Monday, July 19, 2004

Stage Fourteen - Day Sixteen


For the first time I'm actually bitter that OLN doesn't cover the whole stage. Most of the time I'm just grateful that I can watch it at all. But today's stage? I hear the best part was the first two hours. Of which we so absolutely nothing of. Not even (that I can really recall) the little flashback things that they use when someone crashes. Nothing! Not that I minded watching the last two or so hours, but still.

Lots of Thomas and Sylvain. I like to see the boys having a good time on the stage. And it was nice that there wasn't a lot of pressure. The break that finally worked was interesting to watch, but I really would have liked to see the earlier attempts -- and not just because Matt was in one of them. But OLN decided, for whatever reason, that we didn't need to see it. So we watched what seemed like five minutes of then ten minutes of commercials. Eventually, near the end of the stage, the amount of time they spent showing the race seemed longer than the commercial break.

Sad day for me, though. I'd picked either Christophe Mengin or Peter Wrolich to win. But for some reason, once Aitor Gonzalez got away, the Euskaltel riders seemed to stop helping the remaining 7 members of the break try to catch up to Gonzalez. In the end, he had too much of a lead out for Mengin and Nicolas Jalabert. Jalabert came in second, even though Mengin gave it a good go to the line. Very good riding in the break, but I'm still surprised that Gonzalez won. Perhaps the Euskaltel riders stopped working on purpose, or maybe they were just exhausted from keeping Mayo in the stage yesterday. Regardless, Gonzalez road well for the win.


And then we had to wait thirteen minutes for the peloton to catch up. Six of those minutes were spent watching commercials. Then about two minutes of racing, more commercials, then the final sprint. Way to go, OLN (when I said I was done complaining about them? I may have lied.). Anyway. I was pulling for O'Grady or Zabel (or even Hushovd or Hondo). That Robbie McEwen, though. He just comes out of nowhere and takes the win.

The sprint was exciting. Especially the beginning of it, because no one was quite sure what was going to happen. Robbie had a great lead out, then Stuey had one. Thor was pushing himself up, as was Hondo. And I still think it looks like Hondo beat them both to the line, but it seems I'm wrong (not surprisingly).


All in all it was an uneventful (compares to both the mountains and the first two weeks) stage. Good for Armstrong, Basso, and, of course, Thomas. Rest day tomorrow. And then the Alps.

> What do I think will happen?
Jan will try his comeback, Lance will take yellow and Thomas will do well in white.
> What do I want to happen?
Thomas, Thomas and Thomas.

We'll have to wait and see. Enjoy the jersey, Thomas. You deserve it.


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