Saturday, July 11, 2009

Stage 8: Andorre-la-Vieille - Saint-Girons 176.5km

I'm sure that, aside from the scenery, there were many exciting things that happened on this stage. But, to be honest, I missed some of the stage due to cable problems (which eventually sorted themselves out) and not only that, the winner of the stage was definitely not who I wanted. I'll get to that later, though. On paper (the web, whatever) the stage looked like it could be both awesome and have an impact on the yellow jersey. In the end, it didn't really do any of those things, save the beauty of the scenery, but you'd be hard pressed to find a TDF stage that didn't have amazing mountains or buildings or fields or plants or whatever. But there's something about the Pyrenees that just makes you feel like this stage will be a defining moment.

It ended up being a bit of a letdown. Just a bit, because the GC didn't change and while I don't always like it when people dominate, almost anything's better than Astana in yellow. I don't really know what I was expecting on the stage, maybe more attacks. Especially after what happened during stage seven. I mean, there were three mountains, who wouldn't attack? But I forgot that people tend to attack more when the stage is a mountain top finish instead of what stage eight was all about.

The stage basically consisted of yet another breakaway and yet another breakaway winner, which to be honest, wasn't that bad. There were a few people in the break who I really supported, especially George Hincapie and Sandy Casar. For whatever reason, Hincapie sat up (much to my dismay) and that left me yelling at the TV for Sandy to win (and then my mom called and we were both yelling at him). Sadly, he didn't win the stage and it turned out that Spain would get their stage after all. It's not that I really have anything against Luis Leon Sanchez (I liked him when he was on LS), but I really like Sandy Casar more. I think it's partly because Casar is always in the break, always fighting hard and he never gives up, not even after he's won his stage (which I hope he does this year, though not at the expense of, say Sylvain).

It wasn't a dull stage, it just didn't light up any excitement and the darling Nocentini is still in yellow. One big, and slightly disappointing, change is that Thor Hushovd is now in green instead of Cavendish. Thor was briefly in the break, took two of the three sprints and thus took the green jersey from Cav. Disappointing, but not heart breaking because if Cav can make it through the mountains, I'm almost certain he can take it back.

Tomorrow is the last stage before the first rest day. There are two huge mountains that could prove exciting, but this year, you never know.

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