The Tour Baby!!

The 2010 Tour de France has so far been more like a demolition course rather than a bike race. In just 4 stages we’ve seen just about every cyclist hit the deck, some twice. Everything from broken collarbones (Frank Schleck) to scraped knees and elbows. Usually you don’t see crashes of this nature in just 5 days of racing. Some say the race organizers are pushing the limits of exciting television at the expense of the riders. At the end of stage 2 the cyclists had enough and protested the finish.  Fabian Cancellara wearing the maillot jaune (yellow jersey) directed the peloton to slow down and ride as a group across the finish. They had enough for one day with crashes galore throughout the course and by sitting up without a sprint finish it was their way to tell the judges they weren’t paid for crashes and wrecks and weren’t going to risk their lives any more than necessary for prize money.

It has definitely been thrilling to watch as Lance Armstrong goes for his eighth win on the heels of his last Tour de France. He lost some time on stage 3 due to a mechanical out on the cobbles. Typical to Lance’s style he fought back to limit his loss as much as possible putting him 2 minutes and 30 seconds behind the leaders jersey at 18th place. Today they are heading into stage 5 and it’s probably going to be another day for the sprinters which is good because the peloton could use a slower day.  In my opinion the tour is not the same without Lance and it will be sad to see him go. He has brought great attention to this sport here in the States but yet by him stepping down it paves the way for new up and coming cyclists like Taylor Phinny to shine.

As I watch the stages everyday I still can’t believe that by the end of the 3 week tour these guys will have travelled the same amount of miles I did all year, 2,263. Can you believe that?  That means they cover an average of a century everyday for 3 weeks. I’m not sure most people are grasping how hard core these guys are. They can burn an average of 7,000-8,000 calories a day. And if you throw in a mountain stage they can add on even more sometimes losing up to 3-4 pounds in one ride.  Professional cycling is truly the hardest sport there is.  There are no other athletes that put themselves through the amount of pain that these guys and GALS do.  Yes there are PRO women as well who are just as hard core.  Though not in the Tour de France, they have their own ride to compete against each other called Le Grande Boucle Feminine.  These women are not to be messed with and it’s unfortunate they don’t get the same type of big sponsorship the men do because I’m sure they’re just as exciting if not more to watch.  Cyclist, men and women, are so “hard core” that they can crash and break their collarbone and still continue riding the rest of the day to help their team.  WTF?  That’s determination if you ask me.  Just think about it, you have a broken collarbone in your shoulder and you’re bouncing around on a bike upwards of about 26-28 mph average for around 100 miles.  Pure crazy, but awesome to watch.

I won’t miss a day this year as it is Lance’s last Tour de France, so he says…again.  The first few days have not been disappointing and with the mountains coming up this weekend it will surely be fun to watch as they separate the men from the boys.  If you’ve never watched cycling I highly suggest it.  Sure there are days in a long Tour that seem boring to some, but once you get an idea of what’s going on and can understand the team tactics and the sport then you’re sure to be as excited about it as I am.  Good luck to all the US riders in the tour and kick some ass.

“Mantenha o lado da borracha para baixo”

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