Sunday, July 15, 2007

King of the Hill

Another quick sports post: hella exciting race today in the Alps: Michael Rasmussen, Danish rider for Team Rabobank takes the stage, the King of the Mountains AND the Yellow Jersey as overall leader of the tour.

Great racing, with lots of changes and reversals.
With the hurly-burly done, I have to say that of the riders Iban Mayo had the oddest and most interesting ride today. Not sure what was in his mind - kept making little moves until finally riding towards the front, where it seemed like he'd decided that Rasmussen was uncatchable until the last 5k when he made another push to get in right behind the Dane.

Did he want to go for the win but hesitate to expend the energy? Was he riding for a comfortable second? Was this one of those days when one stretch made him fell like he could ride up and over Rasmussen and then the next he felt like it would take him more than he wanted to give? Dunno. But I've always like Mayo in the mountains, and I'd say you'd have to keep an eye on him.
Couple of random thoughts:

Poor Vino - I kinda liked him for the overall winner this year, but I think age and the injuries have done for him. Sad, really. Great rider, and this might have been his year.

Rabobank has really ridden well this year. And until today I thought that T-Mobile was the other team placed to do well. But with two losses today (see below)'s a cruel, cruel sport.
George Hincapie - the question in my mind was always; was GH a potential contender who agreed to be Lance Armstrong's leadout man just until the Lancinator retired, or was he just a sort of super-domestique, Lance's bobo, who would return to mediocrity once the master's career ended. Early days yet, but after last year's ugly mess and this year's mediocre riding, including today's weak effort, the answer seems increasingly obvious.
And, of course, for any story to be epic there must be tragedy. Today's was Michael Rogers, critically misjudging a turn on the descent from the Cormet de Roselend. His companion at the time, Spaniard Arroyo Duran, looked to have the more horrific crash as he flew over the guardrail. But the Caisse d'Epargne rider got back up and is still riding: Rogers broke something in his right wrist and shoulder, rode several kilometers in what was obviously great pain before stopping.

What must it feel like, there, alone amid the crowds, the pain in your soul tearing itself out of your chest even fiercer than the pain in your body, knowing that, for you, the day is over, the race is lost, and all your work and hope and planning has been in vain? What do you say to someone who has just seen their dream die?

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