There are a million and one things I could say about this stage, so I will get the bad things out of the way first. First off, I think Fabian Cancellara is an idiot and any respect I had for him is gone. I know that I'm supposed to support the idea of the patron and all that bullshit that Armstrong was so well known for, but after my first couple years as a fan, I got over it. It disgusts me, in a way, that one man can have such control over a stage race consisting of 100+ men. What has he done to deserve that respect? Nothing. I know I'm also supposed to think that the yellow jersey commands power and respect, but I only believe in the respect part. Being race leader doesn't mean you get to choose who gets points and who doesn't. It's not really fair to the rest of the peloton.
Maybe I'm being overly hard, but part of cycling is being able to race in all conditions. And if the big names hit the deck, then so be it. Crashes are a huge part of cycling and I know cyclists are upset and I know I'm not one, but I think that perhaps they are overreacting. I'm really sorry they didn't think the conditions were safe, but I've got to be honest. They've known about this stage, about this whole race, for a long time. If there were complaints to me made, they should have happened as soon as the teams did some scouting. Or, hell, when they saw the route when it was first revealed. It happened with the Giro, so why not complain then? I do know that a stage got thrown out in the Giro because of unsafe road conditions. Which, fine. It's a circuit stage and in those, things don't change. The weather might change, but what's on the road doesn't. But when you're on a normal stage, from point A to point B, conditions change all the time. Just because the rains came and some cyclists could quite handle it, doesn't mean you need to fuck everyone over. But that's what happened.
I could be wrong, but I don't think so. And that's the end of the serious talk. Let's get to the best part of the stage. The only part that really matters. And that's the fact that Sylvain Chavanel got into a breakaway, kicked that breakaway's ass and won the stage.
It started out simple enough, boy goes in breakaway and then it got fun. Boy keeps going and going. And then goes some more. Then, magically (aka via hard work) suddenly he's on his own and the kms are dropping. My stomach's in my throat, I can't sit still and every time there's a commercial break, it feels like it's the end of the world. Every time they show a rider in blue going down, I gasp in fear that it's my boy. But it isn't, it never is and then suddenly there's 10 k to go. Then it's down to 5 and then suddenly, 2.5k and he's so fucking close that I can't stand it. And then it happens. It happens and he wins everything there is to win (except KOM, which goes to his teammate). And I can't believe it. I've watched my two favorites win stages (in '08 and '09), but it was never quite like this. Granted, the first time I watched it at work, the second time I wanted Sylvain desperately to win, but HH (second favorite, hello) won and it was amazing, almost as good as if it was Sylvain, and then there was today.
Nothing else matters to me, really. I wrote the stuff in the first two paragraphs because I had to, because I needed to talk about it. But honestly, as long as they don't take anything away from Sylvain, I don't care. The only thing I care about is that Sylvain won the stage and he's in yellow (and green). He's leading the Tour de France. My favorite rider, my favorite. The cyclist I adore and love more than the rest. The one I always want to win. This doesn't happen and yet it did. It's amazing and wonderful and it's too bad people had to go shit on the stage. But nothing can take away from the fact that my favorite cyclist of all time won a stage of the Tour de France and he's leading whole god damn thing. I love it and I'm so fucking proud of him.
In a way, I don't know if I care about the rest of the Tour. I do, because I want Sylvain to hold onto the yellow as long as possible. But at the same time, the one thing I wanted to happen. The thing that I wanted more than anything else in cycling, happened. I don't know how a girl could ask for anything more.