Today, was the longest stage of this year’s edition, 150 miles or so, the last thirteen of which were up infamous Mont Ventoux. Not your normal Sunday morning Bastille Day ride around the Loop in Cherokee Park.
Think, say, the ride up Cochran Hill, except 26 times longer . . . without a break. After already riding 135 miles.
Oh yeah, remember that the route is lined with hundreds of thousands of people. Many of whom dress like it’s a Halloween Beaux Arts Ball at a School of Art. These are yahoos who feel compelled to jump in front of the riders, taking their photos, or waving flags or other paraphernalia in the faces of the competitors. (Visualize, say, 20 or 30 members of the Michigan cheering section, running onto the court, waving Wolverine banners, trying to distract Peyton Siva on a breakaway to the hoop.)
Which is to say, the wheat is easily separated from the chaff on Ventoux.
Absent a complete breakdown or injury, Chris Froome appears a lock to be the second Brit in a row to capture the Tour. His was a champion’s performance, capturing today’s arduous stage and increasing his lead over potential rivals. Alberto Contador was left in the dust.
Then again, there are a couple of killer stages left, before the bicyclists arrive in Paris next Sunday. Including one where they climb L’Alpe d’Huex not once but twice in a single day. It’s an eight and a half mile ascent at an average 7.5% grade. Do it once. Then do it again. In the last 35 miles of the stage, after already riding 75 miles, two and a half weeks into the three week race.
It’s Darwinian, I tell ya, truly the Survival of the Fittest.
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Now we know why Lexington’s Tyson Gay has been so fast this track season, coming off injuries.
Which leads me to this conclusion, why not just allow professional athletes to use PEDs?
Lance Armstrong might have been drugged up, but so were his competitors. He won 7 tours in a row.
So what that it will turn every MLB game into a Home Run Derby. Or that it will add ten years more to Ray Lewis’s career. Or that some pumped LB will sooner rather than later literally decapitate a wideout. The NFL is Rollerball already anyway.
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He was on the losing end of Homer Baily’s gem a few weeks back.
Then last night, he blanked the Padres in San Diego. Took him 148 pitches to do it. Good thing he doesn’t hurl for the Nats. They’d have pulled him in the 7th.
Meanwhile, in a sad bit of baseball news, Max Scherzer lost his first game last night.
Boston, Detroit and Oakland will be the AL Division leaders, heading into the All-Star break. Atlanta, Arizona and St. Louis and/or those darn Pittsburgh Pirates will be the NL leaders.
– Seedy K