Go Dad Go!

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

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stage 18 Update

On a day characterized by perfection elsewhere (my dad was at the game!), Alberto Contador rode the Stage 18 time trial perfectly -- my assumption being that anything else would have left Cancellara with the victory, not the tiny climber.

Unlike Cancellara, Wiggins, Millar or other time trial specialists, Contador bounced on his pedals over the course's one categorized climb, and spent a good part of his blitz around picturesque Lake Annecy out of the saddle. It proved more effective than all but a few expected, with some pundits having wondered in writing whether pursuit star Wiggins, or Armstrong himself, might be able to use this Tour's longest time trial to close the gap to the Yellow Jersey; instead, Contador reached perfection; indeed, he achieved an imputed, historic and virtually perfect VO2 max of 99.5.

Behind Contador, the Schlecks, Armstrong, Kloden and Wiggins shuffled among the standings, some performances proving disappointing and a couple pleasantly surprising. Going into the penultimate stage Saturday, which finishes atop Mount(ster) Ventoux (which comes after tomorrow's up-and-down, but probably not decisive stage), we likely have our top three: Contador, Andy Schleck (who isn't likely to be outclimbed by anyone but Contador, and who would thus win the Young Rider's Jersey) and Armstrong, who would find himself in the very unfamiliar position of looking up at another rider on the podium -- unless brother Frank puts in an even more stellar climbing performance, in which case we'd have the all-time skinniest podium triumverate.

Three of four jerseys are likely locked up, then, and the fourth may well be in the Green bag, after Hushovd's gutsy mountain march yesterday. But there's always the prestigious stage win atop Ventoux to be decided, and of course the glorious Champs Elysees sprinters' fest. I'll thus not send out likely winnings; I'll wait until the standings are final and official -- and until I have a head start out of town, torches and pitchforks chasing after me.



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