Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Alps

Well the Tour is in the alps. Today and tomorrow's stage are brutal. Today isn't quite a mountain top finish but it might as well be. The final mountain tops out at 2802 meters (9193 feet) before a 23.5 kilometer (14.6 miles) descent to the finish. Yeah you can make up some time on the descent if you were behind at the summit, but not a lot. And then tomorrow the Tour goes over the Galibier, Croix de Fer before ending on top of Alpe d'Huez. So three hors category climbs, I fully expect that we still won't know who's going to win after today and tomorrow's stage. But anyone who shows any weakness is definitely going to be out.

Of course many people reading this entry are going to say "Who cares? They're all gigantic drug users anyway." And certainly having Beltran, Ricco and the Barloworld rider all get kicked out for drugs has not helped that image, but let's set that aside for the moment. Ed sent me a link to an interesting article from the BBC, talking about concerns about doping at the Olympics. What I found interesting is that the expert they cited for their assertion that positives were being ignored was the director of the Astana team's anti-doping program. Remember? The team that the Tour Organizers decided was too tainted by drug use in the past. I'm not sure if that rises quite to the level of full on irony, but it is weird.

Of course for me personally the biggest problem with the Tour is not the doping, it's the fact that it starts so early, particularly on mountain stages. Today's coverage started at 4:30 am. I didn't quite wake up that early (and yes I know I'm under no obligation to watch the tour at all) but knowing that it's on, it's hard not to want to be up watching it, so I was up about 5:15. As a result of this and previous days my sleep schedule is not quite as tight as I would like, though I am following the "take a nap every day" part of the plan.

Uh, no, you got the wrong number. This is 9-1…2.


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