Ahhh it’s July, the month of hotter than hot weather, fireworks, Independence Day (the Original, not the movie with Will Smith), birthdays and the Tour of France. Or if you’d rather, Le Tour de France. I don’t do very much during July because I allow my bum to become well acquainted with my recliner while I waste untold hours in front of the tv watching THE Tour.
THE Tour (aka Le Tour de France) is the granddaddy of all bicycling tours. Riders aspire to ride THE Tour. To win the maillot jaune for just one day makes a rider’s career. To win THE Tour means you’re counted among the best of the best.
Who would have guessed a 22 year old from Slovakia would win 3 stages in THE Tour this year so far? In fact until earlier this year I had never heard of Peter Sagan. I’m not sure he is yet of the caliber of Mark Cavendish, but really who is? Sometimes I wonder if Mark Cavendish is a sprinter of the caliber of Mark Cavendish. But give Peter a few more years, a little maturity as a rider and I expect great things from him. I think my girls favorite part of watching Peter win is his victory dances as he crosses the finish line.
Last year in THE Tour, I believe it was Phil Liggett who called it the “Tour Of Crash”. And boy howdy was it ever a tour of crash. This year is shaping up to be more of the same. Almost every stage has seen multiple crashes. Poor American Cyclist riding for Garmin-Sharp, Tyler Farrar has hit the ground almost as much as he’s been in the saddle. He is pretty battered and bruised, especially his pride. He did not contest any sprints yesterday in Stage 6 and he did not contest the mid-sprint in today’s stage. He’s trying to recuperate as much as he can before the next sprint finishes. He just hopes to haul his sore body through the mountains. I look for great things from Tyler in this year’s Tour.
American Chris Horner, a late pick by the Radio Shack Nissan Trek team (and what a shame that was! He should have been their top pick), found himself on the ground during Stage one. But it wasn’t because of a bike wreck. It seems he stopped for a natural break, put his foot down on what he thought was dry, solid ground, only to find out it was mud. He says he went down, got up, finished his duty and got back on the bike.
Also riding for the Radio Shack team this year is Frank Schleck, brother of Andy. Poor Frank lost precious time and his top 5 spot due to a crash 20km from the finish in yesterday’s stage. Today I’m sad to say my favorites all lost time. Hopefully Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer can make up some of their deficit but I’m not holding out much hope for a podium finish for either of them.