Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tour de France 2008 Stage 6: Confidence Game

Youthful exuberance takes the day again, this time with Riccardo Ricco getting his first Tour win. He could use some charm lessons from Mark Cavendish, but I think his bluster comes from a similar place, so maybe he'll learn.

Just as I was warming up to Cadel Evans, he goes and shoves a Gendarme! Cadel, Cadel, you'll need those guys later! As all the commentators said, nervous moments for him, but he's got to watch that. He was all cool customer by the end though, marking Alejandro Valverde as easy as you please. It's very early, but Evans is certainly living up to his designation as man to beat.

It's too bad for Stefan Schumacher, to lose yellow like that, but I'm happy for Kim Kirchen and Team Columbia. It's great to see them hold three jerseys, and to see Garmin-Chipotle have two in the top five with Christian Vande Velde and David Millar. It sounds like Millar may not be there for long, but they're still hanging onto the team classification, so don't go too soon David!

Christian's name begs for all kinds of cheesy wordplay, but out of respect for his awesome ride today, I vow to refrain from going down that road. It was thrilling to see Vande Velde off the front, looking strong, with even the chance of going for yellow. He was up there playing the same role as companion Leonardo Piepoli, softening the field for their guys Millar and Ricco, but his own high place in the standings gave it that extra excitement. He was sweet afterwards - yeah, I guess I do need to start looking out for myself. Yes, Christian, you can be a Top Ten rider, get used to it!

Seeing all the GC guys in a select group, going uphill, perfect appetizer for the days to come. I'll miss Mauricio Soler and his Triplets of Belleville face, but the rest of the boys should make for some good, ahem, clean fun!

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