Go Dad Go!

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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stage 12 Update

You're all coiled up like springs, right? Just ready to pop with excitement tomorrow?

Me, I'm like my son Declan after after the drive to Oregon, the one that starts early in the morning. Those of you who see Declan on a normal day, when he can exert some energy: imagine what he's like after being strapped into his car seat for 11 hours?

Oh -- and add the fact that we're not above feeding him sugar to mollify him during the final Corvalis-to-Portland stretch.

Yes, I feel like I've been cooped up, restrained by Astana's plodding gamesmanship, Columbia's disciplined dominance of the peloton and the effects of finish lines that come 70 kilometers after the Tourmalet. I'm ready to scream at the TV, lie on my couch in front of the TV, pedaling my feet in the air, hoping vicariously to go on the attack up an Hors Categorie climb (I've really done these things in the past); maybe I'll wear my Maillot Jaune to work -- when I finally arrive, after spending the morning in front of Versus -- or go to one of those street corner flag merchants and purchase the colors of tomorrow's winner to hang outside our house.

I'm saying I'm ready for a stage with some drama.

Though we might not get it. The buzz in the cycling punditry (yes, it exists) is that tomorrow we'll finally see a shakeup in the General Classification -- but I'm not convinced. As Jim suggested today, like him or not, Lance Armstrong's -- and PostaDiscAstana's -- cold, control-freak approach to the Tour doesn't make for exciting racing. And the route, while up-and-down all day, includes no field-shattering cols, and ends 30 kilometers after the final climb, likely enough for an avid chasing group to rein in any ambitious climbers. But I hope I'm wrong!

This isn't all to say that the race is without drama. The sprinters' competition remains tight and heated, with two racers of different strengths, styles and temperaments starting to hunt mid-race points as they chase and trade the Green Jersey. The young riders' race is drawing attention as Martin, heretofore a promising, if single-faceted rider suddenly seems capable of riding with the world's best climbers and flatlanders (hmmm...Schumacher, anyone?), as grimpeur heir-apparent Roman Kreuziger searches for opportunities to close the gap between them. And the polka-dot jersey competition got much more interesting today: After Pellizotti realized that the Tour de France is indeed much tougher than the Giro, and that he had a better shot at the climber's title than the overall podium, he sprinted for every point-earning summit, beating current jersey wearer Egoi Martinez by, er, a hair.

Chase as he tried, Pellizotti could only add to the second-place finish he achieved earlier in this Tour a third spot today, as Nicki Sorensen (which I think is also the name of a really hot cheerleader I had a crush on in high school -- same spelling) attacked his breakmates and stole this edition's second solo victory. The Dane looked great as he held off both the chasers and the pack, which seemed to suffer again from a serious case of ennui; as he's unowned, though, he earned nothing for any of our players.

The pots thus build. An owned rider tomorrow earns double winnings, while an owned rider who finally moves ahead of Nocentini will win something like 5% of the pot for his owner.

As if we needed more reason to be excited about tomorrow's stage! Let's hope it doesn't disappoint.


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