Saturday, July 05, 2008

Stage 1 - Saturday, July 5: Brest - Plumelec, 197.5km

So, here we are again. Another year has passed and the first stage of the 2008 Tour de France has come and gone. Unlike many previous tours, this year we had an actual stage instead of a prologue. Was this a bad thing? In a word, no. Why? Well, for various reasons, mostly because the stage defied the predictions of most people (not all, mind you, just most). I predicted nothing that happen, and I'm perfectly fine with that.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this stage. Not, you know, sitting around and thinking about it instead of doing other things. But it was there, rolling around in the back of my mind. And I was thinking that I have to change the way I watch the tour. And I don't mean not watching Versus, though I did spend a lot of commercial breaks watching a live Eurosport stream (and boy were there a lot of commercials). What I mean, I guess, is the way I watch it.

I need to stop stressing (I know, shut up) the people who end up in yellow, I need to focus on other things. Even though my third favorite (Kjell Carlström) isn't there (for what seems to be really stupid reasons), I have two others to focus on (though more might more as the tour progresses). I guess what I'm trying to say is that my tour will focus on these two boys.
2 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux
66 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone
I bed exactly all of you saw that coming. Of course I care about them, I mean, how could I not? These are my numbers one and two riders. I saw them both today and, to be perfectly honest, Gilbert's number two placing is fantastic. He came out of nowhere (not sprinter nowhere, but close) and passed several riders by with his fantastic tactics. Valverde, of course, was destined to be the winner, he was just far too strong. But Gilbert was so close, one second faster and he could have one. Well, probably two, but that's not the point.

The tour is different this year. My tour is different this year. What do I want out of this tour? I want different leaders for as many days as possible. I want the leaders to be passed from mountain to mountain. I want the KOM jersey to switch hands repeatedly. I want a French rider to wear the jersey, it doesn't even have to be the same one (unless it's Sylvain Chavanel). I want riders who people lost faith in (except me) to win stages. I want things to blow my mind. And I want everyone to be right when they say that this is the most open tour ever.

Because they've said it before, and every time they've been wrong. I want this time to be different.

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