Sunday, July 23, 2006

le Tour in Review (mostly)

Well, after a long night's sleep and a couple of cold ones I'm slowly recovering from my post-Sastre depression enough to turn my thoughts to Landis, who really did pull off one of the most phenomenal comebacks and certainly the single most beautiful stage in the history of cycling. If it's the end of his career, and I dearly hope it's not (and I would love to see him come back in a season or two to take Paris-Nice again for his inaugural win on his new hip), it's a great way to go out. And for Make-Out-With-His-Own-Reflection Lance to be openly nice about it the last few days after being such an ass to Landis in his post-Discovery pre-Lance's-retirement career, it must be really be something pretty special after all to win the Tour!

Someone said to me that Landis did really win over a second-string field, not an unfair comment given the loss of Ullrich Basso Vino Mancebo and later Valverde plus poor Mayo's spectacular implosion, but I don't actually think that's why he's wearing the maillot jaune in Paris. It is I think certainly why Pereiro and almost Sastre are on the podium (though not Kloden necessarily), but I don't believe it's got much to do with Landis. There's a million ifs of course and pretty much all of mine have been dead wrong, but if T-Mobile and CSC had actually had to set the pace for Ullrich and Basso (assuming crappy T-Mobile team directorship didn't allow the team to eat its own young again like they did to such disastrous effect last year), Phonak could've laid off and gotten some rest, which I think particularly once the high Alps kicked in they sorely needed, which in turn would have benefitted Landis. And Landis' supremacy in the tt would still have overcome most everybody else who mattered, with the possible exception of Ullrich, and even Ullrich has been known to tank in dramatic fashion under the wrong stage layout--and that's assuming Ullrich could remember what to do without Lance's wheel to aim for for the first time in lo these many years. So I hope Landis doesn't go down with an asterisk by his name--even without the devastation wrought by Operacion Puerto (I keep thinking "Puerco"), he could well have been in yellow today anyway.

Oh, and I'm quite sorry Euskaltel didn't take a stage but admire their persistent breakaways (including their surprising tries on the flats), I sincerely hope Levi's got at least one good Tour left in him and was pleased to see his bold break on Tossatto's stage as I think he's a smashing rider as well a damn good sport sucking it up and not blaming his tt or anything else on anyone or anywhy else, so sorry to have virtually forgotten that Hincapie wore the yellow jersey and I hope that's a fine (and truly well earned) consolation for the beating he took in the Alps, I think it's terribly sad that the very fine Fothen tanked in the tt and Cunego took it over him much as I admire the Italian because Fothen made such a beautiful run in the white jersey, I hope damn near anybody beats McEwen on the flat into Paris (I saw him chatting amiably with O'Grady, which was nice, but O'Grady apparently can't hold a grudge to the same extent that I do--one of the least pleasant qualities to have I suppose), we love Erik Zabel and Gilberto Simoni, wishing Robbie Hunter's ill-timed saddlesore a speedy recovery and a huge "you bite" to the judges for so unkindly disqualifying him on the second to last day of the Tour as a result, I'm so very happy for the French to have taken 3 stages in their own race for the first time in god knows how long and bonus points to Calzati for rooting for Italy in the world cup nonetheless, thank you Floyd for a smashing season, and let's hope the new hip heals fast and smooth. Now, it's on to the Vuelta, and the two guys or so who are going to be left to race it!

1 comment:

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