All battle, but no fight.
Photo: Yuzuru Sunada
Yeah, as far as fireworks go, the racing these last few days have been a bit less than spectacular. It is unfortunate that we would get through the Pyrenees and have no answers about the race. I think either the course needs to be harder or easier.
What was obvious today was that no one had any gambling spirit to go out and crack the others. No one was willing to go all in. I mean Andy Schleck did a little bit, but it wasn’t until the last 500 meters – what’s the sense in that? The Tour this year has become the “Tour of Following”. All the favorites have lost any sense of audacity to lead or go 100% flat out.
Except for Thomas Voeckler no one is willing to take any risks or show any courage. Luckily the yellow jersey is strong and refuses to roll over for the GC contenders. I suppose if you took Voeckler out of the equation, the race would be great because you have so many guys close on time. I bet there would be a lot more attacking, but Thomas is strong enough to keep his advantage and he refuses to go away!
I have to say Thomas has proven himself to be a really good bike racer. He’s shown a lot of panache and I know one thing for sure, after this race the peloton won’t let him get in a breakaway again for a decade! You know for years I’ve commented that the French seem the least into the race of all the different countries, but I think that’s gonna change. To be honest, I’m a little afraid if that happens…I mean, it would be great for the sport if the French embraced the Tour, but it would be really bad for traffic…and I say that after sitting in the mother of all traffic jams trying to get down off the mountain tonight.
Lastly, I can’t have an opinion on the stage today without mentioning Jens Voigt. There simply aren’t any words to describe the effort he put in today. After crashing twice, the second one hard enough to take any sane person out of the race, he ended up back in front pulling the peloton up the hill. Jensy represents the last of the East German riders who always had a totally different mentality than all the other riders. Suffering at the front of the Tour de France is just so much better than what his life could’ve been. No matter how hard the race gets for them, they never think it’s unfair. Heck, when I was racing I thought everything that went on was unfair!