Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12, Stage 10: Aurillac - Carmaux 161 km

Unfortunately, due to a variety of things, I wasn't able to see this whole stage, so this is going to be a slightly shorter stage report than maybe you're used to. Or maybe you don't care. Regardless, I saw the only part that mattered -- the end.

I will comment to say that I'm really, really tired of crashes. Maybe you expect me to cheer because Cancellara (aka a Leppard) finally crashed. But, guess what? I might dislike the guy, but I don't want any cyclist to crash, ever. It doesn't matter what my personal feelings are, I don't like to see anyone suffering.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I want to say that everyone loves a good sprint. Some people may bitch about boring stage races, but if I'm able to, I love watching them. The scenery, the views of the peloton in motion, the thrill of hoping the breakaway lasts while knowing it won't, the straw animals that look like kangaroos on bikes -- they all make the flat stages awesome (but I like the sheep best). There's something comforting, in a way, to watching flat stages. They aren't boring, they're soothing (unless they're crash filled). They show how a well working peloton should, well, flow. So you can understand why I'm always bummed when I can't watch flat stages (or stages in general). But I was luckily enough to be able to see the last few k of the stage.

First off, the front of the peloton sure improved their bike handling skills after the break was caught. The end of the stage was all corners and they handled it without much difficulty, as far as I could tell. But the best part was the sprint finish. I really thought Cavendish had it in the back. His leadout was looking really strong, as per usual, but something happened. I don't know if he briefly got boxed in or what, but out of nowhere came Greipel. Everyone knows about the mess that is Cav vs Andre and, well, I love that kind of thing. And, you know, it was great to be able to yell "suck it, Cav" at the computer screen (well, on twitter), because of all the shit that's gone down between them.

The takeaway is that Greipel won, finally. But not only did he won, but he beat Cavendish, at the Tour de France. And that, my friends, is definitely not a shit small race. Whatever Cav thinks (and I haven't sought any interviews or anything, because I honestly don't care), Greipel can definitely hold his own and damn, I was happy to watch him win.

Tomorrow is another sprinter's day, at least in theory. I wonder if Greipel can make it a double or if someone else I like can win. Fingers crossed that there won't be any crashes, or at least bad ones.

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