Friday, July 15, 2005

Tour report; Stage 13 (unlucky 13)

Dammit! Chris Horner was 150m away from a Tour stage win today, to go with his win at the Tour de Suisse a few weeks earlier. Instead, Rock'em-sock'em Robbie gets his third win of the Tour and Freddy Rodriguez gets third.

Chris was in the thick of things for much of the day and then he and Chavanel spent a little too much time and energy trying to outsmart each other and instead were outsmarted by the chasing peloton. I can't tell you how bummed I am that Chris got that close (still finishing 10th on the day), but came away empty handed. Argh! Well, there are still a few chances for the plucky little fighter to get a win and I hope he gets the chance. Maybe the finale in Paris? Not a bad stage to perform on.

Tomorrow begins the three-day slugfest in the Pyrenees. Many a battered and bruised rider will see their Tour hopes shattered. Poor Alejandro Valverde abandoned early in the stage today, due to tendonitis in his knee. He won't be around the mountains to animate things again. However, there will be plenty of other folks ready to keep things painful. Rasmussen will be hauling his featherweight body up the climbs and giggling like a little school girl as the other riders whimper and moan behind.

Lance will have to get his ass-kicker boots sharpened up so he can kick some hapless souls to the curb... or he'll get kicked himself. Again, I make no claims of being the smartest guy in the world, but if I were in this race I'd be working with every team I could to form a loose alliance to attack Lance and the Disco team the next three days. Lets' face it, if he doesn't lose time in the mountains, he definitely isn't going to in the final time trial. Anybody looking to loosen Tex's stranglehold on the Tour podium better make their claim to the throne in the mountains.

Tomorrow beckons the Battle Royale. Sabers are rattling in the distance and the troops are girding their loins for battle (sounds kind of Hobit-like doesn't it)... so let's see what the next three days serve up.


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