Tour de France '07 – Soler Solos, Vino' Sours

Jul 17 2007

See? What’d I tell you – never trust a Directeur Sportif. Vino’s healed up my foot. If by “healed up”, you mean about to collapse to the tune of three and a half minutes behind a wild-card breakaway. Even the support of a dedicated Borat impersonator couldn’t get Vino’ over the top with the leaders. There is a bright spot for Astana in all this, though; the TdF Network has finally dropped the Kazakhs’ ridiculous remake of “Who’s the Boss?” from daily rotation.

T-Mobile, on the other hand, has had a far less Pyrrhic change of fortune. The squad managed not to lose anyone today, and put a quiet-thus-far Kim Kirchen into the Top 10 on GC, despite the best efforts of a rogue Labrador. Of course, this will still do nothing to quell Bob Stapleton’s incessant whining about rider safety. Maybe he should direct the T-Mobile track squad, instead.

Returning to the topic of trust, though, try not to listen to Chris Carmichael, either. I’ve never been a fan, but his Pez column this past Saturday was a new low. I double-take every time I see the Valverde/Indurain comparison – keep in mind, this man gets paid to teach people about bike racing. Honestly, I can’t think of two riders any less similar. Maybe Backstedt and Rujano.

Valverde did today what he should have done this weekend – attacked to put time into struggling opponents. It was the Spaniard’s jump that finally broke Vino’ – if he’d launched with Moreau on the climb to Tigne, he’d have iced Kloden, Sastre and Leipheimer’s GC threats as well. Of course, with Levi off the back, Disco would be riding for Contador, meaning they might actually have a shot at winning this year’s Tour…

But if trust is to be the defining theme of this post, I guess some of you might argue that I led you astray, too, in insisting there’d be no more GC action until the time trial. But viewed objectively, there really wasn’t too much shuffling in the top end of the race today. With the exception of Vino’, all the big names are still chillin’ in the Top 10, and other than the TT specialist Dane off the front, all within 2 minutes of each other. So even with 110k of chrono remaining, unless someone takes Stuart O’Grady’s advice to heart, puts their head down and tries to win this dang thing, the ’07 Tour may be decided by the lottery of who’s feeling best on Stage 15.

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