Light On The TdF
OK I haven't been bugging you with Tour de France blogging but I want, at the end of Stage 6, to point out that the amazing Lance Armstrong, aged legs and all is 22/100 (edit note - I had an extra 0 in there, hundredths, not thousandths, my apologies) of a second off the lead of Fabian Cancellara who rode an absolutely blazing individual time trial in Stage 1 to capture yellow. There are probably at least a dozen riders who have the talent to win but only about half that number have the team support to actually win.
Which brings us back around to Lance and team Astana. As it stands today, Astana holds four of the top five positions in the tour. Lance at 2, Spain's Alberto Contador (winner of the '07 Tour) at 3, Germany's Andreas Klöden at 4 and American Levi Leipheimer (3rd in the 2007 Tour) at 5. Astana could possibly set a new team record for highest finish of the most team members. I have already mentioned that Astana is run by Johan Bruyneel who will be recognized, when he retires, as the greatest team director in Tour history. A brilliant tactician and a master of the psychology of sport.
What may be the only problem with Astana is that Contador and Armstrong are both serious contenders for the win. At some point, one of the two has to support the other and therein may lie some friction. We'll see who comes out of the climbing stages ahead of the other and the tale will be told. Lance has been a brilliant climber and a brilliant time trialist. Contador is possibly the best climber riding the tour today. He should have won last year but Astana as a team was barred because of the blood doping of former team leader Alexander Vinokourov.
OK, I meant to be brief. But this is a great, great Tour this year. If you get the Versus network, please watch a stage or two. The commentary team is superb and the saturation coverage: helicopter and motorcycle cameras let almost the entire peloton get wall-to-wall coverage. Beautiful. Brilliant.
Also, for you chicks out there who dig the bums of fit men, the pictures should have you in a stage of constant arousal.