Post time trial – 8 July
Today I will start with results and comments, as I seem to have been treating the results a bit casually for the past few days. This 30k individual time trial, often called the race of truth, is the first “big rendezvous” of the Tour. This is the first time that the vague shape of the final hierarchy is beginning to emerge. Of course there are also some surprises, people who are not where they “should” be. So it is a good time to begin to be serious. Although I must quickly comment on what huge crowds there were today. If anyone thinks all the drug stuff has kept the punters away, I think they are just plain wrong.
Among the losers, the guys who really could have done a bit better, we find Valverde. Although he is not a time trial guy, he seems to have lost a few too many seconds on all his serious adversaries for yellow. This is not a good ride for his morale, and it will be very interesting to see if he tries to attack in the next four or five days to get back some time. Although Sastre, A. Schleck and Cunego lost time, they did not lose all that much. You could say they lost too much, but we await the mountains, as all of them can climb very well indeed. In some ways I don’t think anyone lost that much time, even Valverde. A possible exception might be Ricco, who had a terrible time trial and is already nearly four minutes down. He cannot possibly win the Tour now, but he sometimes claims he was not trying to anyway. He is an attacking climber, so no big deal. He has mentioned that the stage to Super Besse appeals to him, as well as Alpe d’Huez. If he is way down the GC, they might let him go. He is not stupid. The Tour is long, anything can happen.
For the sake of completeness, we should also notice that the four escapees from yesterday have disappeared completely. They had their moment of glory, got totally whacked, and none of them are that high calibre. But Romain Feillu will always know he wore the jersey, something that Raymond Poulidor never did, even though he was a truly great rider. I am sure we will hear from Romain again, although perhaps as a sprinter more than a Tour winner. And “little” Samuel Dumoulin will never be just “little” again. He will be a “stage winner on the Tour de France”. Happy memories to them both.
The two top teams so far, Team Columbia and Garmin-Chipotle are both the “clean teams”. Could there be a change in the air?
When all is said and done, the only guy who was a possible contender for the Tour who has lost enough time to write him off is Ricardo Ricco and he might not really have had those ambitions. So we can be sure that a guy like him, highly talented with a huge ego and mouth, will try to make a big move that will be remembered. All the rest have lost only two minutes or so and the Tour has many stages to go.
In fact, tonight I went to the reunion de quartier where the mayor gives a free meal and drink to everyone, and where there is music. Two person group that did a combo of Edith Piaf songs and rock and roll rhythm and blues. It is nearly midnight now, and I have to get to bed so I can get up early tomorrow and go for a ride with some old geezers in the club. So that’s all for tonight.
Vive le vélo, slow or fast.