As I mentioned earlier, today's stage is not the first that I've seen of this year's race; I've slacked. As a cyclist, the Tour de France represents the premier event of my favorite pasttime, much like Free Donut Day does for those progressives seeking the release of imprisoned donuts everywhere. I've been overwhelmed by the majesty that it is this race, and was too 'entranced' by the scenery of Holland (which, I'm told, happens a lot, there,) I was hoping to find evidence of 'doping', as the competitors passed through Rotterdam and Brussels, but if they were, it wasn't of the sort I was hoping to see. That said, the events in the last 3,000 meters of yesterday's stage, may have been the sign, I missed.
As it happens in most modern Tour de France happenings, the race has been Nascar-ifically eventful. I'm guessing this is no accident, given the courting of American audiences and their tourism dollars. Even the four-mile, Prologue stage, that launched the whole thing on Saturday was not without incident.
Usually, the Prologue defines cycling's equivalent of the 'Pole Position' (Thank you, motorsports!) rankings for the first, official stage of the race. It's usually short and gutsy. Indeed, the commentators on Versus, spent more time tying their ties, I imagine, than each of the riders spent out on the day's race course. Nonetheless, seeing Bob Roll in a tie, is an event worth waiting for, almost as much as the prologue itself.
So, yes, the World Cup quarterfinals took a back seat to the most epic of epic events, the Tour de France, and I couldn't be happier. By the way, in case you were wondering, Wimbledon crowned new winners, over the weekend, as well. But it wasn't going to be Roger Federer, so I chose not pay witness. That said, if you'd like a more complete wrap-up of the actual events of the Tour, you'll be better served by BikeSnobNYC's new Universal Sports blog, regarding these events.
I homage, and I hope to learn.
So, in Snobbie's first post, he mentioned that the rider's characters would reveal themselves. I think it's important to introduce the riders 'characters', as we've come to know them, so we can better appreciate the manner in which they choose to reveal themselves this time around.
No discussion of pro riders can be complete, nor started, without mentioning the General Classification (GC) contenders. This year, the cast includes:
Will Christian Vande Velde avoid adversity, and build on the promise he showed just a few, short years ago? (It turns out, no.)
Or, maybe we should just let Sylvain Chavanel enjoy his catch for a little bit, after all. But the French never get to enjoy their own race, anymore. Perhaps, we should let this year pass.
And what of Cadel Evans?
And what of Cadel Evans?
And what about the Schleck brothers? They're a formidable team within a team, and have seen success at the Tour before.
That said, what of the sprinters?
Or will it come down to a team competition?
Or Saxo Bank?
Either way, Mark Cavendish said it best, "It's just bike racing. Get on with it."
If you'll be in the forests of Arenberg tomorrow,
Ride safe. I love you all.