Friday, July 14, 2006

A nice way to start the day

For those of you who don't have any interest in the Tour de France, or more particularly me discussing the Tour, you should probably just come back on the 24th (or possibly the 25th) because from now until then that's probably all I'm going to talk about. After waking up at 4:30 yesterday to watch the start of the mountain stage I was thinking that I should sleep in this morning, of course I forgot about my watch alarm, which went off at 6:25 I could have gone back to sleep, but I decided to get up, and it was a good thing I did, because my man Popovych was in a four man break.

Initially everyone seemed to think that with a 70 km flat run up to the finish that there was no way the break would stay away (and even I didn't dare to hope that he'd take the stage, I was just hoping he'd jump up a little bit on GC), particularly since in addition to Popovych who still has to be considered a danger on GC, Oscar Freire was in the break and he's a green jersey threat. So all kinds of teams had ample reason to help out. But I guess everyone (except Popovych) was too tired from yesterday to put up much of a chase. To me this hints at some possible Phonak weakness, I don't think that Armstrong and Discovery would have let something like that go.

Of course the most exciting part of the stage was to see how strong Popovych is. When I was watching he seemed to be doing most of the work in the break, and then he still had the legs to ride the rest of the break off his back tire in the final two kilometers and go for the solo stage win. I have to theories about this. First he could just be one of those people who get stronger as the tour progresses. Second Armstrong is coming. Now I saw an interview with Popovych and it's obvious that he's in awe of Armstrong. I would describe his reaction as they asked him about Armstrong as giddiness. Plus I can't help but think that having Armstrong come will help the Discovery team in general. I've already made the prediction that Popovych will do well this tour, but I'll make the further prediction that he'll do well in the Alps, certainly better than he did in the Pyrenees.

Of course it's not like the peleton didn't give chase, from what I heard the stage went a lot faster than anyone predicted. I don't have the final speed, but the commentators on OLN and Velo both mentioned that it was well ahead of schedule. Just more proof that it's way to early to count my man out of the race (not that I'm suggesting that he's going to win, just that I think he'll climb a few more places yet on GC.)

Popovych for the win!


Anonymous sti said...

". . . certainly better than he did in the Pyrenees." Since he actually won half of the mountain stages in the Pyrenees, how can you be so certain that he will do better in the Alps?

3:35 PM  
Blogger Ross said...

Huh? Yesterday and the day before were the Pyrenean stages. Today was a transition stage, it's true they had a cat 2, but that was over in the first 27 km, after that it was a a couple of little cat 4's... Not like Wednesday and Thursday which had an HC and a cat one and an HC and 4 cat 1's respectively.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous rob said...

I love the honest suggestion to your non-Tour de Francing readers. I'm afraid to admit to my readers that my obsessions are there to stay.

3:47 PM  

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