Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Restday 2 - Monday, July 21: Cuneo

A little late, but the rest day ten is here.

1. Mountains
This is where it all began. Even on those early mountains, but really, it was Sunday's stage when things really got going. It was attack after attack on the yellow jersey and really, it was just amazing to watch. I really hope that the next two days in the Alps will be just as good.

2. King of the Mountains
See, I should be bitter about Sylvain, but I'm not. Instead, I am totally thrilled about Sebastian Lang being in them for a couple of days after Ricco got sent home. I'm a little sad that Kohl is in them now, but in the end it's not necessarily a big deal. It was really nice to see Lang in the jersey after all the hard work he did, only to have it stolen away by Ricco.

3. Mark Cavendish
There isn't much to say about this kid, except that he is fantastic in every way. He seriously is the fastest guy in the peloton, well was. And to be perfectly honest, I don't care that he didn't finish the race. What he did do is prove that people should take him seriously. And that his team was really dedicated to helping him win. And, well, he might be arrogant, but it's not like McEwen and I like that.

4. CSC
It's been a long time since they were successfully like this. They had three men in the Sunday Yellow jersey group and two of them were competing to win the overall tour. They're strong, powerful, and not offensive (like USPS/Discovery have been).

5. Danny Pate
Just based on the break away on Sunday. It was pretty great to watch him work hard. And to hear him after the stage talking about how bad he was (he wasn't) and you want more riders like him. They give all they have and then more and almost win. I really, really wanted him to win, but he didn't. And he still deserves to be up here.


6. Doping
Again I waffled about where to put this, and again it's in the bad side of things. Why? Because it's doping. I don't know how much more clear I can make it. It's bad, cyclists (hell, any athletes) shouldn't do it. And yet they do and people are surprised when people get caught. It drives me crazy because of course people still dope and of course some of them will get caught. They'll never catch anyone, but that doesn't mean we should just give up. Ahem. Climbing off my soap box now.

7. Crashes
Some people have crashed several times (Wegmann), some people have had horrific crashes and come out okay (Sven Krauss), and some people have had terrible crashes that it was a miracle they survived through (Oscar Pereiro). Sunday there was a really nasty looking crash around a roundabout that ended with most of the Garmin riders going down, it was pretty bad. I just hope that the next stages result in fewer crashes.

8. Cadel Evans
Yeah, I don't really have anything here except I dislike him a lot. I was glad he lost the yellow jersey and I hope he doesn't get it again, much less win the whole thing.

9. Sylvain Chavanel
I could have put him in the good half, but I'm kind of disappointed with his attacking. It's been consistent and he's done basically nothing with it. Hopefully he can slip into a break, but for some reason the peloton doesn't like to let him go. I get that he can't wait around to attack later, but sometimes I question his tactics.

10. Fans
Sure, the fans on the road that get in the way of the peloton, that wave flags in the rider's faces, etc. But also fans that seem to think that no cyclists dope ever and throw a fit when one tests positive. Or those who just quit being a fan because someone who was rumored to be doping tests positive. But also, those people who are so easy to dismiss Mark Cavendish and other sprinters for dropping out of the Tour. Sometimes it happens, people. They aren't slackers. If you want to get upset at someone for leaving early, be annoyed at Christophe Moreau -- even now, no one knows why he quit.

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