Go Dad Go!

A self-important blog about riding bikes, raising kids and the all-too-rare nexus of these two pursuits.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Stages 1 & 2 Recap (from July 4, 2006)

2003: Now that was a Tour for the ages. Ullrich in good health, threatening Armstrong; Beloki's crash and Lance's subsequent deft cyclo-cross move across the field, thus maintaining contact with the group chasing a surging Vinokourov; Hamilton's finishing the Tour -- and winning a breakaway stage -- with a broken collarbone; and of course Armstrong's run-in with a musette bag on the way to Luz-Ardiden, where he would silence the naysayers and position himself for his record-tying fifth win. A true classic.

There were subplots to the subplots as well, and far down the list was Jimmy Casper's story. A sprinter who would struggle through the mountains without an additional handicap, Casper also broke his collarbone, and also went on to finish the Tour. Karen and I stood on the slopes of that year's first big climb, and watched Richard Virenque blaze through, and then the other climbers, with Armstrong and his USPS support crew, and then second-tier climbers...and then the bigger men of the flatlands...and then the "laughing group" of sprinters too big for the climbs...and then Casper, riding bolt upright, his neck in a brace. I'd always wanted to ride in the Tour (not that I ever came even close to being close, of course), and would have traded, well, what Armstrong traded to do so (that is, a testicle), but I remember thinking, "There's no pro contract large enough that would make me want to be Casper's cleats today."

Which is all relevant because it all came back around for Casper yesterday, as he scored his first stage win. Granted, it happened after Hushovd stopped his sprint when one of those goofy giant, green foam hands tore a gash in his arm, and reportedly after a flying bag filled with water distracted Boonen (who had started his sprint far too early) -- but that's just fine with Jimmy Casper, a Frenchman who inexplicably shares a name with that kid you played hockey with in high school and who still lives back home, working in his dad's beer distributorship; a stage win is a stage win, replete with glory and sponsors' gratitude.

Casper's win gives five points to Kiernan, who will gladly take the extra help from a non-priced, randomly selected winner. But Hincapie, who took over the Yellow Jersey after a very clever go at an intermediate time bonus, adds two points to the totals of the twelve players holding his big frame on their team. Full rankings below.
I conducted the lottery for the winner of the CTS jersey yesterday, after figuring out just who'd paid on time, and the winner (either entirely fittingly or not at all) is Angela "Mom" Fee. Anjo-banjo, as her grandkids call her, has been saying she'd like to try spinning classes, so this is going to work out just perfectly. Congratulations, Mom, and thanks, CTS!
I failed to get the preceding update out yesterday, and didn't get a chance to see stage 2 (traveling with the family; priorities...), so will add the quickest of synopses for the latter. Sounds like a happily normal stage, complete with the requisite breakaway that got caught just before the line (can we add some drama and just get rid of those radios?) and a mad sprint in which McEwen nipped Boonen, perhaps with a little Aussie jostling involved. Hard-luck Hushovd unclipped from his pedal but managed to grab third, a time bonus and the Yellow Jersey back from Hincapie. Those of us holding the Hammer are enjoying the return we're getting on that investment, while Boonen is just now beginning to pay off. The standings below reflect the addition of Walter, whose team I'd failed to enter. His Hincapie-Hushovd-McEwen triumvirate vaults him into the lead.

Do your best to watch Tuesday's stage, which travels some famed cobbled climbs in Belgium; expect a Boonen-Hincapie showdown.


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