Go Dad Go!

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

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stage 16 Update

Sorry folks. Couldn't resist.

What I should have started with is, "Given the rancor that has characterized this Tour, as described in my last post, and wanting to avoid having such rancor directed at me, I want to apologize for how this pool seems to be shaping up, and to announce that I will donate all of my winnings to the Foundation for Frustrated Father-Cyclists."*

Instead, I'll say this: I've held pools like this for five years; I've never, ever won anything; Contador struck me as the clear and absolute favorite months ago;

and it's over, folks.

I'll also offer this: I determined to get Contador in my stable of riders for the purposes of "emotional insurance." That is, I'm not a Contador fan. I believe that he's either doped in the past, or is doping now -- or both (and if he ever gets busted, I'll indeed donate those winnings, and to a worthy cause). I'd much rather see someone else win -- Sastre again, or a Schleck, or yes, Armstrong. But with the emotional insurance of owning him in our pool I figure I have some upside regardless of the outcome.

My God; if Ayn Rand had ever run a Tour de France pool, she'd have written that last paragraph.

The Tour isn't over; there's much more to be resolved. The Green Jersey competition could come down to the Champs Elysees; the Young Rider's race should fall to Andy Schleck, but the Annecy time trial could see Martin or Nibali take it back, leaving the slopes of the Ventoux as the final battleground. Polka-dots are still up for grabs too, as Pellizotti seems determined to hold on to the climbers' jersey -- but not necessarily capable of doing so.

But the Maillot Jaune? It would take a collapse of Bear Stearns-esque proportions to see it end on anyone's scrawny shoulders but Contador's. Should he lose a massive amount of time to a severe bonk, or a crash, or two flat tires, a broken chain and the Astana and Mavic support cars steering off the side of the Galibier, he's shown that he can take back as much time and more over a couple of mountain passes -- or even in a time trial.

Again, this Tour still has stories worth following: Has Wiggins transformed himself to such a degree under Vaughters' tutelage that he can finish on the Tour podium? Will Cancellara win the final time trial? Can Armstrong get himself onto the podium?

But as far as the winner goes -- and I sincerely hope I'm wrong, that we're still in for surprises over four potentially exciting, typically-decisive stages -- I think this Tour is over.


*The reason I'd write this is because by winning yesterday, Contador earned me not just 1.5% for a mountain stage victory, but NINE Maillot Jaune stages as well -- his first one, yesterday, and eight from unowned Nocentini. Oops.


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