Saturday, July 02, 2011

July 2, Stage 1: Passage du Gois La Barre-de-Monts - Mont des Alouettes Les Herbiers 191 km

The 2011 Tour de France is upon us and ... I don't know. I'm excited, or at least I was, and then I was subjected to shitty Versus coverage, both on tape (my own) and live. I was hanging out with my parents during the first part of the race (it was fine) and we made it home for the exciting part -- aka the last 28k or so. It was nice to see the three French boys up front, I was slightly disappointed they couldn't stay away the whole time, but it was nice nonetheless. I hadn't looked over the stage, but my mom said at one point that she'd read the ending was something a bit special and boy was she right. Of course, neither of us expected the crashes and it seems no one else did, either.

I was kind of sad to see that Andre Greipel had crashed early on, but since I'm pissed at Lotto ... Which kind of fails, because I have two of them on my fantasy team (Greipel and Gilbert). Anyway, I'm mad at Lotto because they didn't bring Adam Hansen with them (I wish I knew why), but I still upset about Greipel being injured (and later having to work for Gilbert, even though it ended up working out well). I didn't see the earlier crash, but the two that happened close to the finish were certainly interesting crashes. I'm really not impressed with fans who get in the way of cyclists -- this happens a lot, but usually nothing this shitty happens. I know that it's rare, but that fan caused a huge (as in massive) pile up and no one (NO ONE) likes that. And, really, I hope we don't lose any riders.

That being said ... I'm kind of pleased with the results of this stage:
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 4:41:31
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:06
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling
7 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack
8 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
9 Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioShack
10 Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad
Before I talk about how the stage finished, I want to get a couple things cleared up. I do not want Contador to win. Not because of the doping stuff (though the fact that he's racing is both BS and hilarious), but because I just don't like the kind of cyclist he's become. And I don't want Andy Schleck to win because he's Andy Schleck. And I don't like Wiggins or Evans (because I don't and they're not on my fantasy team, so there). BUT ... If I had to pick, I would choose Wiggins (ugh) and Evans (also ugh), over any of the "favorites." So, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about this stage.

I was totally excited that the Contador group got split from the front group. That really made me happy and even thought I don't like Evans, I'm not really sure I mind him being close to yellow. I don't like crashes, but as someone said (maybe it was my friend Sarah), it's really, really, nice to have someone different in the mix this time. I was extremely surprised to see all the sprinters up at the front (before and after the crashes), but a lot of them are also good at classics, and this was a pseudo-classics finish. I was pretty ticked when Cancellara attacked, the guy just can't get enough (or was he trying to get the peloton to slow down and wait ??? kidding ... mostly). But it made me really pleased when Phil attacked and then totally took the win.

My question is, did Cancellara just decide he didn't have the, ahem, juice, to battle it out with Gilbert or did he quit for some other reason (was he told not to attack when his teammates were so far back?). I don't know and I haven't read anything about today's stage (and I probably won't) so I'm not sure if they asked what happened, but regardless, I was happy to have a first yellow of the tour on a dude who totally isn't a favorite. And it's so fantastic to see Phil winning a stage of the Tour. I liked him since he was a wee thing on FDJ and it's great to watch him come good, even if his hair is ridiculous. And, um, even though I hate Sky, I'm kind of disgustingly pleased that Geraint Thomas is in white.

Tomorrow is the ITT and I'll be keeping an eye on it and on the Wimbledon final. I'll be, um, rooting for ... someone tomorrow, maybe Sky so that Geraint can be in yellow. But you cannot at all quote me on that. Ever. I will deny it.

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