Monday, 13 July 2009

Rest Day One
13 July 2009

I have decided, during the rest day, to try to re-frame the Tour this year, so I can enjoy it more. I now see that the gaps between riders are minuscule compared to other years. This means that if any of them manages to get an attack together, and there is not an Astana in sight, then they can take back substantial time. Did I say “without an Astana in sight?” I also see that they have designed it (maybe, I am re-framing) so it is a big bang type of race. That is, instead of having a bit of racing on say ten days of the twenty, where the GC riders and their teams are engaged in some kind of battle, they have chosen the parcours to make sure the race is decided at the end, the very end. So it will all explode in two days, the ITT and Ventoux. Kind of like a male orgasm. A huge climax, preceded by a fair bit of semi-interesting fumbling about. There IS light day between the ITT and Ventoux. So I have to pay more attention to the smaller events and less attention to the yellow jersey or the top ten. Although of course the young rider jersey remains as un-interesting as the yellow one. For a few days anyway, it is the stage winners and the sprinters jersey that need attention. So forget the GC, forget the young riders, forget the mountains jersey all week. Just stage winners and points jersey make any difference. There, that feels better already.

Now that I have re-framed the tour and am enjoying it immensely, I see it is a rest day. So what to write. Gossip I missed telling you during the mast few days. Circled items in l'Equipe I should be passing on. Inside news (I have none). Stories about press conferences (not til tomorrow). Summary of the race (you surely know what happened). What is coming in the near future (some flattish stages across a relatively rural bit of France, followed by “the Alps” (some unimpressed with the climbs and course in the Alps), an ITT and then Ventoux). We have some lunch guests today and before that I will spend a couple of hours in the market hanging about, so maybe I will think of something by this afternoon, unless I go to visit a friend in the borrowed car we have to replace the one that is being re-painted. I am sure I will think of something. If not, then I will have a rest day too.

An interesting article to read on the rest day. Quite perceptive for an American writer. A good example of quality sports writing.

Seems the combination of my drive to see a friend, a fellow Tour fanatic, and the fireworks tonight, the night before the Fourteenth of July, mean that I really am not going to have time to write more. I guess I will take the rest day after all.

From the national news and an interview with Contador today, I gather there either is or is not tension in the Astana camp. Since I don't believe what any of them say, I guess I think that there is. And that it will be an addition to the spectacle and the racing no matter how that plays out. I thought up, with my pal, some more scenarios that mean the Tour could be really good, in the end. That and my annual re-framing process means that I am indeed looking forward afresh to the Tour, even if we have been a bit short of GC contenders racing each other this year, except from a distance. I am sure they will decide, one two of them anyway, to take on the Astana machine and see if it cracks. In any case, I still say Contador, I just want someone to make it onto the podium besides Astana guys. Simple needs. Next few days are meant to be for either sprinters or escapees, so anything else will be a surprise. I like surprises.

I read the towns the stage passes through in the next three days. With three or four obvious exceptions, it seems it goes through the sticks. So my geographic interests are ready to come out as I just watch the countryside roll by in a part of France I don't really know. Hardly any towns I have ever heard of. Should be good and relaxing. Should be short blogs too.