Sunday, September 03, 2006

Alejandro the Great

Yes, Alejandro, not Alexander, though major admiration again to Vino as he managed to redeem his earlier humiliation at Valverde's hands as he held off the latter in the runup to the line at La Cobertoria after he was obliged to drop the Kashechkin he'd been properly serving when Andrey's legs bonked after a valiant 2 man breakaway about 7k from the line. They really do work well together. Anyhow, dear little Sastre, Valverde and DiLuca trade attacks as they work to reel in the Kazakh break, when Valverde takes off, DiLuca and Sastre look at each other and realize neither one of em's got anything left in the tank, and Valverde overtakes the bonking Kascheckin but can't quite overcome Vino's dented pride despite his previous day's surprising win and comes in around a quarter-minute back. Still, Valverde takes over yellow, and if the perfectly consistent Sastre can't ditch him on a subsequent mountain stage or in next Saturday's tt, I don't know that anyone, except maybe the Astana boys (and remember Vino is a couple of minutes back on GC still), can take him out. So venga Sastre, but I'd still be pretty happy with Valverde as well!

Gnurk!: Iban Mayo (so promising yesterday) continued his recent bout of ill-timed cracks in terrain he ordinarily stomps on and came in a hearbreaking 9-odd minutes back. I'm still ever-hopeful he'll take the stage win he wants, but less optimistic that after that performance that Euskaltel will show him the money I'm still convinced he's deep-down worth. Come on, Iban--I believe!

US News and World Report: Well, Hincapie handily took the USPRO road race championship in a nice consolation prize for his nasty luck at ENECO over we also love Levi Leipheimer, making me wonder how they're going to split up responsiblities next season over at Discovery, since the latter had a damn good classics season and came up quite a bit higher on GC in the Tour as well. Johan, is there a strategy here we all ought to know about? Across the water, Belgian pinup Tom Boonen continues his handsome (get it? handsome?) run up to the Worlds by taking the ultimate stage in the Tour of Britain, and next season will have brilliant, savvy (if slightly post-prime) uber-vet Peter van Petegem along at Quick Step, where he'll hopefully teach promising new leadout jailbait Gert Steegmans a few of the tricks he has yet to pick up for the Tour--shouldn't take much I imagine, as considering he took over on no notice when Fast Freddy crashed out, he really did rather well anyway. And, T-Mobile, which may very well be taking on ascendant comet Luis Leon Sanchez if Saiz plays fair and lets him out of his Active Bay gig (a whole nother world of doubt, given the way he's been jacking Astana around so far), still swears it's gonna sign a big current star, though having either tossed, alienated, or waited too long on almost every GC god worth pursuing I'm at a loss to think of who's next. Well, one hopes the fact that 3 or 4 years from now they'll have a hell of a team to beat (if they keep all their newbies) will keep their management, and their sponsor, warm at night through the coming cold seasons in the interim!

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