Monday, July 23, 2007

TdF Stage 15: A Beautiful Thing

One of the more beautiful sights of this or any Tour took my breath away today. Alexandre Vinokourov, with that handsome aqua and gold jersey flapping, the sun shining down, and his compact body cruising up the Peyresourde on his way to an emotional victory for all involved. I swear, Astana should take on Kleenex as a sponsor.

Vino rode a smart race again, not going too early like some unfortunate others who were left gasping in the end. No use dwelling on it, but boy, he would've been a winner without that crash, that would've been nice to see. But we'll take what we can get, and today was a treasure. Bite my tongue, but emotionally it was similar to 17. Vino wasn't coming back to yellow, but he was coming back to himself, just as he did in the TT. He's still talking of this having been his last shot, and though I'd love to see him back, he may have a point, if the Contador years are about to begin.

Oh, how I wish tomorrow wasn't a rest day. It seems odd to say of a man who increased his lead over much of the field today, but I think Michael Rasmussen is on the ropes. Alberto Contador nearly cracked him more than once, and like Phil and Paul, I got the evil giggles in anticipation of Wednesday. On the up side, Rasmussen was not his best after the last rest day, so maybe he doesn't take them well. On the down side, rest is rest and he could take the time to recover mentally as well as physically, because I'd say he was about at his limit on both today. Plus his team, valiant as they have been, are starting to show the fatigue they must be feeling.

I think 2-5 still have a shot, and hope they have a good rest day and come out firing. Rasmussen could yet have his Stage 16 (sorry Floyd!) and not have another mountain day to make it up. And the final TT is flat, and he'll be that much more fatigued, so it could be a different story from the first. Remember, Andreas Kloden passed Cadel Evans on last year's final TT, so there could be plenty of shuffling right to the end. We may yet all breathe a sigh of relief. And yes, that is totally biased in favor of everyone else in the field, but so be it, Rasmussen doesn't give me the warm fuzzies. And we'll leave it at that on Vino's sunny day.

Cheers to Popo and George, heroic again on the day. Loved that feature on Serge Bolee, what a sweetheart for such an imposing figure! Johan has quite the man-crush on Contador, that was a cute bit, and interesting to hear that the Kid has a sound mind to match his body. Sounds like a danger man for years to come!


Phil said...

Astana should take on Kleenex as a sponsor....Classic Julie!

OK, so what is going on with the Chicken Man? According to Velonews..nothing that good...

I dunno, I just don't but today is a rest day and I kept hitting refresh on the live site wondering why the race hadn't started. Sigh. Hurry up tomorrow.

Amy B said...

I'm starting to feel sorry for the guy.....