Running In Circles
Sunday, July 24th
Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Other Exercises: None
Comments: Today was a planned rest day—no workout.
The final stage of this year's Tour de France was a little bit more exciting than I expected. Sure, things started slowly, the riders pedaling along leisurely as Armstrong chatted with everyone and sipped Champaign. Vinokourev, however, injected the stage with some aggression. Since he was only two seconds down on Leipheimer for fifth place on G.C., he attacked for the time bonus on the first intermediate sprint. He won, taking the six-second bonus, but Leipheimer was right behind him, scoring a four-second bonus to limit Vino's net gain to two seconds. Although that left them tied, Leipheimer stayed in fifth based on the fractions of a second recorded on the Time Trail stages.
The rain wreaked havoc, raising a sheen of oil on the pavement. Half of the Discovery Channel team crashed on a corner descending into Paris. The race officials decided to take the time at the end of the first loop and cancelled the time bonuses—or so I thought. Vinokourev made another brilliant attack just outside of a kilometer to go and won the stage. Then for some reason, the officials decided to award the time bonuses anyway. Vino moved into fifth place. I can't help but feel Leipheimer got ripped off. His Gerolsteiner team might have responded more aggressively if they'd known the time bonuses were still on.
With Vino gobbling up all big sprint points, neither McEwen nor O'Grady managed to overtake Thor Hushovd for the Green Jersey title. Thor is the first Norwegian to win it. No one else I know seems to care about the Sprinters, but I've followed the competition closely ever since I started rooting for Djamolidin Abdujaparov back in the early nineties.
It was quite a day for Scandinavia, as Mikael Rasmussen became the first Dane to win the Polka Dot Jersey. He may have had the most disastrous ITT in recent memory, but he managed to get over the line in Paris to hold onto the King of the Mountains lead. And frankly, seventh overall isn't too shabby.
WARR: T-minus 55 Days