21 July 2010

Le Tour 2010 - Stage 15

This stage route is colorfully known by its traditional title... The Circle of the Dead Men. The route profile is something that matches the name. Two Category 1 climbs, two Beyond Category Climbs and a 60 KM run to the line. 100K/hr in speed on the descent, and all the pain you could ask for in a bike race...

As for drama, it delivered, but not because Andy took his revenge. As a fan of cycling for over a decade in large part due to Lance Armstrong, Stage 15 was a beautiful bit of fan service. I got to root for my hero again. He climbed the Tourmalet gloriously and almost pulled off the stage win. This was, so far, my favorite stage to watch. It was compelling from the start, offering drama at every turn with attacks and a break away I had a rooting interest in.

Lance looked like the king he truly is. Eno joked that he seems to have come back only to leave out the "little door." Stage 15 wasn't a direct response to that, or to anyone. It was Lance taking the moment  by the throat like only he can. It made me revel in the day and the moments. I was cheering for him... literally yelling and clapping in support. Seeing the Texas Longhorn flags brought back more memories of past glory on the road and just made the moments that much sweeter.

Man... even writing this is giving me goose bumps. That was so much fun to watch. I had to call my Dad when it was done. Sports is shared at its very best, and he will always be my touchstone in that regard.

After the race Franky Andreu asked Lance, "You showed them that Lance Armstrong isn't done yet is he?" Lance's response and look at Franky was priceless, "Lance Armstrong is done in about 4-5 days." He's a tired old dog, but he still has all the fight in him. Bodies get old and wear out. That's the nature of the human condition. But as someone who is watching all his friends get older and realizing how lame it can be to get older... Stage 15 was a thumb in the eye. Man that was fun to watch.

Lance joked, "I wasn't the oldest guy in the break." Two other 38 year-olds as well as a 39 year-old were in there with him. It was brilliant to watch.

Rest day Wednesday and then... the Tourmalet and the dual that should decide Le Tour 2010. Andy and Alberto should be firing all their shells. Should be a hell of a day. This has been the most compelling Tour I've watched... every day is a story.

Keep watching Versus... they are in the mountains... and your HD TV will pay it self back to you when you see some of the helicopter shots.

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