July 27, 2008

Final Tour de France Thoughts

Carlos Sastre won the Tour de France today, making good on my pre-race prediction and securing the third straight yellow jersey for Spain. Sastre capitalized on an amazing breakaway up the Alpe-d'Huez and locked up the win with a strong showing in the final time trial. My quick-hit thoughts below:

  • Cadel Evans is quickly earning permanent bridesmaid status. This is two years running that he's had a chance to win the Tour headng into the final time trial (his speciality). Second place is great, but it's not a win.
  • Between Euro 2008, Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon, and now this, Spain is having quite a good summer so far. Bodog has Spain at 7/2 to win the Olympic gold in basketball. Just a thought.
  • Even with the Riccardo Ricco incident, the Tour managed to avoid the catastrophic doping scandals this year. Hopefully this is a sign that the sport has turned a corner, finally.
  • For all the jokes about how having the NHL on Versus meant that no one could watch it, I thought that most cable systems carry Versus. Apparently not in Kansas. I'm visiting family outside of Topeka this week, and I couldn't find a way to watch any of the last few stages (including Alpe-d'Huez). Either Versus needs to start talking to cable companies, or Kansas needs to get its shit together.
  • Here's hoping we see Astana back in the Tour next year. That was way too many big (clean) names excluded from a race that's hurting for star appeal.
  • Early 2009 Tour predictions:
    • Yellow Jersey: Alberto Contador - assuming Astana is allowed back in, I think he'll be riding with a lot to prove.
    • Green Jersey: Mark Cavendish - the Team Columbia rider was a revelation this year, and I think next year will be the first of several points jerseys won by the Brit
    • Polka Dot Jersey: Andy Shleck - his older brother Frank took most of the headlines this year, but Andy (who won the white jersey for the best young rider) never looked tired in the mountains. I think we'll see him win a yellow jersey before his career is over
    • White Jersey: Roman Kreuziger - he fell just short this year, but he's only 22, so he has a few more years to try.
That's it for this year, I hope some of you actually tuned in to the Tour and came to enjoy it. If not, there's always next year.

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