acoralsea

life is like the tide…it comes and goes on its own time

TDF Stage 20 Arrivee a Paris

Driving distance from Longjumeau to Paris Champs Élysée is about 24km, but the boys on the bikes have to do a total of 102.5 km, by the time they fly around 8 loops on the most famous avenue in the world before the final sprint.

Today is when Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen and Bob Roll dress in suits to welcome the boys home and celebrate with celebs and cycling personalities. Yesterday, Contador increased his overall lead from 8 to 39 seconds, a blow to Andy Schleck. Then again, a lot of the top ranked cyclists finished down in the 100’s, weird turn of events. We already know who will wear the final jellow jersey of this year’s Tour; but another jersey win is to be determined after the sprint, the coveted green. Andy will, once again, stand on the podium, albeit, once again, not on the highest block. Still, he did earn a top position, and that’s an achievement in itself. Maybe next year…

Team Radio Shack came out wearing the number 28 on their backs in memory of 28 million cancer survivors, Livestrong being one of the strongest fundraising organizations for cancer research. Were it not for his survival, we wouldn’t have Lance and his most incredible Tour career, even though he was already an Olympian and world cycling force to be reckoned with. But, the race organizers ordered them to put on their regular jerseys, or they would not be able to race this stage. Kids, don’t do this at home – changing jerseys while on the bike is for the pros. Lance pulled over to the side to put his on. Then, they were stopped by referees because they didn’t have their numbers on their backs. Well, perhaps this was a matter of trying to act first, ask for permission, later. But, Radio Shack can’t afford to lose the team place, so they had to stop and fix their jerseys. So the rest of the peloton is riding slowly until everyone is together, even stopped by the race organizers, until Lance gets his numbers on, but they couldn’t wait too long. It’s a good thing the neutral zone is fairly long through town. Have you ever tried to pin a number on with gloves? I can’t do anything with gloves on, even the half finger ones.

I never got to see the finish in Paris. My first time there, I was on my way to Grenoble, and barely got to see the peloton fly by. That was back in the days when Eddie Merckx dominated the Tour. The next time, I missed the finish by about a month. Oh, well, back then, I really didn’t understand just how important the event was to the French, as it was such a foreign concept to race on a bike around France, over mountains and dale, for 21 days.

Well, as Paul Sherwen says, they’re going to miss Lance in the Tour, as “he has always provided a little drama.

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