2006 Tour de France – Stages 7, 8, and Rest Day

Jul 10 2006

American cycling dilettantes, Chris Carmichael dittoheads, and MIT windtunnel geeks, stand forward and be SHAMED. Nothing like watching some old-school Eastern-Bloc stomp his unaerodynamic, head-bobbing authority all over the race at 50-60 rpms. The Stage 7 victory gave Serguei Gonchar both a piece of the fleece, and a chance to clear up the confusion surrounding his name. Or rather, some of the confusion, as Velonews has now added a “t” and ProCycling appears to have missed the memo entirely. Perhaps it’s best for the Ukrainian to keep some ambiguity, lest he find himself starting on defense for the Pittsburg Penguins.

Gosh, so many other plotlines from the ITT to consider. Levi Leipheimer has offered a full page of non-excuses for finishing six minutes back. I feel bad for the dude, but let’s not forget: I saw this coming. In fact, it was an off-day for most Americans, as Julich crashed out (again), while Dave Zabriskie, along with Hincapie, and everyone on Disco were over 2 minutes down. Only Floyd Landis brought it like he meant it, despite fighting Bo Jackson’s disease, over-strict UCI officials (not that it made a real difference) and suspect Easton carbon. Actually, I love to see high-priced tech fail spectacularly, just to remind people that despite the blinky ads’ insistance to the contrary, you can’t buy speed (unless it’s from this guy).

So, anyway, T-Mobile dominated the TT, thus climbing and strangulating the GC like kudzu vine. The next day, Stage 8, 2004 Tour L’Avenir winner Sylvain Calzati busted clear with some others and the T-Mob said “Sylvain who? Tour L’what? Talk to us about pulling once we hit the Alps”. With Boonen having essentially surrendered, and Robbie Mac and Davitamon fat with success already, there was no chase to speak of, and the ’06 Tour got its first true breakaway win and clever Cyclingnews headline. That brings us to today’s rest day, with photographers apparently too drunk to center their subjects, and webmasters too hungover to modify their pages. Ah, if only stateside blogging offered the same alcohol-fueled revelry as the real Tour experience (though I’m told the North End did get pretty wild yesterday).

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