Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tour de France Alps Recap

EDIT: Here's a video of the incident with the dog that I mentioned. And here are two more crash videos (the 2nd is from this year) Video 1 Video 2

Well the Tour de France had its final stage in the Alps today. It has been exciting. I woke up at 5:00 this morning to watch the coverage (which actually didn’t start until 5:30, but I was up and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to fall back asleep). After the half hour pre-race show they cut to the live action just in time to see a t-mobile rider run into a dog who had wandered onto the road. He tried to avoid it (obviously) but there were bikers to either side of him, so he ended up broad siding the poor dog. He hit it hard enough that the rim of his front tire crumpled. I expected the dog to be hurt pretty bad, but it got up (a lot quicker than the rider did) and just kind of wandered off, not appearing to suffer any discomfort, which is hard to believe, but perhaps the crumpling wheel absorbed most of the impact. I’ll have to see if I can track down the video and post it later (for my sister).

I’ve really been impressed with the younger riders on this tour; particularly Alberto Contador, who rides for Discovery. I’m starting to dare to hope that we’re seeing the dawn of a new drug-free (or at least accusation free) era. To give you an example of what’s impressed me. Contador was with the lead group on today’s stage, with all of the GC hopefuls and he put in a gigantic attack in the last 5K of the Galibier, and dropped everybody (Cadel Evans caught him briefly before being dropped again) we’re taking Rasmussen, Valverde, Mayo, Kloden and more. Now you may be thinking that he’s one of these pure climbers that will get slaughtered in Saturdays ITT, but he came in 15th in the prologue, which is nothing to sneeze at. So, as of now, he’s officially the person that would make me the happiest if he won it all. That’s not a prediction, that’s just what I would like to see. My prediction is going to be far more cautious: the eventual winner of this year’s tour is going to be one of the people currently sitting between 2nd and 9th place. And given that there’s only a 1:18 between all of them this could be very exciting.

To continue with the theme of the young riders, of the three alpine stages two were won by cyclists eligible to compete for the white jersey (best young rider). The first was won by Linus Gerdemann and today’s was won by Mauricio Soler. Neither are considered contenders for the overall victory (unlike Contador) but the fact that they could hold off the everyone else is still hugely impressive. Linus’ has a particularly funny story, he was coming to the top of the final mountain and he knew if he could get over it ahead of everyone else that he had a good chance to not only take the stage, but the yellow jersey as well. He had passed the 1 km to go banner, and was desperately looking for the 500 meter banner, not realizing that at the Tour de France (unlike other races apparently) they don’t have a 500 meter banner. Obviously it was a big relief once he hit the summit since up until then he thought he was going twice as slow as he actually was.

The summit is always farther away then you think


Blogger Denise said...

I don't know how he could have missed seeing the dog. Those were great videos. Thanks for taking the time to look them up.

4:44 PM  

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