As War Rages
I diddle with details. First, I just couldn't the formatting right on the post below which means I'll re-post it this weekend but without the distracting size changes. My apologies.
And the other one: Voted Best Time Sink Evar! - coverage of the Tour de France on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) Now that I have DirecTV, I get to watch live coverage of the TdF and it's insanely great. To watch breakaways run out ahead of the peleton, then to watch the peleton reel the breakaways back in, to see the sprinters scramble over the finish and even to watch a team rider tow a rider back up to the peleton is just fantastic. I can't even describe how beautiful it is to watch the brilliantly-colored mass of 170 or so riders streaming through the compact streets of an ancient town or through the wider roads of the lovely French countryside.
Today's Stage 12 was won by Yaroslav Popovych a Ukrainian who rides for the American Discovery Channel (which is the offspring of the USPS team which Lance fronted for most of his tour wins) team. Popovych rode a brilliant endgame (riding four attacks at a solo breakaway before taking it on the fourth) to win and give Discovery a much-needed shot in the arm. Johan Bruyneel is the superb tactician for Discovery and the man who managed Lance's amazing Tour career. I think he has a few tricks up his sleeve this year yet.
On the other hand, the T-Mobile team has been staggering. First in losing Jan Ullrich before the start of the Tour to doping accusations and then staggering in racing the hell out of the early stages. At one point there were (as I recall) four T-Mobile riders in the top ten riders. I sincerely hope that Ullrich can clear the doping charges as he has been second in the TdF more times than is easy to deal with. A Tour win for Jan would be a karmic good thing. But obviously not this year.
So who's on top? I haven't found the overall standings after today's stage but goofy-looking American Floyd Landis who rides for the Phonak team has taken the yellow jersey and has a serious chance to win it all. He is my sentimental favorite because he is going to have hip replacement surgery after the Tour.
UPDATE: Floyd is still in yellow. Excellent! and here is a great page for the layout of today's stage with a map and an elevation diagram.
Yikes! In watching the coverage I totally missed the fact that Discovery lost two team members today. This makes a team win virtually impossible. I'll have to watch the extended coverage tonight to see what happened to them. I did watch Team CSC's American rider Bobby Julich's crash in the individual time trial. Scary. Not quite as horrifying as Joseba Beloki's crash a couple of years ago but horrifying nonetheless.