06 July 2010

Le Tour 2010

"So I guess this year they don't care about skill, just if you have enough to survive" - The Crowbar

That's paraphrasing, but the sentiment was captured. This years Tour de France, the first two stages at least, have been more about making it through to the end than anything else. We were robbed of a sprint finish on Stage 1 by three successive crashes. Then Stage 2 treated us to what can be accurately be described as cycling carnage. I've been an avid watcher of Le Tour for a decade... I've never seen anything like this. Seeing Andy Schleck with what has to be a severe shoulder/collarbone injury stand by the side of the road in shock summed it up. This isn't fair... this isn't because someone was better on a mountain... this is because the road was too narrow for that many riders... and then it rained. To lose out of the finish because of nonsense like that goes beyond sport... it is simply cruel.

So far Schleck hasn't abandoned, but he *has* to be hurt and that will impact his chances in the mountains. VanDeVelde continues his snake-bit dance with the Tour, cracking 2 ribs, lacerating his freaking eye-lid and generally having his body destroyed after 3 successive crashes. If Tyler Farrah can keep sprinting with the pain he must be in (jacked up wrist, general falling injuries) it will be heroic to watch. Farrah vs Cavendish was a reason to watch the Tour this year... now it might be a never was.

At least most of the GC remained up right. Fabian "Spartacus" Canchelara is to thank for that. He slowed the Peleton, even convincing it to neglect the sprint finish. Sure his team leader fell down, but the man is a titan in cycling. He is a old school professional who wants to win things on the road because he or his team was better than another man, not because they were able to avoid a wreck they had no hand in causing. The fact alone that Contador and Armstrong were caught behind the series of wrecks and had to push hard to get back to the lead group is enough to tell you this was a crap day. Those guys hug the front. They live on the front of the Peleton, specifically for days like this. That's how bad it was... people scanning likes hawks for wrecks, knowing they would come still got caught up.

And all this is before Stage 3... 200k on freaking cobblestone roads. I know cyclists have pain tolerances that are truly inhuman, but Good Lord. This is like making golf courses longer to "Tiger-proof" them, except instead of length they added MMA fighters to protect every green. Wait... that would be awesome... contemplate the visual of Brock Lesner on the 18th hole of the Masters, staring down Lefty McManboobs ready to pounce. Who wouldn't watch that?

But I digress... we will see how all this hits the contenders as the race progresses. It would be a shame if the Le Tour 2010 dies a slow death because every contender is broken long before the mountains can crack them.


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