Friday, July 15, 2011

July 15, Stage 13: Pau - Lourdes 156 km

I saw most of the stage live before work and I'm currently watching the end of this stage while I write this. I already knew what happened, as my mother filled me in while I was walking to Starbucks, but I have to say it was still kind of a shocker to see it happen. Thor, who is best known as a sprinter and a good classics rider basically lived up to his kit/title as World Champion. He road everyone else off their bikes.

Normally I like rides like this, and to be honest, I enjoyed watching it happen. Except for the fact that I really would've like to see Jeremy Roy win today's stage. But such as cycling goes, this wasn't going to happen. I was bummed, as was Jeremy, clearly. He said in a post-race interview that he'd rather have won the stage than the KOM jersey and, honestly, who can blame him? The jersey is great, but there's nothing (as far as I can tell) like winning a stage of the Tour (unless you want to win the whole thing, of course). Maybe Jeremy'll find another stage that suits him and blow our minds with a win.

Thor was pretty damn impressive. He just buckled down and decided enough was enough was enough and he wanted the stage. It was pretty cool to watch him powering along. He swooped past Moncoutie and just kept going, dragging the Cofidis rider along behind him. They caught and passed poor Roy (though I can't recall if they did it together or separate) and the boy never had a chance. Moncoutie came in second, 10 seconds behind Thor and he was followed by Roy, 26 seconds later. Then things got a bit confusing as the rest of the breakaway straggled in. I'd secretly harbored a bit of hope that Edvald would do something, but that was clearly not going to happen. But it was nice, nonetheless, to see him up there in a breakaway.

It's weird seeing Philippe Gilbert fighting for the green jersey, but he never gives up hope. He got a bit outsmarted during the intermediate sprint, but I imagine as the stages wear on and the true sprinters start falling into the gruppetto, that'll change. Unless, of course, Gilbert can't keep up either, and then who know what'll happen. Especially considering there are only 24 points separating Gilbert and Cavendish (with Rojas in the middle, 13 points behind Cavendish). I hope this race heats up a bit more, but at the moment it's a three way contest with Cavendish potentially running away with it if his luck holds out (ugh).

As for the KOM, we haven't even gotten started on that competition yet. If Roy doesn't have the legs tomorrow, I imagine he won't keep the KOM jersey. Nor do I expect Voeckler to be in the yellow jersey for another day. Of course, I could be wrong and the GC folks might decide to do something tomorrow, but I'm not overly optimistic.

Lastly, Sylvain was present, but ended up going backwards. According to some interviews, he seems to be feeling better, but not really sure he's going to be able to do anything but survive for the rest of this tour. If that's the case, then so be it. There are plenty of races left for him this season and a whole half a season of him in the French RR jersey. And, well, he might even win it again next year. I'll keep my eye on him, though. You never know.

No comments: