Thursday, July 10, 2008

Stage 6 - Thursday, July 10: Aigurande - Super Besse, 195.5km

Today's stage was something different, and not just because I watched the the last 30 or so k live and the beginning later. I got home just in time to miss Sylvain going over top of that first cat 2 climb. I was okay with that, because I'd set up the VCR before I left in the morning. But the rest of the stage was extremely stressful for me. Especially when I couldn't figure out how many places got KOM points and where Voeckler was and then he crossed the line before Sylvain ...

It might have been a little out of control.

But, moving on. The stage was, well, awesome. Ricco proved what so many people have said, but not really believed. He won a stage, he out-sprinted more experienced riders at the top of a mountain stage. He did what I have always dreamed that Sylvain could do. It's not every day -- hell, it's not even every tour, that we see a 24 year old rider do such a spectacular ride. It's not like he powered his way up the mountain, leaving everyone in his wake. He timed his attack right and in doing so, made sure that no one could follow.

It helped, of course, that there was chaos behind him. And oh, that chaos was spectacular. And I got what I wanted, who knew? I don't care what Stefan Schumacher says, because he has only himself to blame. Sure, Kirchen's bike was in the way, but we've seen it happen time and again without anything like this happening (and we've seen it happen with much worse consequences). Schumacher needs to accept that he screwed up. Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but I am not overly disappointed.

I love that it's Columbia in the yellow jersey. Just like I liked Mark winning yesterday and Vande Velde's attack, even though it didn't quite turn out the way they wanted. I think this stage basically was a shocker for everyone. I quite enjoyed it -- especially because of Sylvain and the KOM. I had no idea that they tally up the type of climbs you go over if the results are tied. I was so worried that Sylvain wouldn't get it -- especially after all the world he put into the climbs. And then he just fell off the front. But I suppose it was all tactics, because he's not going to try to win the tour. He wants KOM and stage wins (which is what I want, too and I've said it before) and I think he can do both this year. He just has to attack at the right times.

Probably the dropping back tactic was planned and it did work out. After all, he probably knew where Voeckler was and knew that there were more than 25 riders in that front group, so he would win the KOM. And of course, Sylvain was most aggressive rider, again. But Philippe Gilbert, on the other hand, had kind of a crappy stage. He ended up in one of the latter groups, so no GC (at least not now) aspirations for him.
48 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 6.421
24 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux 21.14
Clearly, not so good for Gilbert. But, hey, if he can get in a break and maybe stick around for a winning one, it might not be so bad after all. Sylvain's a lot better off, but I don't know if he's even going to try for that.

Tomorrow is another stage with another break and more VCR working for me. I hope it'll be as exciting as today's.

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