Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tour de France Thoughts after Stage 14

Well, perhaps the biggest drag of the whole big Rhode Island trip was being away from the TV and watching the Tour. Not that I was concerned about my fantasy league - talk about blowing some cycling chunks!

Last year I was absolutely excited about Mauricio Soler, so despite all the EPO scandals in 2008 his abandonment was the biggest loss for me. What a shame for a great rider like that to crash out on the first stage and then have to abandon after painfully attempting to finish a few more stages.

In terms of getting points, he and Riccardo Ricco were supposed to be my cash cows. But we all know what happened to Ricco... I can't believe such young talent like that would take such a risk - and we all thought he was the next Basso or Pantini. Looks like he emulated them a little too much? Per the rules any rider kicked out for doping loses all their points. Goodbye!

Of course Cadel Evans has earned the lionshare of points (78) in my pathetic little team, which by the way ranks 3,220 out of 3,842 (83.8%). I have 105 points, while the leader is somewhere just about 500. I certainly thought there would be some more consistent thunder from Fabian Cancellara (14) as well. My gut tells me Andy Schleck (0) will pull out some points in the long run, but this guy is super young! Little disappointed in Damiano Cunego (7) as well - that could change. Kind of doubt anything out of Marcus Fothen (0).

I certainly have to explain why I picked Tyler Farrar (0 - duh). I swear I did my research - on the official site it showed him as a starter. But he did not start. Whoops. The guy is young and quite talented, and even more important he's from Wenatchee, WA!

Mark Cavendish has certainly been the big excitement so far. I remember last year him being so frustrated with that awful start on his home soil. This has been an excellent experience, but the reality is even with his four stage wins he will be dropping out to prepare for the Olympics. Conversely, what the smeg is happening with Robbie McEwen?!? Well, Mark Cavendish is the main answer, and the fact all the Silence-Lotto domestiques have orders to protect Evans, but still. How odd.

The American situation is looking very strong - especially with the successes of the two teams, Garmin-Chipotle and and Columbia. Nothing could be more exciting than a fabulous rider like Christian Vande Velde currently in third! I really like Cadel and think his consistency will put him on the top podium spot in Paris, even with Frank Schleck nipping with just one second. Alejandro Valverde seems to have lost too much time at this point, but who knows with an usually tough stretch of the Alps coming up!

Ride on!

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