Saturday, July 21, 2007

TdF Stage 12: Blowin' In The Wind

Welcome to the yellow jersey, Michael. I bet Rasmussen wished he had some lieutenants to break the wind for him in the press scrum on Friday. The administrative issues appeared to be another tacky salvo in the war between ASO and the UCI, though the UCI is denying this vigorously. The cow blood allegations reported at VeloNews would appear to have no UCI connection, but it's annoying how it works out for them just the same. Which isn't to take ASO's side, I don't know what all those issues are, but either way, it ends up hurting the sport. As I made excessively clear at Marty's, I'm square on the side of cycling.

We'll have to see where the cow blood story goes, but after Christian Vande Velde's strong comments about Sinkewitz, I have to wonder about Rasmussen's safety in the peloton. If not his actual physical safety, then just about those little things that the peloton does to leave a rider swinging in the wind. This case is different, it's five years ago, and so far just a random allegation. But the riders can't be happy to have another big cloud over the race.

A pretty standard stage on the day, in terms of results, but the infantry was working hard in the wind again, protecting their captains. All the top teams were in good form, rallying around their guys, it must've been tiring, especially after doing the same the day before. Kudos to Cadel Evans for giving the guys a shout out at CyclingNews.

Gotta love that most of the jerseys are still in play, with a close top three in both the sprinter's and mountains jerseys. The polka dots may soon get out of reach in the Pyrenees, but Popo and Soler were still fighting on Friday. And it was 1-2-3 across the finish for the sprinters.

Nice handshake by the breakaway partners at the end. I have a little checklist in my head for each Tour, those little things I want to see at least once during the three weeks. Breakaway handshakes, newspapers up the jerseys on the descents, shenanigans in the peloton on a slow day, loyal teamwork - like Axel Merckx coming to life when Floyd came up to him last year, on L'Alpe d'Huez I think, giving his water bottle and his all as long as he could.

This Tour route has caused a lot of poker, but it is exciting, to have it all come down to the last week. I just hope the TT on Saturday isn't diminished by the mountain stage to follow. Should be a nail biter, though, looking forward to it!

1 comment:

Camille said...

And a nailbiter it WAS!!! I know you don't like to make winner predictions, Julie, but can you say who you'd really LIKE to see win?

I love the things you look forward to, and several of them are sort of symbolic of the beauty of the racing -- loyalty, teamwork, grit, selflessness, joie de vivre -- those things are what have kept me interested too, not the aspects that I can only label as ugly and low-lifely.

I look forward to your TT write-up:) I know, no rest for the weary, huh? :)