Today’s stage was totally predictable, but no less thrilling. Cavendish's acceleration was so fantabulous to watch and unvanquishable it was the purest definition of beauty! Mark’s key to success is that he refuses to expend any extra energy before the finish. He doesn’t socialize, he doesn’t go for field sprints, for Cav it’s 100% on getting the job done at the finish and that’s what he remains focused on from the moment that he gets on his bike in the morning. Of course you can discount his physiology…when he decides to go he engages all of his fast-twitch muscles and it’s just an explosion of speed.
As for Alberto, well, he was tested mightily, but he came into the Tour as the best rider in the world and that’s the way he leaves the Tour. I think it is a disappointment that he won his third Tour without winning a single stage. That’s something you don’t like to see happen, but I think with the way things turned out this year Contador feels lucky enough just to stand on top of the podium. I think there might be some turmoil coming up with his relations with Astana so we’ll see about 2011, but I hope he keeps it all bueno.
I think Chris Horner should come home and be nominated the Secretary of Defense because he finally raced for himself on the Tourmalet and defended the aspirations of America in the Tour. A top ten for Horner in the Tour is awesome. He had been flicked form the Tour for a few years so I wouldn’t be surprised if he was wishing he was just a few years younger so he could use that finish for a jump in his career.
One troubling thing to see was no American riders contesting for the white jersey. There are definitely a few good kids coming up through the ranks, but there years away from being in contention for the white jersey. With Hincapie, Levi and Horner all over 35 years old, right now I’d say Tyler Farrar is America’s best hope for Stars-n-Stripes glory in the Euro peloton.
It will be interesting to see what Radio Shack does next year without Lance. They have Taylor Phinney coming up who they’ll unleash on the cobbles next year, Levi and Horner, yeah, they’re old, but they’ll hang around. I don’t think they’ll go for some big name addition, they’ll get somebody they can nurture, but then, you never know for sure with Johan.
They never told me to bring a dark blue suit so I just brought the same gray suit from last year. I’m like Ringo at the Beatles’ “Let It Be” session, gotta be different!
My best moment of the Tour? Making it to Paris in one piece. It was only a lead foot and a crazed mind that got us through the 680k drive that started at 8:00 pm last night. And then, running a red light before I arc’d it around a corner only to see the Arc de Triomphe staring right at me. As far as the race itself goes? I’d say it was when Cav scored his first win because after he got that out of the way, we all knew it was on for the rest of the Tour.
One take-away lesson from the Tour that applies equally to all is that you simply can’t boggle with the boogie man (the supreme ego). It’s stung a lot of riders throughout history and it will continue to do so in the future.
What’s next for the Blobinator? I’ll be taking a few days off here in the City of Lights, before heading back to Durango. Take a week with some fresh mountain air there and then I’ll be hanging out at the Tour of Utah and then hopefully Levi’s Gran Fondo in October.
That’s it for now Tour fans. Hope you liked my scribbles, I know you loved the racing and all I can say is stay tuned for more life in the Tour. It may be a whole year away, but we’ll be back here again next year…ride as much as you can until then.