Le. Tour. De. France.
I hope you got a chance to see yesterday’s exciting finish. Contador and Schleck dueling up Col du Tourmalet in the fog as if the other riders didn’t exist.
Because it’s over.
Today is a sprint which means no change. Tomorrow is the time trial where Contador is expected to dominate. Sunday is the final stage ending with the Champs Elysees sprint.
I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed because that would be ignoring some realities. Lance is done, if he ever comes back it will be as a commentator (and frankly he’s been dead on in his predictive abilities) or as a Team Manager (Radio Shack is largely his creation anyway). The problem is that Le Tour is designed to feature the riders and not the teams so it’s not like staying loyal to Ferrari when Schumacher retired.
Without Armstrong Le Tour is much more difficult to get emotionally involved in. I’ve tried rooting for Schleck but he doesn’t seem to have a killer instinct. His difficulties aren’t just bad luck and equipment failure, his team is incomplete and his coaches and managers were never able to muster a convincing attack. The ‘there’s always tomorrow’ attitude of sunny optimism may be good sportsmanship, but it sure lacked winning urgency.
Perhaps Contador has a personality I’ve yet to discover that will excite me in the future, but this Tour struck me as mechanical and emotionless. I have no problem with his standards of ‘sportsmanship’, they provided the few interesting moments in a ride that was mind numbingly predictable and entirely lacked panache.
But maybe you are a fan who thinks that one perfect moment on the Col with the two top competitors locked in a head to head contest of strength and will, a yellow haze isolating them and turning both their maillot jaune, is worth 21 days of devotion.
Well, they bike through some beautiful countryside too.
Schleck– I’m sure I’ll do a good time trial. I can see the yellow jersey in front of me, and I really want it, and I’m not going to give up until Paris.
Today’s stage is 123 miles from Salies-de-Béarn to Bordeaux (where they won’t produce plonk anymore). Flat, 2 Sprints and the finish.