Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Future Is Now

courtesy AFP

The first true mountain stage of the Tour de France, and the first real revelations of the race. Young Alejandro Valverde of Spain not only hung with Lance Armstrong on the final climb to Courchevel, but he out-sprinted The Boss to win the stage in amazing fashion, far ahead of the other "favorites" for the overall win.

Ivan Basso finished a respectable 1:02 down, but arguably out of contention as long as Armstrong holds his current form. Jan Ullrich, Andreas Kloden and especially Vinokourov (all of T-Mobile) were dropped hard on the final climb, and can now all kiss their chances goodbye. Assuming all current trends hold until the end, of course.

Michael "Chicken" Rasmussen again proved formidable, finishing third and essentially clinching his claim to the polka-dot jersey of the King of The Mountains. Despite looking thinner than Nicole Richie, Rasmussen has some serious power in his skinny legs.

The hard mountain stages in the Alps continue tomorrow, with climbs of the Madeleine, the Telegraphe and the Galibier all facing the riders---many of whom will be quite demoralized after today's spanking by Discovery Channel.

Hopefully I won't have to watch the Tour tomorrow while riding the trainer for two and a half hours like I did today, thanks to The Storm Formerly Known As Hurricane Dennis sitting right on top of the Ohio River Valley. I don't call the trainer the "hamster wheel" for no reason...it sucks riding in place!