Friday, July 9, 2010
Over in France, the Tour de France continues.
Two days sans drama...much to the relief of the racers I'm sure. No crashes, no injuries, no retirements, just the colorful peloton calmly traversing the telegenic French byways in that glorious summer light. I even saw the first field of sunflowers in bloom today during Thursday's Stage 5. Oh, a few seconds of drama surround the Bunch Sprint at the finish, but not enough to keep the blood pressure above a simmer.
There might be a "feel good story" brewing to take drama's place for another day.
American Sprinter Tyler Farrar's recovery from a fractured wrist and a sprained elbow that sent him to the hospital after Stage 2's crash massacre, continues apace. Thursday, he was right in front for the Finishing Sprint for a second day, contending for the Stage Win!
Welsh sprinter Mark Cavendish, who won six Tour de France stages last year, grabbed his first win, while Tyler crossed the line in 10th with the same time. After the finish, Farrar told reporters "The lead-out was perfect, but I messed up. It's only my fault I didn't make it today, I chose the wrong side of Julian Dean to sprint on."
Cavendish was in tears on the podium during the Post-Race Awards Ceremony. Cavendish has endured a less than a storybook season after 2009's total domination of the sprint specialty in Pro-Tour Racing. Just last month, he abandoned the Tour of Switzerland when his beloved Grandmother passed away suddenly. The bright beaming smile he wore as he crossed the finish line was the flip side of the coin that illuminated the emotional ups and downs he's endured so far this season.
Friday will be another day for the sprinters. Stage 6, the longest stage of the Tour at 141 miles, is an undulating course offering the last chance for the sprinters before the Tour turns uphill in the Mountains Saturday. Thursday, Tyler Farrar finished his post-race interview saying: "There will be other opportunities to come."
This could be viewed as drama trying to sneak back into the Tour!