Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tour de France 2008 Stage 18: Back In The Saddle

Happy days are here again for Team Columbia! Marcus Burghardt gave Columbia their fifth stage win and no doubt lifted morale after yesterday's crashfest. George Hincapie's crash was quite serious, as he described it on VeloNewsTV, he thought at first he might not even be able to continue. It was very sad to see him all bandaged and seeping this morning. He's very high on the list of Tours completed, he'll make it through this one if at all possible.

An even sadder sight was Damiano Cunego, in a horrible crash early on. He struggled through the entire stage, arriving some twenty minutes after the winner. He hoped to be able to continue, and wanted to ensure his loyal teammates, by his side, made the time cut. His injuries proved too serious, though, and he will apparently not be able to take the start tomorrow. Each individual case is unique, and we can't know just what was going on with each person, but there have been a few GC contenders who dropped out at the first sign of their Tour not going as planned. Cunego, who planned his whole year on the Tour, has had many days of disappointment as it became clear his Tour was not going to be a success. But to his credit he never gave up, even today with deep cuts and a chest injury. It will be interesting to see if he goes back to the Giro next year, or redoubles his efforts and takes another crack at the Tour. In any case, best wishes for a speedy recovery. On a day we went by an Andre Kivilev memorial, I'm thankful Cunego's injuries were not more serious.

Frankie Andreu back in the Versus booth, woohoo! I'm glad they finally came to their senses, on that front at least. Frankie was talking a mile a minute, making up for lost time, but his comments were spot-on and had me laughing with delight. Great to have him back, hope it continues.

Andy Schleck protecting his white jersey towards the finish was a lot of fun. Frank described him as a puppy dog the other day, and that's exactly what he is. You could practically see his tail wagging on d'Huez yesterday, as he jumped around the GC group with the greatest of ease, just about riding circles around them. Johan was seriously crushin' on Andy, giggling at the talent he was seeing before his eyes. Hands off, buddy, you can't have this one! Frank says Andy needs to get away from the apron strings and toughen up, but it was Andy who had the wise perspective yesterday, describing on VeloNewsTV how he was urging Frank to enjoy the moment, right there in the middle of the climb. I haven't had this much fun watching brothers work together since Dean and Scott Winters were tearing it up on HBO's Oz.

1 comment:

Nikki said...

I was thinking of you tonight as I was smiling listening to Frankie! Glad he's back. Not sure why exactly but I love him discussing the races! And he's cheering for C big time! Yeah!