Today's stage was interesting, and not just because I had to go to work before it was over -- and before they even went over the final climb. But it also took me several hours after work to watch the stage. This was mostly due to the fact that I was watching a lot of football (soccer). But I eventually did see and watch what I already knew was going to be a crazy stage. I did know that Gerdemann had won the stage (I've given up on not getting spoiled, it's impossible and I lack the desire, I think). I also knew about some weird incidents that happened on the road, so I was able to rewind my tape to watch them.
What I found the most interesting on this stage was that the so-called contenders remained in a group -- and that one of them was Vino. But enough about that, the stage wasn't about them, that's for tomorrow. Today's stage was about a breakaway, but mostly it was about an unknown (though not to me) German cyclist. Linus Gerdemann used to ride fro one of the smaller teams and was a favorite of my friend April's. He signed with T-Mobile, so we knew he had to be something special and today we knew exactly what it was.
The kid was amazing. I have never (which isn't saying much, I know) seen someone ride off the front on a mountain like that. It came close to an Armstrong like ride and I was quite pleased that he was rewarded with both the yellow jersey and the young riders. But, even more exciting (though not for him) he was also given the most aggressive rider prize. Two days ago that was given to Chavanel, so it's always fun to see who it goes to. And there was never any doubt who should receive it today.
Watching Gerdemann win was pretty special, even if I didn't get to see it live. Mostly it was just amazing to watch him give everything he had. And then watching him on the podium was just so nice. It's not rare that you see a rider so emotional, but he was just completely overcome and to be honest, it's really nice to see it. I'm quite proud of him, even though I'm not really a fan one way or the other.
I'm also pleased that Sylvain was able to keep his KOM jersey. I didn't really think he'd lose it -- mostly because there were too many riders in the break who didn't have enough to mount much of a fight. Tomorrow is a different story and I expect that at the end of the stage, the polka dots will be on someone else's back, probably Rasmussen's. Which is almost fine, except that I like Chavanel better. But such is the life of a fan of French cyclists.
It was a good, fun and exciting stage. The only downfalls were the stupid Basque fans pushing the rider who was trying to catch up with Gerdemann and the motorbike that stopped in front of Gerdeman. Luckily neither of those resulted in crashes. I hope tomorrow will be safe as well.