Let me say it: I was a doubter.
In my defense, Floyd of Millicent and Floyd, who is a much smarter guy AND knows waaaayyy more about cycling than me, was too. "You'd be foolish to bet on Sastre to survive in yellow after Saturday's time trial!" he cried after the Spanish rider gained 90some seconds on Cadel Evans on the Alpe d'Huez last week. And I was skeptical, too, that Team CSC hadn't seemed to have the confidence to attack hard in the Alps, putting the rivals at risk.
Well, I was wrong. It turns out that CSC had a plan after all. And Sastre rode a good time trial; losing time to Evans but enough to stay clear at the front of the GC. And CSC rode a solid race today, protecting their man until inside the 3km safe zone. My hat is off to a great team, and to "Little Carlos", the gregario turned champion.
Just a couple of other notes:
Team Columbia had a terrific race, and in Kim Kirchen they have a realy solid young rider. I hope to see more of them in the future.
On the other hand, Silence-Lotto should be ashamed of the "support" they didn't give their man, Evans. My picture of the man in the Alps was alone in a crowd, without a single domestique to help him. He did what he did on his own, and second is no shame when that is your truth. His team needs to give him support or he needs to find a team that can help him up that last step in Paris.
And for all the fear, the dopers didn't rule this year. The governing bodies need to stay after these cheats. But there seems to be hope.
And while I agree with Phil Liggett: this was a crazy year, and Sastre is not another Hinaut, another Indurain to win again and again. But it was the right year, and the right time, and he siezed it and his team fought for him. We cannot all be great champions. Sometimes the race isn't to the monsters of the pave'; sometimes a simple soldier can grab the prize usually reserved for the great and mighty. This year it was Sastre, and more power to him for it.
Until next year: Vive le Tour!