July 10, 2008

American Teams Off to Strong Start in Tour de France

Mark Cavendish, exuberant after his Stage 5 victory

Cycling is not the major sport in the US that it is in much of Europe, and very little buzz surrounded the entry of two American-based teams in the Tour this year, even though it's the first time two American teams have ever participated in a Tour. However, much to everyone's surprise, the American teams have done quite well so far. In fact, they're dominating.

Today, after the first mountain stage, Kim Kirchen of Team Columbia took the overall race lead after Schumacher crashed in the yellow jersey in the final kilometer. Kirchen's top 5 finish also propelled him into first in the points race, giving him the prestigious green jersey as well. Too bad he can't wear both on the same day. He'll be in yellow tomorrow.

In addition, Mark Cavendish won yesterday's stage for Team Columbia. At 23 the future is very bright for this young British sprinter, and this was his first stage win. Team Columbia used to be T-Mobile, one of the strongest teams in the Tour, and little but the sponsor and the faces appear to have changed.

Is that a sweater-vest on his leg? At least they changed those unis before the Tour.

Meanwhile, team Garmin-Chipotle is #1 in the team rankings and has been since stage 3. Christian Vande Velde, the top American in the race, is 4th overall and only 44 seconds behind, and David Millar, the team's leader, is 3 more seconds back in 5th.

All I can add is "Way to go boys! Keep doing what you're doing."

For a stage-by-stage update on the American teams, click here.

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