Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Stage 15 - Monday, July 23: Foix - Loudenvielle - Le Louron, 196km

As with the previous stage, I am writing this as if I wrote it right after the stage and without the news that happened during the rest day. Now, on with the report.

I woke up at seven thirty in the morning to watch this stage. It was worth it. The mountains were rough, difficult as expected, though nothing (it appears) as bad as Wednesday will be.

The real story today was, well, there were actually two of them. The first, of course, was that of Vinokorouv. He showed us that he is not done, that he still has whatever it is that keeps him going. He's known for being feisty and never giving up and I must admit that I was thrilled to see him back in that role once again. He threw caution to the wind and basically gave us a taste of what winning can be like. It was pretty amazing to watch him pedal his way to the finish and eventually take the win.

The second story, of course, was that of the battle between the best young rider and the yellow jersey. Contador, in second still, attacked and attacked Rasmussen. For whatever reason, he felt compelled to try and shake him, but he couldn't. He put forth so much effort that I'm sure he's pleased there is a rest day tomorrow. If there wasn't, I'd say they were both screwed.

But try as he might, Contador couldn't shake the Chicken. I think this was for two reasons, the first being as the Versus commentators stated -- he waited a little bit too long to attack. The second reason is that I believe the cameras/cars/motorbikes got in his way. He was attacking his way up the climb and had to sit down a bit when the motorcade was in front of him. Had that not happened, I think the results would be different.

So what will happen on Wednesday? Only time will tell. I hope that Rasmussen loses is yellow jersey, but I don't know that he will. So many people expected him to be out of it on the rest day that it's hard to say what'll happen now.

One thing is for sure, this tour still isn't as open as I had hoped. We've had two dominate rides (one not surprising, the other mostly a shock). Hopefully the jersey will change hands, because it's about time. Of course, we have to make it through the rest day first.

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