Monday, July 27, 2009

Vive le Tour!

Wow was this one of the best tours ever, or what?!

Ok, so my team didn't get on the podium, but they were really close! And yeah I'm no big fan of Contador, Astana or Lance, but there was really some great riding that put the two of them on the podium.

For me this tour had more excitement than any of them I've watched, even if it was almost locked in by Contador a week ago, there was drama in every stage. I know a lot of people mumbled about UCI changing the format, but watching the boys hammer up Ventoux on the last Saturday of le Tour was AWESOME!

And yeah, to quote Wiggins, bollocks to all of you who wanted to whine that Hincapie "deserved" the yellow. Hey, I like big George as much as the next person, and his perseverence after busting his shoulder last week is awe inspiring, but the only way he deserved yellow was to ride 6 seconds faster. He didn't, oh well, move on. Watch the replays of each sprint finish and count how many time an HTC rider blocked Tyler Farrar or Julien Dean in the last 50 meters of the sprint and then come whine to me about Garmin's despicability. In the end, Brad Wiggins beat out Frank Schleck for 4th by 4 seconds, so it was a wise strategic decision for the Garmin team. And yeah, it was nice to see them thumb their noses at Columbia for a change, anyone who pays attention certainly knows they've been on the receiving end of Columbia's crap for some time. Ok, off the soapbox...

And were those Schleck boys amazing or what? Andy is a climbing machine, and my second choice to Garmin getting Wiggo on the podium would have been to see those guys finish 2-3, that would have been tres coolio.

And who'd have thunk you'd see two US Teams duking it out for the win of the final stage in Paris? Sure both of their sprinters are Brits, but that's beside the point, these are US based and sponsored teams, in only their second TdF, and they both have established themselves as solid teams, it's going to be fun watching Farrar kick Cavendish's butt next year!

Ok, yeah, some pundits say this wasn't one that will go down in the anals as a "classic" and they're probably right, but I think it marked the beginning of a new era of classics, as we saw Wiggins grow into a real contender, and saw the increased prominence of other youngsters like Nicolas Roche and Brice Feillu.

Sadly it's the last of the Grand Tours, and as such a lot of folks forget about cycling until next year, but there are a lot of one day races here in Europe and I'm hoping to get out for some of those. The only downer is I'll miss the Tour of Missouri, riding in the Mavic car last year was a blast!

And next year, who knows where anyone will be? Team Radio Shack will certainly grab up some of the "popular" US riders, Levi, George, but where will Alberto wind up since Vino is coming back to Astana? As for me, I hope to be in Rotterdam on Jul3 and Jul4 for Le Grand D├ępart!

It's a great time to be a cycling fan!

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