Go Dad Go!

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

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Stages 13 & 14 - July 16

I'll say it again: this is all taking some getting used to. In the Era of Lance, it would be all sewn up by now. Sure, we'd tell ourselves, "You never know; Ullrich could come back a lot in that final time trial..." or "Basso's really the better climber..." or -- my favorite, from the true aficions of cycling, "Lance can ride well in the Alps, but not the Pyrenees..." -- but you knew it was over after the first time trial and the opening stages through the mountains. Maybe not in '03, but in every other year since 2000, by now, les jeux etait fait.

But this year, A.L. 1, things couldn't be much more different. The jersey has changed torsos seven times; the record for an entire Tour, sure to be tied and possibly broken, is eight. And just when we thought we'd seen our leader Floyd don the Maillot Jaune, and possibly for good, his so much as gave it away -- practically begged Pereiro, or anyone else who wanted it, to take it, so as not to have to protect it on those painfully interminable and sweltering days through Provence. I'm guessing that those aficions would scoff, longing for the days when Coppi/Anquetil/Merckx/Hinault would defend the Yellow Jersey like it was the Golden Fleece, but Phonak's riding strikes me as a whole lot smarter.

Tomorrow, then, we hit the Alps, with the record-breaking heat adding another variable (speaking of which, did I mention that I saw An Inconvenient Truth?). Maybe we find out that Floyd doesn't ride well in the heat -- or that Menchov doesn't, since he's the one from Oryol, Russia, not northern San Diego County. Or maybe Evans' mountain biking-honed climbing is better suited to the cols of the Alps -- or that Sastre's or Kloden's experience will carry them through the throngs of crazed fans up those fabled climbs. And if someone can come out of the Alps with a lead over Landis, will it be enough to survive the final time trial? Again, the only thing I know is that I don't know who's going to win.

Actually, I know something else: de la Fuente isn't going to hang onto that Maillot a Pois Rouge much longer. Rasmussen's clearly too keen on repeating last year's mountain-chicken performance, though his teammate Michael Boogerd might seems intent on making it tough on him. Assuming that I'm right (and Lord knows that's not a safe assumption), then Romas' yellow/green/polka-dot triple threat won't carry him right to the top of our virtual podium, and like the Tour, first place in our game -- and the $220 that goes with it! -- are still up for grabs.

So set those alarms, folks, or leave the door to the baby's room wide open. Set the trainer up in front of the TV, let your boss know you're coming down with something resembling altitude sickness, and gear up for the day I'm trying to convince my kids really is better than Christmas: Alpe d'Huez Day. Don't miss it.



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12:20 AM  

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