The TdF As Massive Time Sink
As I write, Tour de France coverage is running on the main viewscreen in another room and I'm listening to Phil Ligget give his absolutely note-perfect commentary as a rookie Columbian rider from the rookie South African Barloworld team (Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez) broke over the hors categorie climb of the Col du Galibier ahead of two Discovery team riders (Alberto Contador and Yaroslav Popyvich) who are charging the descent to make up the difference.
The riding has been superb and heart-breaking as podium contenders have crashed and had to abandon (Michael Rogers) and crashed and held on (Alexandre Vinokourov). Teams have gone from ecstatic to the depths such as T-Mobile which had young Linus Gerdemann win a stage and take the yellow jersey for but a day. And then to have Michael Rogers crash out. T-Mob is now a hurting team. Team Astana, with two possible champions (Vinokourov and Andres Kloden) had both of them crash and make it much less likely for either to win. Though Vino is a serious time trialist and could very well pull himself into contention again.
The American riders are not having much impact though it is still early yet. Levi Leipheimer keeps himself tactically well-positioned but he hasn't shown any brilliant rides that make me think he'll be on the Paris podium. But it would be awfully cool if he could.
Danish rider Michael Rasmussen is in yellow (and holding the polka dot "King of the Mountains" jersey but the leader will always wear the maillot jaune). He rides for the Rabobank team which should be of great concern to the rest of the field. Rabobank fields a very strong team with podium contender Denis Menchov (Russian) and Spaniard Oscar Freire.
I could go on. Obviously. Which goes to show what I pointed to in my post heading: I can spend my entire morning vegged in front of the TV watching this great event. The coverage is superb and, unlike many other sporting events, it has no breaks. I'd better plan to get up early and get the morning ablutions done before the race gets too far down the road. I may not be too fond of France but I love the Tour de.