Monday, July 23, 2007

Tour de France- Stage 15

Wow! Or more accurately WOW!

Vino has got balls the size of church bells! I mean, seriously. Now of course, the dope sniffers will be checking his scrotum for testosterone patches and crap like that, but how can you deny the elegant and brutal beauty of a man driven to redeem himself and repay his teammates for their belief in him. He may be a hard to understand and complexly stoic rider, but nobody can deny his sheer will power and determination. Though he won the Tour in 1980 after many tries, Vino often reminds me of Joop Zoetemelk for his perseverance and aggressive style. Joop happens to be one of my all-time favorite cyclists too, so Vino is in great company.

It wasn't just a Vino show either. A little further down the slopes, the Chicken and Alberto "the Conquistador" Contador were locked in another mano y mano battle for the final podium. Rasmussen was put into major difficulties by the kid, but managed to hang on and finish side by side with him. In the process, the two put some additional time into Evans, who struggled on the final climb. Evans, to his credit, battled bravely along, even after being left without teammates. You have to give the guy a ton of credit for his hard work. I surely hope he manages to finish on the podium in Paris, as he's been a worthy man. Levi Leipheimer still sits in 4th, but he too is now further behind than he was at the start of the day. Beyond all comprehension, Rasmussen could actually end up winning this Tour... but will the cloud of doping suspicion ever go away? Another winter of controversy looms ahead. Oh yeah, and now Patrik Sinkewitz is supposed to give a press conference in the coming days as well... which isn't likely to be good.

So tomorrow is the second and final rest day of the Tour. Guys need it too... because Wednesday is another day of pain and suffering. Stage 16 serves up big doses of "owie, owie, owie" for the remaining riders of the Tour. 5 rated climbs- 1 cat 3, and 2 cat 1 and 2 "above category" climbs. The final climb is one of the worst and the finish is on the climb... so it's a lot like the murderous stage 14 on Sunday. The lid could still blow off and Razmustard could still have that "bad day" in the mountains that every yellow jersey wearer has nightmares about. I'll make my picks after the rest day, after reading the tea leaves and sniffing the winds... and thinking a little.



GOB said...

What, pray tell, was Vino doing to make Astana's GC chances better today? NADA. He wasn't riding for his team, he was riding for Vino, which is all he's ever done. Klöden is an idiot for believing that he had the slightest chance of being his team's protected rider, no matter how much Vino might have fallen off the (GC) pace. Other than a large paycheck, and access to the finest in Eastern European sports medicine, why did Klödi even sign with Astana?

Tim Jackson said...

Ok, sorry for the weird formatting guys... stupid Blogger... me and the Blogger platform.

GOB- Yes and no. Vino was riding for himself, yes, but it was a ride of personal passion to show his teammates that there was a reason they supported him. Kloden doesn't have the panache or attacking style to win the Tour- in my humble and stupid opinion. He's too much of a support rider and always cracks under the pressure. That said, he's still Astana's best GC hope and has ridden a strong, albeit non-aggressive race.

Anonymous said...

Woah! That was loud. A great stage no question and yes, the Hematopoulet looks like he's gonna win.

Donna T. said...

Vino just rocked the house yesterday! I keep shaking my head and saying, "imagine what could have been if not for the crash." But, I know all too well that crashing is part of le Tour, too. I also know that people have done great things in le Tour after crashing (Tyler w/broken collarbone) and bonking (Floyd or, if you prefer, Lance a few years ago).

Vino rocks!

Contator...he's just fun to watch. IMHO, he was just 'playing' with the yellow jersey. But, credit where it is due, Razzmataz answered every call. Might not have been pretty, but he did it.

"owie, owie, owie"? Are those technical bike race terms?