Sunday, July 24, 2005

What A Surprise!!

Well, he did it. The Boss finished off his seventh straight Tour de France victory and promptly retired as promised.

I'd love to say his victory came as a complete and total surprise for everyone, but who am I kidding? Even though he's 34, he can still time trial and climb as well or better than anyone else in the world, so what do you expect?

The downside of his retirement, poetic as it may be, is that we'll probably never again get to watch every stage of the Tour on cable TV in the US. Without Lance to stroke off, what would be the point? Al Trautwig would have nothing to speak ignorantly about!

The good news is, riders like Ivan Basso, Tom Boonen, Tom Danielson, Damiano Cunego and Alejandro Valverde will keep us entertained for many years to come. I'm especially excited about next year's Tour---even if I don't get to see it on TV. The brightest young talents should all be accounted for when the race starts next July.

Also of note is the bright future ahead of Alexandre Vinokourov, one of the most exciting riders to watch in all of professional cycling. Case in point, today he skipped ahead of the sprinters and claimed victory on the Champs-Elysees. Bravo Vino!!

all photos courtesy AFP

The final Top 10:
1 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel 86.15.02
2 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 4.40
3 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 6.21
4 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 9.59
5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 11.01
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 11.21
7 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 11.33
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 11.55
9 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems 12.44
10 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 16.04

Particularly impressive were the rides by Mancebo and Leipheimer---especially Leipheimer. He continues to improve every year. Now, if he can keep the trend going even as he gets older, he could be on the podium as early as 2006. If that happens, OLN might decide to cover the race again. Yeah right. I mean, with all the squirrel hunting and rodeo events going on, when will they find the time?