This is late, but yesterday was full of sports and other things and I just couldn't be bothered. I'll do the rest day piece at some point later today. Anyway, stage eight was the first 'real' mountain and it was pretty good. I really enjoy mountain stage when things are blown apart (good job, TDF '10). It seems that not everyone recovered well from stage seven, which was okay. We know that would happened. I guess some people were surprised and disappointed that Sylvain lost his jersey, but I wasn't (and I said as much on twitter and on my blog). Not the least because I expected this to happen. I didn't want it to, I hoped it would, but I wasn't kidding myself either. Sylvain's a TDF stage winner, and he could winner smaller stage races -- but he is good at the smaller mountains (aka middle mountains) and that's what he proved on Saturday. So losing the yellow jersey on Sunday wasn't unexpected.
A lot of people said it was the pressure of being French and wearing the jersey and I can't disagree, especially regarding what happened on stage three. But there's also bad luck, hard mountains, people attacking. I've said it a million times, there are no free gifts at the tour. If I didn't remember that maybe I'd be depressed about him losing the jersey, but I'm not stupid. The fact that he's had the jersey twice and won two stages is more than enough for me as a fan. I can't say that I'm not disappointed, because I am. I'm just realistic. One thing that seems unrealistic, but keeps happening, is that Robbie McEwen just doesn't give up (hey, just like Sylvain) and even though the world seems to be against him, he manages to stick around. I hope this keeps up because I really like him, asshole or not (take that, old me. People do change.).
Okay, so the stage happened and it was drama. Lots of drama. The best part of the stage was seeing Lance Armstrong fail. Don't get me wrong, three crashes sucks and I felt a bit embarrassed for him. But come on, a little schadenfreude never hurt anyone and I'm going to enjoy this for a long time. He never should have come back from retirement and even if he's doping (which I assume he is, because I believe they all are), he's really just not that good enough anymore. It's just painful to watch him. I think people keep talking about he should retired from the Tour and I can't imagine that happening. Though if it does, it'll prove just how much of a coward he really is. But I can't see it, he's not big on quitting (and staying quit, meh). But now he's not a contender at all (and oh my GOD it is amazing).
The real question is who is? I thought I'd be happy to see Cadel Evan in the jersey, but in the ed it just made me dislike him again. There's just something super irritating about ... well, everything about him. It's not even because he 'took' the jersey from Sylvain. It's because he just irritates me. Which really limits my options as far as who to support in the GC. But ignoring that, it was fun to watch the race for the top of the mountain (have I told you that I love mountain top finishes, because I do, a lot). What's ironic about Evans getting the yellow jersey is that he was going backward when Andy Schleck took off for the win. So he got it just by the fact that Sylvain could keep up. I'm trying not to enjoy that too much, either, because I feel sort of bad about thinking that.
The final sprint (ha) as it were, was kind of crazy-wild. It's hard to believe we're only starting the second week of the tour. It was like a massive finish near the last few stages of the race. I can't even begin to imagine what it's going to be like in two weeks! One thing I do hope is that the names at the top all stay close together, time wise, at the top. I've said it before, dominating is never fun. My big question is if BMC is going to protect the yellow (or if they're even able to, because Astana looks like they might be strong in the mountains, if they can work together) or if they're even going to try. Someone 30 minutes back might end up in a break that doesn't get caught,which was similar to what happened with Voeckler. I can see BMC allowing that to happen, though probably not on Tuesday, if only because the jersey is so much (too much) pressure.
Anyway, Monday's a rest day and Andy Schleck and his stupid celebration will get to enjoy a day off. I hope that the rest day doesn't mess too much with the cyclists I like and that Sylvain can save himself up for another few attacks. I'll post a rest day thing, as I said before, later tonight.