners, the champions. It seems to be a healthier attitude to embrace the humanity in sport, the failure, the loser, the trying & not succeeding. Life is full of much more trying & failing than winning going away.
At least that's my half glass analysis (truthfully, 3.5 beer analysis) - Lil