So yeah, Johann Bruyneel saves his ass with the team finding a way to at least get a stage win this year. Johann has directed more Tour wins than any other director, all with the same rider I know, but still. I have an incredible amount of respect for the man and what he has done as a team director. There was a time, when I realilzed that I wasn't going to be a pro riding in Europe, that I really wanted to be a team director. Some days, when I'm staring at catalog proofs, spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations that I think I would still like to pursue a full-time directorship of a pro team. Then I get that regular paycheck every two weeks and remember that I know when I'm going to get paid, I don't have to chase sponsorship money and try to corale a bunch of stupid* cyclists... I think I've made the right decision. (* I say "stupid" in the most loving and supportive way I possibly can.)
Anyway, too bad Johann lost two of his best riders today when Noval and Savoldelli both abandoned. Paolo, apparently, ran into a spectator riding his bike down the mountain to the team hotel after the stage yesterday and needed about 10 stitches to close a cut over his eye. Ouch!
The day was once again riddled with constant attacks. It wasn't until nearly 100km into the race that the final selection was made. With Freire, Le Mevel, Ballan and Popo getting away. The break worked well enough to keep the peoloton at bay and maintained a lead of slightly over 4 minutes to the finish. With just slightly less than 4km remaining, Popovych unleashed his final race-winning attack. The 26 year old Ukranian scored the biggest of his professional wins in fine fashion. Once his legs mature a bit more, the promising former U23 World Champion could eventually fulfill the promise many people think he represents. Who knows, if he stays with Johann, he could extend Bruyneel's record tally of Tour wins some day.
Tomorrow is much the same as today, though with no climbs rated higher than a category 4. expect much the same sort of race as today, though I would think that the sprinters would be working much harder to secure a mass gallop to the line. My pick, if it comes to a sprint is either Freire or Hushovd. Even though Boonen finally "beat" Robbie in a sprint today for the minor placings, I'm still thhinking he doesn't have the kick he needs to win a grougp sprint with all the contenders. But I could easily be wrong...
Our intrepid Cub Reporter is now in the process of destroying airport bars from here to France. I'm sure she is doing all she can to find a way to sleep through the long transatlantic flight- ie; sleeping off a hangover. We may be expereincing something of a quiet patch without her. However, being the dedicated cycling journo' that she is, she has logged this most recent post from her stop in Chicago (unedited for your enjoyment...);
OK - you should look this over, I'm not on my keyboard and I'm weary. . .. not hopped up - just weary.
There has been many inquires about the watch Bob is sporting on the air. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the same watch as written about in Bobke II. However, it is a very cool piece. The Corum Buckingham Wunderkammer http://www.corum.ch/dev/index.html was purchased in NYC last month. Bob has been drooling over it for as long as I've known him. It is a limited edition and is one of 1000. It is pretty bad ass to say the least. It is so Bob. He almost got a Cartier, but it just didn't suit him like the Corum.
The skull ring he has been wearing on his right hand he has had since he was about 15 years old. He bought it in San Fran down near Haight/Ashbury. He recently had it fixed in New York by his good friend, who we'll just call Fancy Pants Nancy. She is an absolute doll and I can't wait to meet her again. When I'm out there I'll be sure to get a good picture of it.
Congrats to Popyvich. I was really stoked to see Discovery pull something out. I know he isn't American, but I like to see DIscovery succeed. I have heard that Lance is very emotional when it comes to watching the races. I am unsure if he is in France yet, but I can only IMAGINE his response to yesterday's ride. Woah Doggie.
So the kids are having a ball at Aunt Jackie and Uncle Bill's house, they almost pushed us out the door and we're getting on a flight tomorrow. I am so very ready. I cannot wait. I'm nervous about the internet access, but we're going to work around it, so bear with me. The entries may be get a bit short if I have to call them in at $1 a minute. I can't wait to get an album of all the pics up and out there. I have the questions you funny people gave me on Donna's blog, so that should be fun reporting. Bye for now.
The miracle of modern medicine... indeed.
Ok, tomorrow is another fast day. We'll see if I'm right as usual... I mean again.