Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Frenchman Richard Virenque won the tenth stage from Limoges to Saint-Flour, at 237 kloms the longest. How fitting, it was the French National Holiday, July 14th. Although still in the Massif Central, an old mountainous area, today’s ride was not an easy one. Admitted, the highest “Col” (peak) to be conquered, the Col du Pas de Peyrol, is only 1,589 meters, but that was the seventh in a row of nine. I guess none of us would do that in one day and live to check out Downeast at night, except Mark from Colorado of course, but that sneaky smartass has been training for a long time.

Ok. Need I to repeat this? Thomas Voeckler keeps the Yellow Shirt, Lance is still at 6 in the General Classification.

Tomorrow is a milkrun, but on Friday the going gets tough: to the Pyrenées. And you know Billy Ocean’s adage: when the going gets tough, the tough get rough. I am curious to see how lance's alleged great rival, the German Jan Ullrich, will perform.

I case you American chauvinists, desperate from Iraq and seeing Mr. Armstrong perpetually trailing in slot six, take heart! US Postal's Team Boss, Johan Bruyneel (a tipsy more famous than your servant) has some peptalk for you.

Armstrong - almost 10 minutes behind current race leader Thomas Voeckler - is bidding to become the first rider to win six Tours. And a host of former riders have argued the Texan is past his best and the feat will elude him.

"I speak to him throughout each stage and I've never seen him in better shape in a Tour," Bruyneel told BBC Sport.

"It makes me laugh when I hear people criticising Lance. He's physically fit, mentally tough and has probably the best team we've ever put out for a Tour."

And all of you, especially Kevin, who never caught me telling an untruth, know that the word of a Belgian is not taken lightly.

No comments: