Sunday, July 26, 2009

Stage 20: Montélimar - Mont Ventoux 167km

So, Mont Ventoux. This stage was stuck in there to make sure that the yellow jersey wouldn't be a guarantee on the last couple of days of the tour. At least that was my impression. Of course, it didn't work. Now I know what you're thinking, Contador could have had a bad day. The Schlecks could have been on fire. Armstrong could have worked miracles. You know what, though? You're dead wrong.

As soon as Contador slipped on that yellow jersey, the race was never going to end any other way. I'll be honest, there have been times when I've felt like this was the only way this race was going to end. Maybe I wouldn't find it so irritating if Armstrong had decided to stay retired (the bastard). But come on. For a moment, let's forget my hate and talk about the stage.

It was one hell of a stage, ignoring all the GC bullshit (and that's what it was), it was fun. Mont Ventoux for the sake of being a mountain is utterly brilliant. It's up up up up and then BAM the stage is over. I loved it. What made it almost perfect (as it were) was the fact that the lovely and always (always) adorable former leader of the young rider competition, Ton Martin, was riding extremely hard and it was fucking awesome. I haven't yelled that hard since Haussler and Sylvain were riding their stage together. I desperately wanted Tony to win, but Garate, the Rabobank rider, dropped him and Tony practically killed himself trying and succeeding at getting back. So when they finally got up to the line, he was too spent to even try attacking. Which was so heartbreaking because I really wanted him to win.

Behind the stage winner and second, we were hoping that drama would explode. Turns out that didn't happen. Andy and Alberto decided to try and battle it out and it was ridiculous. Alberto didn't attack for whatever reason and Andy didn't attack and spent half his time waiting for Frank. I'm sorry, I know people like them on the same team together, but what the hell. Frank was holding Andy back. I don't know what would have happened -- maybe the breakaway of two wouldn't have lasted. Maybe the stage would have had a different winner. Though probably Alberto would have still been in yellow. But sadly, we'll never know because Andy Schleck was a stubborn bastard and slightly idiotic.

There's one other thing I want to mention and that's Bradley Fucking Wiggins. Seriously, that guy is amazing. And if it wasn't for Armstrong, he'd be in third (fuck you, Armstrong). Seriously, he's so god damn close to being in third place that it's ridiculous. I had more of a rant yesterday, but I wanted to try to be a bit calmer, since there's no way I'll be unbiased. Like with Gerald on Friday and Tony today, I was desperately trying to will Wiggins to catch up with Armstrong and pass it. It wasn't to be, but thank god he didn't lose his fourth place. It's not as good as third and he should be on the podium. Maybe next year.

Over all, the stage was good fun, even while being seriously aggravating. I'm sad that the tour ends tomorrow, but I'm happy to get my life back. Hopefully the final stage won't be as anticlimactic as in the past.

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