Saturday, July 23, 2005

Per Your Request, Dashiell

Le Update, just for you

Stage 20, the penultimate stage, was today. They ride to Paris tomorrow.

Well, it's a done deal. Lance had his first stage win of the tour today. It was meaningful because 1) well heck, it's le tour and it's a big deal to win a stage, 2) this was his last chance to prove he's da man in the individual time trial, and he kicked ass and took names, and 3) as of tomorrow, he's retired. I can't even explain the way this guy rides a bike. While the other guys are foaming at the mouth and sweating and obviously struggling, he's just gliding along moving his legs so fast you can't even imagine. It's unreal, and it's been a joy to watch. No really.

So remember how I predicted he would win stage 15? That didn't happen, but the most amazing thing did. Lance has eight other teammates on the Discovery team who's job it is to bring Lance into Paris in first place. It's apparent that he has the best teammates around, and they've been making the ultimate sacrifice since 1999 when Lance started winning. So since 1999, and his first tour win, no teammate of Lance has ever won a stage, ever. Enter Discovery teammate and fellow American George Hincapie, who has been at Lance's side for each of his 6 previous wins. At the beginning of the stage, Hincapie covered the break - meaning there was a breakaway at the front of the peloton and he went with them in order to protect Lance later if he needed to. Well, he didn't ever need to protect Lance and he had the legs to make it to the end and win the Queen's stage - hardest stage of the tour apparently. Hincapie was criticized by the guy who came in second, who said he "sat on" all day (coasted along behind him, thereby not exerting as much energy). But whatever, that guy did the same thing the next day to win stage 16. Anyway, I think that day was the highlight of the tour for me. You know how much those guys sacrifice for Lance, and it was awesome to see a teammate win. Another of his teammates, Paolo Savoldelli, then went on to win Stage 17.

It's been an awesome ride. I'll be up at 7:30am tomorrow morning watching as they zoom into Paris. They'll have coverage on CBS in the afternoon, but it's so corny that you just might as well find a friend who has OLN and make a house call. We watched CBS coverage last week and they packed like 6 stages into 1 hour, they played lots of orchestral music, and when they said Hincapie won, they never said he was on Team Discovery. It was pure crap.

I might need counseling once this whole thing is over because I've been glued to OLN for the past 22 days, and I don't know how exactly I am going to de-Lance.

And just if you're wondering why I already know he's won when the race isn't over yet, he's 4:40 ahead of Ivan Basso, and unless pigs start flying down the Champs-Elysees tonight there's no way in hell anyone can make that much time up against Lance and Team Discovery. So there. They'll be drinking champagne all the way into Paris. Ahh, champagne.

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