Friday, July 08, 2011

July 8, Stage 7: Le Mans - Châteauroux 215 km

I should be in bed, but I'm writing this instead, if only because it needs to be done. I actually have a lot to say about this stage that I won't say here (about head injuries, etc), but I will say that I'm disappointed in the behavior of certain teams. I'm also kind of disgusted with the behavior of people on twitter, but again, that's another issue.

I'm kind of surprise that these stages have created so many crashes. A lot of people have said it's because of the Tour route, but I'm going to go out on a limb and call bullshit on that one. Like with the Giro, if you haven't prepared, you only have yourself to blame. If you have prepared and you're still falling, which seems to be the case (most of the time), then that means there are some issues with teams in the peloton. The crashes today were spectacular, and not in a good way because plenty of people ended up in hospital. It's hard to believe that it's only the seventh stage of the tour, what with all the carnage we've left on the road. It's almost unbelievable, if I hadn't watch it happen.

Tom Boonen finally retired, something he probably should've done on Wednesday (but that's another issue), poor guy was suffering needlessly. And then the crash happened. I'm a pseudo Sky fan or something, but I am totally unimpressed with their team tactics. Natalie and I had a long conversation about the fact that most of Sky waited for Wiggins, even though it was clear to us (the fans) that he wasn't going to keep racing. He was doing broken collarbone arm hold, poor guy. What they should have done, because they had some guys near the top of the GC, was send Geraint Thomas back up to the front with another rider, maybe Edvald (though I did hear he fell as well, but I haven't confirmed that). But they all waited and I'm sorry, but that's a really poor decision on Sky's part. Natalie believes, and I have to agree with her to some extent, that this was such a shock to them that they didn't know how to react. But, honestly, that's no excuse. Even if Brad wasn't going to abandon, you don't need the whole damn team there, especially when you have some guys who have stuff to defend. I get that Wiggins is your leader, but seriously. Ugh. Sky haven't shown great foresight with tactics in the past and it fails them yet again. Hopefully they can salvage some more stage wins out of this Tour, though.

I was really glad that Sylvain survived and escaped the crash. He had to chase back, but seem to be all right, all things considered. I do hope he's made the right decision to stay in the race. I don't know anymore, though (again, I'm planning a big blog post about this later). There were other issues and the Chris Horner thing is something I'm only going to gloss over, because it makes me so angry. RadioShack made a wrong decision and luckily Horner didn't pay for it.

The sprint was exactly what I'd predicted on twitter, a win for Cavendish. I must say that I don't much care for that, especially since I kind of wanted Greipel to win, just to spite Cav. But of course that wouldn't be the case because of course HTC was far from the crashes, that's what you get for riding up front. How the Schlecks didn't fall is beyond me, luck of the GC, I suppose. At least Cav and his teammates seem to be getting on well, which you can't say for Lotto (no matter what they say in the press, I'm not buying it). It was a decent sprint, not as much fun as his previous win this tour, but I suppose a girl can't have everything. What I did think was hilarious, if horrible and mean spirited (but still funny), was Cadel Evans acting like a petulant child (what an idiot). It seems he accidentally (ha ha) threw water at Cav, I'm not sure what their deal is, but it's almost as good as the tire throwing at last year's Tour, maybe? Proper, crash-free drama, I loves it.

Tomorrow is a more mountainy stage. CN says medium mountains, I say that if the riders keep behaving they have been so far, no mountains will be just medium. I wonder, though, if the peloton will just let the break have at it and not deal with all this crap. The only thing is if Thor's feeling pretty good, Garmin might give chase to keep him in it. But, we won't know until tomorrow. I just hope that, you know, we don't lose any more boys. This race is really taking a toll.

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