Friday, July 24, 2009

Le Tour de France

Well, this year’s Tour de France is coming to an end, there are just a couple of stages left and it seems the “Mayo June” has landed on the shoulders of the winner and baring a catastrophic crash, Alberto Contador will be the winner. Contador, who rides for Team Astana, grabbed the yellow jersey in the Alps and has taken a solid hold of it after the won the individual time trail yesterday. He has proven that he is the best climber in the peloton and with the stage win yesterday he has proven he is the best all around rider. Currently his teammate Lance Armstrong is sitting in third place which is a pretty amazing feet when you think about it. He was away from professional cycling for 4 years and came back with less than a years training to compete for a podium position. Lance has shown that he can still hang with the young riders and also shown throughout the race that he is a tactical expert, which help keep him in the hunt for a top finish.

Here is Alberto Contador wearing yellow in the time trail.

Since Lance is a teammate of Contador, he hasn’t been able to attack and I can’t help but think that the situation would be different if they weren’t on the same team. Lance said going in that if he weren’t the leader, he would ride in support of Contador. That was evident on all of the stages in the mountains when he sat back on the wheel of other teams and made them do all the work to close the gaps on Contador. If they were on different teams, Lance certainly would have attacked and the standings could be totally different. Here is Lance riding a his custom painted Trek in the time trail.

There are only three stages left (including today’s stage) until they reach Paris and I am confident that Contador will roll into Paris wearing yellow. But there is still a monster climb up Mont Ventoux tomorrow that could change the standings for second and third overall. A good ride by Lance could move him up to 2nd overall but that won’t be an easy task since the man he needs to beat is one of the best climbers in the peloton. I think that if Lance finishes 3rd and will get to stand on the podium in Paris, he will be happy, but not satisfied. That is why he announced that next season he will be riding for a different team (Team Radio Shack) where he would be the leader and not have to ride for someone else. That also means that he will be back at next years Tour de France and with a full year to train, I would look out if I were in the peloton.

It has been a great tour this year and it has been exciting to watch. Lance has done more than just raise awareness for his foundation and cancer research; he has been a great teammate and an incredible rider. I know he wouldn’t’ have come back if he didn’t think he could win and I think he might have been able to if he wasn’t on the same team as Contador. But we will never know. Next year will be a different story!

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