Monday, 21 July, 2003

Tour de France update

In the world of bicycling, this year's Tour de France is high drama.  It's had more chills, spills, and thrills than some NASCAR seasons.  The first stage featured a mass pile-up that ended the Tour for a few riders and broke Tyler Hamilton's collar bone (as I mentioned last week).  One of the leading sprinters crashed out of the final sprint at the end of the third stage, as did another rider at the end of stage six.  The Tour's leading sprinter abandoned the tour on the first hill of the mountains.  Joseba Beloki, one of the primary contenders for the overall lead crashed spectacularly and quite painfully at about 45 MPH on a descent, breaking his leg and causing Lance Armstrong to ride across a rocky field in order to avoid becoming another casualty.  Jan Ullrich, who was not expected to be a big contender this year, was amazing in the stage 12 time trial while Lance Armstrong dehydrated and lost over a minute and a half.  Armstrong went down again today when a spectator's souvenir bag caught his handlebar, and his subsequent recovery and comeback to win the stage was amazing.  And all through it, Tyler Hamilton slogs along with his broken collar bone, keeping himself right there in the top 10 overall.

Those of you who think bicycle racing lacks excitement should check out some of the stage reports and video clips.  See my July 13 entry for links.