I have developed a passion for the Tour de France over the last 10 years. It started with Lance, but now extends to 30 or 40 riders in the field.
I sometimes listen to David talk about horse racing in a way that shows me how much I don’t understand about the intricacies of that sport. I suspect that’s the way I sound talking about bicycle racing.
I was all set for today’s post to be titled “Tour de Lance”. After the first week of racing, Lance Armstrong was .22 seconds behind the leader heading into the Pyrenees. That’s TWENTY-TWO ONE HUNDRETHS of a second. This from a man who hadn’t raced professionally for four years.
The leader, Fabian Cancellara, is not a climber. So, entering the first mountain stage, it was only a matter of time before he would crack, and Lance would inherit the yellow jersey. On the final climb of the day (an uncategorized climb, which means it’s so difficult it exceeds categorization), he broke. Team Astana (the team Lance rides for) controlled the front of the peloton and also had 3 riders in the top 10.
That’s where the story changes. With 1km to go, Alberto Contador (who also rides for Team Astana) broke from the pack and took a decent lead. Lance did what he was supposed to, and blocked for Contador. One of the members of an earlier breakaway took the lead, but Alberto made up 21 seconds on Lance after trailing him by 19 seconds.
Was this the way it was supposed to happen? Well, Alberto’s supposed to be the team leader, especially after winning the 2007 Tour.
But in my world, Lance is still #1. And I expected to see him in yellow.