Tour de France '07 – Back From the Dead Again

Jul 23 2007

Entertaining though it may be, I am highly suspicious of Vino’s roller coaster riding. Granted, I’ve never raced a Grand Tour, so I can’t say firsthand how the body reacts, but this up-again, down-again seems physiologically improbable, at least through natural means. A brief look back at some notably inconsistent rides would seem to support this:

Santiago Botero at the 2002 TdF – wins the first TT, loses 15 minutes, bounces back to win the next day. At the ’05 Giro, it was Ivan Basso who rode strong early, cracked massively with a stomach bug, won two stages, then cracked again the next day. And I think we all remember last year’s Tour. What do these cases all have in common? Yeah, you guessed it.

But strange results are hardly grounds for ejection from a race, right? After all, even with all the negative press on Rasmussen, cycling experts agree that you can’t just kick him out on suspicion, right? The Tour would never allow anything like that to happen. The worst cycling authorities can do is click their tongues and say they’d prefer not to see a Rasmussen victory, same as they would have preferred not to see seven consecutive Lance Armstrong victories. In fact, it’s pretty clear who they’d prefer not to see win – just make a note of whose buses they search.

Anyway, getting back to racing, Contador and Rasmussen further distanced all others today, and with only two major obstacles remaining before Paris, it looks like the winner will be one of these two dudes. Contador took more than a few potshots at The Chicken today, but as the photo shows, he couldn’t do much more than ruffle his feathers. Tomorrow’s a rest day, so it’ll be interesting to see how everyone’s legs react to the resumption of hostilities on Wednesday’s final mountain test.

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