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

Update: Stage 6 - From July 7

Friday night, and I'm home alone. At least, Karen's out with Catie and her friend, attending a local production of Annie. Declan's in bed, and Mack and his friend are in the backyard playing. I'm home alone on a Friday night -- and I couldn't feel much more content. I have a glass of wine in my hand, and I've just watched the last 20 kilometers of today's stage -- for the second time. Phil and Paul's voices still echo through my head, and the sight of Robbie McEwen vaulting himself from the expert leadout of Gert Steegmans to another win is still a vivid picture before me. Tomorrow the "second Tour" begins, and my head will thus rest easily on my pillow tonight, as I drift off knowing that as much as I've enjoyed following the Tour this week, it's only just begun.

Of course, this Tour is an odd one. In years past, we were heading into the mountains by this time, whereas this year we're stopping just briefly from the all-sprinters-all-the-time routes of this first week; after tomorrow's long time trial, we'll watch two more relatively flat stages, followed by one that, while mountainous, to say the least, should see a large group arrive at the finish together, a long descent having brought many of the non-climbers back to the head of the peloton. Only on Thursday, halfway into the Tour, will we see our first true mountain stage, capped off by a finish at 1800 meters at Pla-de-Beret, which is French for "Place so high you need to wear a goofy French hat."

Nonetheless, within twelve hours of this writing we'll have a whole new Tour on our hands. Boom-boom Boonen will no longer wear yellow; instead, it will be Oh-Boy Floyd, or Aussie-Aussie-Aussie-oy-oy-oy Mick Rogers, or maybe Dave Zabriskie, known unoriginally to his friends as "Z-man," but to unsqueamish Jewish cycling fans as "Bris." No matter what, the Tour should look very different very soon.

But our standings might not. Walter's lead appears commanding, especially in light of the fact that I'm pretty sure Pete's second-place team is actually the one he submitted last year, and that I never changed when he failed to submit a team this year. That McEwen-Boonen combo was mighty prescient, Pete! (Though maybe not the Vino/Botero one-two.) With a ten-point lead over Robin and Tony, and seventeen points ahead of his fair bride Kat, Walter could well ride a strong Hincapie time trial to many more days at the front of the pack -- perhaps all the way to Paris.

Of course, there's a lot of racing still to come, and even if this year isn't one for the climbers (so why did I pick Evans and Rujano?), Hincapie's still an awfully big steed to ride over the Tourmalet and the Galibier, and on up to Alpe d'Huez.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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