• Tour drama, getting better and better

    by  • July 10, 2008 • too random • 11 Comments

    If you’re in need of spoiler alerts … too bad.

    cobrakai.jpgSo today Ricardo Ricco … the self-aggrandized COBRA of the peloton … took the first mountain top finish at this year’s Tour. The approach to Super-Besse was regulated and made tense by Valverde’s Caisse-team. Now … is it just me, or are the Spaniards artists at machismo-ing themselves right out of contention in July bicycle races de France?

    Kilometer after kilometer … flat or foul, Valverde and his team took the front and burned 3 tons of fuel per body to keep the Spanish champion upfront and profiled on camera. And yes, perhaps without the viciousness of kidRicco’s cobra-kai kick, Valverde might have been able to take another stage win like the one a few days back where he throttled past Kirchen as if tubie glue was leakin’ sticky on the big Luxie’s tarmac-tread interface.

    Buuut, in this first week of the Tour … we’ve seen the Spaniards at Caisse do the same thing they seem to do every July in France … namely, burn matches to save ego. Instead of the measured, controlled long-sighted tactics of gauging efforts for 3 weeks, it seems as though Caisse are forcing us to think they’ve still got the meat and mind of BigMig’s Banesto boys of the past.

    But i just don’t see it. As strong as those Caisse boys are … each year they seem to wither in that 3rd week as GC contenders. Come 17 days into this affair, look to the Caisse team to be grouped around Valverde NOT at the front, but just in front of the medical car … and then further down the caravan. Into Tour anonymity again.

    but who knows … maybe this year will be different.

    capt_jaws.jpgDoes Cadel look to be the strong, stoic, MONSTER-jawed winner of this year’s Tour? I will say, “yes … thus far.” And will his win be tarnished at all by no individual stage wins for the Aussie-once dirt rider?

    i don’t think so. but it certainly would shine a bit brighter if Cadel were able to find his way off the wheels and across the line first. Thus far this Tour has been all about crowd-pleasing and panache attacks. Look at Super-Besse … even though Caisse had their bruisers up there, bashing pace on 5% that bruised all but a couple dozen riders remaining in the lead group … even with such horrific, perhaps less tactical, speed … still the attackers went off the front. Moncoutie, Vandevelde, Pippoli and more were willing to toss down the gauntlet and do either team, or individual exploits.

    good racing.

    And to capture the true love of cycling afficianados … we will ask Cadel to risk at some point. Last year, there was a moment when we saw a glimmer of the attacking Evans … but this year, for him to win both the jersey and the hearts of fans … he will need to pounce. He will need to throw just enough caution into the wind and risk.

    At some point, to win a bike race large or small … there must be risk.

    and we love it.

    crasher_aww.jpgShoeMaker loses Maillot Jaune to Kirchen … Hincapie style.

    “It’s like a bad movie for me,” Schumacher said. “It’s not fair to give the jersey away like that. I don’t know why Kirchen moved into me. I felt really good. After that accident, I had no chance anymore.” VN

    Yes, how fitting is it that (cough) ShoeMaker loses his jersey to BigGeorge’s teammate in a touch of wheels crash much like a certain stage race from a couple years back. After crashing Hincapie out of contention with 50m to go in the ’06 Eneco (and securing the stage race win), ShoeMaker’s response was interesting ~

    “I shouldn’t be ashamed. I have deserved the victory,” said Schumacher, who in any case wasn’t happy on the podium. He stood a good chance of winning without the crash, but now it will be a case of “what if?”

    dirtydoperdick.jpg“Suddenly I got hit by a spectator and swerved to the right because of it. I definitely did not do that deliberately, I almost crashed myself. I definitely understand Hincapie, but I can’t do anything about it.

    “I don’t know what to say. This is my biggest victory, but not my most beautiful. I must process all this first.”

    well, there you go.

    and i’m sure Kirchen is thinking the same as he gets his fotos snapped and signatures spread with and on all those yellow shirts de’ france.

    sure of it.

    So with this new Yellow, Lovkvist in White for the young’ins classification, a stage win from the Manx, AND Kirchen already featured in Green ~

    only the Polka Dots and getting pushed off the podium by the Badger remain as media highlights yet to be attained by the HighRoad-slash-COLUMBIA squad.

    what a Tour, what a Tour. They might as well cash the checks right now. It ain’t gonna get any better.



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    11 Responses to Tour drama, getting better and better

    1. nitro
      July 10, 2008 at

      Mr. ride til you puke is criticizing the macho Spaniard for trying to win in week 1? Yeah, yeah, not the smart thing to do, but it makes for good racing.

      And while the boy from down under seems reserved, he’s been on the tail of the Spanish champ every time he has sprinted for first week glory.

      But, I do think that it will get better (not just because I don’t get cable until tomorrow and I want to see some more fireworks live), as I think that that fat mouthed snake boy has aspirations beyond “just getting some experience.” Don’t get me wrong, I hope he gets smacked down, but I do want to see some smacking. Maybe the badger can push him off the podium.

    2. Michael Hernandez
      July 10, 2008 at

      i’ve been watching most days … and it’s pretty damn glorious riding this first week. watching it live is so different than hearing about it after, or reading online versions.

      even yesterday’s sprint approach … with the pack spread thick across the roads and rolling along without incredible speeds … i was still entranced.

      truly, this is a tour for the afficianados.

      and be sure to check out Frishkorn’s latest (and UPTODATE) diary of le’ tour. damn good stuff.

      the peloton is free and rampaging across france. pretty cool, and i think it’s going to be only better with each stage.

      love this sport.

    3. bethwellie
      July 10, 2008 at

      I was amazed that front of the peloton was erractically back and forth across the road and no one was going down…until Shumacher did…watch that front wheel.

      where’s frishkorn’s diary? He’s cute, I’ll read what he has to say.

    4. July 10, 2008 at

      Yep loads of work by the Caisse boys, and narry a second gained on Cadel in the end. For a tour that has been filled with great moves, and even greater finishes, the winner could probably succeed just by riding wheels in the mountains and getting antoher minute in the time trial. Ironic considering how exciting the typically boring first week has been.

      Great shot by Vandevelde, at least he took a chance at it today

    5. Ippoc Amic
      July 10, 2008 at

      Valverde was going way to good in april…last time a GC winner won a spring classic, he ended up throwing his bike in the air on the TdF final ITT…

    6. chatterbox
      July 10, 2008 at

      dangit. the x-ray tech kept us from seeing the end of today’s stage. Perhaps I can sneek home early and watch the recap. We only got to see the top of the first Cat 2 climb.

    7. Ali
      July 10, 2008 at

      Thanks for the bit of history as I had forgotten that moment. What a weenie. I thought protecting your front wheel was part of bike racing 101. Crashes happen, but we all knew that, right?

    8. July 10, 2008 at

      are those saunier duval shorts with the white point silly or what?

    9. July 11, 2008 at

      i don’t care what you all say. valverde is hot-t-t-t-t.

    10. Mr. Man
      July 11, 2008 at

      I believe there will be an eppic battle between Schumacher and Ricco all the way to Paris for the bigest duche bag jersey.

    11. July 11, 2008 at

      Said jersey will probably look something like this

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