Thursday, July 8, 2010

Heat and Dust

The Tour de France always surprises me...OK, I may be a dim bulb, so I'll quote Forrest Gump: "You never know what you're gonna get"

Stage 3, was contested over 132 miles of road beginning in Belgium, and ending in Northern France, Tuesday. After enduring eight miles of pavé, the cobblestone roads that predate the invention of the bicycle, the Tour took the expected dramatic twists and turns, thanks to the cobblestone roulette.

Norwegian Sprinter Thor Hushovd won the day, and Monday's French Hero Sylvain Chavanel came to grief on the pavé suffering two flat tires in the final 15Km, which held him to 95th Place, 3:58 behind Hushovd.

Lance Armstrong also suffered a puncture around 16Km from the finish, and the resulting 45 second tire change took it's toll on his chances to add win number eight to his resume. Lance went from 4th to 18th 2:30 back, but in touch with the contenders...back just about a minute.

Alberto Contador suffered his flat just a few hundred meters from the finish, after contending with a broken spoke. In the finishing frenzy, Contador's teammate Alexandre Vinokourov lead the Contador Group away from Contador as he was slowed by the puncture. Contador finished 13th, 1:13 behind.

Another contender, Fränk Schleck crashed on the pavé, breaking his collarbone. Schleck retired and is facing surgery to repair the clavicle.

Saxo Bank teammate and younger brother, Andy Schleck finished with the winner's group and improved overall, solidly in the chase for the GC win.

Bruised and broken American Sprinter Tyler Farrar not only started the day with his broken wrist heavily taped, but he finished the race! Those cobbles must have been agony!

I was struck as I watched the riders endure the pavé, by the clouds of dust raised by the Team Cars, Motorbikes, and the riders themselves. I'm not sure which was worse...the clouds of dust or the forecast rain that didn't come to soak the proceedings.

Three days in, I'm already being swept up by the Tour's ebb and flow. This will be a great Tour...I feel it in my bones.

Team CorduroyPlanet had an up and down day Tuesday...

Alberto Contador GC
Oscar Freire GC
Carlos Sastre GC
Mark Cavendish Sprinter
Alessandro Petacchi Sprinter
Stuart O'Grady Sprinter
Jurgen Van Den Broeck All Arounder
Yaroslav Popovych Climber
Alexander Kolobnev Up and Coming Wild Card

In Wednesday's Stage 4, Team CorduroyPlanet Sprinter, Alessandro Petacchi won the stage in the final Bunch Sprint! Astonishingly, injured American sprinter Tyler Farrar finished 23rd with same time as the leaders...I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him and his bandaged arm finishing just one meter behind the Winner! That's courage...We'll be seeing much more of Tyler Farrar in the coming years.

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