Tour de France 2010 – Week 1   2 comments

Monday July 12 – Rest day, after 8 stages done.

Like many cycling fans my heart dropped watching the bad luck that befell Lance Armstrong and killed his hopes of winning or even reaching the podium in this his final Tour.  He has had bad luck throughout the first week but the triple whammy on the Station des Rousses – Morzine-Avoriaz stage was sad to see. I have long been an admirer of Lance and deep down I was really pulling for the “old guy” to dig down and pull out his magic again. Even before yesterday’s Stage 8, Lance had probably crashed (or got caught up in others’ misfortunes) more times in the first week of this Tour than in his seven-year run of victories.

When he went down, I like every one watching the TV coverage saw Lance swap his bike and then the shot of the back of his jersey being scraped up. I wondered how that happened. It wasn’t until later that I saw a video taken by a spectator on the other side of the road. From that fixed perspective one is reminded of the speed the riders are traveling at. Then all of a sudden there is one cyclist flying along upside down, on his back. That of course was Lance and it made me sick to watch it and all the more in admiration that he was able to get back to the front of the peleton before eventually succumbing to  the pace and his injuries.

It just goes to show how fascinating and perhaps unfair this sport of cycling can be. A rider can be in the best shape of his life but be in the wrong place at the wrong time and it can all be over in a hurry. I  wonder how the first bit of bad luck can lead a rider to over-think his riding a bit, resulting in split second delays which can lead to subsequent bad situations. I also have to wonder how wounds from one crash can slow down one’s reaction times ever so slightly but again enough to leave a rider in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Even with the Lance factor neutralized it still looks to be a very interesting last couple of weeks. Contador looks strong although maybe not as dominating as we expected – but I was very impressed with his team support.  Andy Schleck looks really capable (even without the support of his injured-out brother Frank). Then of course there is still Levi Leipheimer. He is a very strong rider and if he was on just about any team other than Radio Shack he would have been the leader and GC-contender from day 1. Put the resources of team Radio Shack (arguably one of the top teams in the tour) behind him alone and he could easily reach the podium. This one ain’t over yet!

I also don’t think it is all over for Lance. I’m sure he will live his line and “LiveStrong”. He has stated his intent to finish the tour and to enjoy it. Could he have a stage win or two in him. I can imagine the main contenders not worrying about him for GC and letting him go on a break. Get a couple Radio Shack team mates with him and it could be interesting. Probably not gain-back-12-minutes-back -into-podium-contention interesting but I’m thinking a top-10 finish is not yet out of the question – or how about Lance making a run for the polka-dot jersey???

Yes it will be interesting and I get wait for the action to resume tomorrow!

2 responses to “Tour de France 2010 – Week 1

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  1. I think the one thing we can be sure of is that Lance won’t just hide in the anonymity of the peloton – it simply isn’t in his nature. Whether he plays the team man to support Leipheimer or goes for individual glory (a stage win? the polka dot? who knows?) will be an intriguing side-story to occupy us in the second half of the race.

    If you’re interested, here are my thoughts on yesterday’s stage (I’m doing daily updates, largely because I’m a glutton for punishment): http://thearmchairsportsfan.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/lady-luck-leaves-lance-as-evans-swaps-rainbow-for-yellow/

  2. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate
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