Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A day of bad assery

Five of us were up early this morning to watch the legendary L'Alpe stage. We were all sleepy but entranced. Okay, except for Migo.

These epic stages are just epic viewing. As much as I love watching the sprint finishes, it just doesn't compare to the 11 layers of drama that occur on the queen stages.

Schleck won, so thats cool (I am stoked that he beat the little prince). But today, I was struck by all the work being done by the domestiques.

The badass domestiques all stepped up today. Each trying to outbadass the other.

First Zabriskie and Jens were just slaying it in the break for Schleck. Jens crashes, chases back on, and goes straight to the front to pull. Then later, as Sastre's group catches Jens, he picks up his tempo, latches on, takes a few breaths, and goes straight to the front to pull once more. Two words: Hard Ass. And Jens is surprised that there are so many Voight fans in the states?

And Kessler was hauling it up the last ascent for Kloden. Kessler has been all over this tour, getting in breaks, almost winning, and then winning. And here he his, the big guy, busting it up the climb. When I saw him today, it reminded me of how surprising it was when Hincapie would do that for Lance. Kessler is the new Hincapie. Except tougher. Dude went flying ass over Adidas, over a guardrail and down the ditch. He gets up, dusts himself off, and gets back to work. The giant rocks still lodged in his helmet. Thats just nails.

And just when I couldn't watch Menchov's suffering gasping silent roar of agony face a moment longer, Rasmussen, who under most circumstances I do not consider a badass, ups his Voight-o-meter and crawls back up to Menchov. He gives him a wheel, escorting him all the way to the finish and limiting his losses.

Not to be outVoighted by someone as gangly as Rasmussen, even the little Spanish climbers step up. David Arroyo digs deep to try and keep Pereiro in the jersey.

But my favorite Voightlike moment was the one with Axel and Landis. Landis looked like he was attacking Kloden. But he stopped when he got to Axel, who was up in a break. It was almost as if he was excited to see Axel and rushed up to say hello. Axel was all calm like. He gave Floyd a nod and a "he-ey, whats up man? This climb is almost as tough as Palomar aint it?" and then handed him his water bottle. After Floyd took a few swigs, Axel did his own turn and went to the front and pulled them up the hill as long as he could.

All this teamwork stuff makes you feel bad for Levi and Cadel, who were very much without teammies. Bummer for them.

And the UnVoightlike of the day award goes to Garzelli. After getting dropped from the break, he latches on to Kloden/Landis. Kloden, Landis and Mazzolini (another domestique I should have mentioned above) do all the work to drive it up the mountain. When they come to the line, the others who had latched on move back to let Kloden and Landis fight it out. But not Garzelli. After Landis pulls the entire last 200 meters, he just slips around to nip him at the line and take the last bonus seconds. What do those seconds do for someone in 43rd place? I hope Landis throws his green stretchypants at him.

I can't wait to watch all this badassery over again tonight.


At 12:26 PM, July 18, 2006, Blogger X Bunny said...

i wished i'da seen that
thanks for bringing the drama alive for me

At 12:29 PM, July 18, 2006, Blogger Lilly Bella said...

Nice tribute to the "home domes".
Its nice to see appreciation for the worker boys, they sacrifice so much and get so little glory. Jens is an animal! Inspirational stuff!
I was wondering if Carlos Sastre has a baby sipper cuppy thing in his jersey in case he wins since last stage he pulled out a binky, its only fitting...

CSC made it quite a race today. I can't imagine what this tour would be like with Badasso and Ullrich.

At 1:31 PM, July 18, 2006, Blogger marscat said...

oh yes, and ippoc predicted it too:

"I like how the 05 TdF Disco boys and 05 Liberties ala la Vuelta sent guys up the road sort of tag team like and then pushed the pace once the GC riders reached them. In this vein, look for perhaps Horner-Lotto, Juan A. Flecha, Weening-Rabo, DZ or O'Grady-CSC, and/or Phonaks Pena, Jalabert the younger or Merckx up the road waiting for their guy."

huh? huh? i say she oughta be our VeloBella DS.

At 1:53 PM, July 18, 2006, Blogger Olaf Vanderhoot said...

are we gonna be late to work tomorrow morning, too?

totally worth it.

no Badasso or Ulrichstein = one bloody good tour.

btw, menchov has definitely made the best face of pain this year's tour thus far.

At 2:22 PM, July 18, 2006, Blogger Velo Bella said...

yes, it looks like we will be late again.

And i tried to find a photo of that silent roar...none yet.

At 2:48 PM, July 18, 2006, Blogger Reed Maxwell said...

While I would love to see the "silent roar" photo, you have gotta admit the suffer-face competition got broken wide open once Mancebo was out. That guy could make a suffer-face better than anyone.

Oh wait, did I just say that out loud? I'll go back to lurking now...

At 3:02 PM, July 18, 2006, Blogger Velo Bella said...

This face was worse than Mancebo's. Mancebo actually didn't make sufer face, he made suffer body.

You know those dreams you have, where you scream, but no sound comes out? That was Menchov's face.

At 3:30 PM, July 18, 2006, Blogger Reed Maxwell said...

I watched it this AM but also DVR'd it too. I'll have to FFWD to see the face again.

Mancebo really got a lot of mileage out of the head-cocked-sideways-bent-over-suffering climbing position. I'd think it would make it harder to climb that way.

At 4:55 PM, July 18, 2006, Blogger Ippoc Amic said...

reason number one why Garzelli (who was one of my 1,000,000 picks to win the stage before I was shamed in to picking just 1) is exactly as you said not my favorite...NO CLASS...let Landis have those 8 seconds, Zsa Zsa likes him, but then she goes for those pretty blues...we discussed Garzelli's merits this morning...

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