Disclaimer of laziness
I’ve been writing this post very slowly. Unfortunately the Tour doesn’t stop for my inability to finish a task. So this covers several days in a non-coherent, semi-babbling style. Enjoy.
Life before sport
I won’t lie, I got caught up in Stage 14 race drama like everyone else, but you have to step back and realize that none of that compares to the tragedy that transpired on the road. It’s hard to wrap your head around someone losing their life at an event like the Tour de France but it happened. It can definitely put things into perspective quickly.
The race starts. Again.
After the first week of racing and drama, the middle stretch was borderline dismal. Hooray for Cavendish. Hooray for Hushovd. Boo to the race organizers that decided that several flat stages and two mountain stages with downhill finishes were a good idea. It seemed like the race was on auto-pilot.
The 5-second rule
I tried approaching this section of the post from an objective, non-judgmental point of view. But who the **** wants any more of that? For me though, there ARE gifts in the Tour. For someone of George’s stature and tenure, a yellow flavored jersey certainly was in order.
From what I remember, Astana let the gap go every time. When Ag2r finally got their act together and started pulling the break back, they still weren’t able to close it to the point George would lose it. With a very short distance to go it looked good for Hincapie. The we saw Garmin on the front. This is were all the interpretations come into play.
Luckily the stage is over and the Tour rolled on. Unfortunately it looks like some friendships were severely damaged in the process. We’ll see how this turns out.
Two days of some old, nasty LA
Yesterday (Stage 16) and today (Stage 17) the peloton was served some nasty, crusty Lance Armstrong that he himself pulled out from the back of the fridge. Both times were from positions of tactical defensive riding in the name of the team. And both times were savage accelerations that had us all Tweeting “LAAAAAANCE!!!” as fast as our fingers could produce the message.
Today’s drama was the idiotic “attack” that the wunderkind Contador attempted. The acceleration dropped Klodi, distanced Armstrong even more, and jeopardized Astana’s possibility of having a 3-way with the podium. There were some Tweets quoting news sources that said that Contador doesn’t give a **** who comes in second or third and I completely agree. With the way that the Astana team wants Bruyneel out of the way and wants to form another team around Vino and Conty it’s possible that AC is already in that mindframe. Seems like some bad people to make enemies of. You enjoy your time in the bunch next year Contador…
Oh, and the Schleck brothers put everyone in the hurt basket including Contador. Guess that’s important to say. But you’re not here for the news though. So what would make this more interesting? That’s RIGHT! Phil Ligget said that Contador was in the middle of a Luxembourg sandwich! Brilliant.
Which brings us to the next step of that last paragraph. Now that the Johan Bruyneel For Make Benefit Glorious Astana Cycling Team will no longer be directed by its namesake, JB has confirmed that he Lance, Levi, and “the redneck” Chris Horner will form like a spandex-clad Voltron. Or they’ll just wear spandex with some new sponsors on it and tear the arse outta the Tour next year.
Of course none of this is 100% confirmed, but we at least know that there will be a team, Lance is on it, and Lance will not ride for anyone other than Johan. We find out tomorrow who the sugar-daddy is. Hopefully someone with a decent color scheme…
UPDATE: As of 11:30 EST (7/22) it looks as though we might be cheering Team Radio Shack. Radio Shack? At least they changed their logo sorta recently. The circle ‘R’ isn’t half bad. Might look good on a jersey. White with red/black accents. Hmmmm…
What will we see in tomorrow’s TT on Stage 18? Hopefully a less-than-stellar Frank Schleck dropping big chunks of tarmac-time to Lone Star and relinquishing his shaky hold on the 3 step of the podium. That is a distinct possibility. A harder trail to follow would be an Über on-form Armstrong driving a Trek brand time-seeking missile right up the über-skinny backside of Andy Schleck reclaiming his second spot on the GC. I don’t see that happening, but stranger things have happened – and they’ve happened to(for) Lance.
We can all hope that Contador pulls a Rasmussen during the final TT. Oh wait, not THAT Rasumussen – heheh. I’m talking about the one who couldn’t stay on his TT rig on the second to last day of the Tour. You thought I was talking about the doping Rasmussen. Contador? Never…
We’ll see tomorrow!
Images courtesy of Cyclingnews.com, AFP, and Roberto Bettini. Please don’t tell them.