Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stage 10 - Wednesday, July 12: Cambo-les-Bains - Pau, 190.5 km

I'm a day off again, but work and all. I actually had to watch this stage twice, because Comcast sucks and though that doing their emergency thing right as the stage finished. I guess it was all Comcast, not just in Michigan. GAH. So I had to force myself to listen to Bob and Al. It wasn't so bad, mostly because I tuned them out. Anyway.

Stage 10 was exciting, of course I went to work before it was over and had to tape it. So I came home and watched it. I knew who won and everything, but that didn't stop it from being an interesting stage (and got me out of having to watch Project Runway like 90% of my friends, wtf?).

There was a break that slowly just took over the race. It started as a bigger group and just dwindled down until there were just two of them. And the two? A French rider from a French team and a Spanish rider from a French team. What a day for France! On the day that Zidane apologized (sort of) for his behavior, a French rider donned the yellow jersey. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but whatever.

So, the break. It was fantastic. I am always a huge fan of breaks (just as much as sprint finishes, really) and to have a real one that actually made it? Awesome. Even better was the fact that one of the riders actually got to take over the yellow jersey. So much fun. Cyril Dessel of AG2R found the willpower and the legs to stay away from the pack and take both the yellow jersey and the king of the mountains jersey. If he's lucky, he'll keep one of them. His partner in crime for most of the stage was Juan Miguel Mercado of Agritubel. Mercado rode just as hard as Dessel and managed to steal (I say that just because it's fun, not for any other reason) the win. They both deserved it after their amazing ride. Third went to Inigo Landaluze of Euskaltel-Euskadi, who fought hard but could never quite catch the two leaders.

As for the rest of the peloton? As predicted, T-Mobile worked to control the peloton and failed. And Gonchar slipped off the back, along with a lot of other people -- like Levi (I am too lazy to go look up how to spell his last name) and Mayo (who should just stop, he's obviously not cut out for the tour). Discovery riders were nowhere to be seen (though they were there, just oddly invisible). Floyd was there and a few of the sprinters impressed us (like Zabel and Freire). But overall? It was about the break.

There wasn't much to say, since this stage was just a sample of the mountains to come. Stage 11 is the killer -- this week.

Oh, one last thing. One of the best things about yesterday was the scenery. I really loved about Stage 10 was the scenery. I loved the fog as they rode up the mountains and the scenes off the sides of the cliffs as they road around. It was stunning. As I've told many people, one of the things I love about cycling is the landscape. No other sport has such beautiful scenery as cycling. No matter where the race is (Germany, the US France, or Australia -- or anywhere, really), race organizers find the most beautiful views and send the cyclists there. I highly approve of that.

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