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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On the Tour... After stage 3

If I was only interested in Lance winning the Tour de France in 2010, then I would have reason to be disheartened. But I'm not. Don't get me wrong - I WANT him to win. He rode exceptionally today in spite of a rather ill timed flat. He out rode his team mates who were supposed to "help" him back into the race. He was a machine out there today.

But he dropped into 18th place after comfortably sitting at 5th at the start of the stage. On the other hand, today was a great day for cycling and the Tour de France. Reading the live report on the internet while trying to write proposals was impossible. I finally gave up on the proposals, and pulled up a crummy live video feed with french announcers and followed the ticker.

Stage 3 was brutal, after 2 previous impossibly brutal stages. The terrain and the competition wasn't the problem, it was the course and the crashes. Rain, cobblestones, miscreant dogs, and narrow winding roads brought the peloton to full alert, and even led the race leaders to stage a mini revolt at the end of stage 2 refusing to participate in the sprint finish.

Today the trouble continued as Frank Schleck broke his clavicle on a later section of cobblestone and flat tires abounded (granted - par for the cobblestone course), and all of that as a large percentage of the top riders bore bandages weeping with fresh wounds, and hiding obviously painful fractures.

But the good news is this - All of the real contenders, excepting Frank Schleck, are still in the race, and really not in bad overall condition. Alberto Contador - the favorite and 2009 winner - is sitting back dangling from the top 10, and Lance is 18th at a couple minutes back. And beyond that, some other great names had an awesome day staying above the fray. Cancellara is back in Yellow, Cadel Evans came out of nowhere and now sits third, and Andy Schleck aided by Saxo-Bank team mate Fabian Candellara is no doubt thrilled at sixth after a disappointing opening time trial.

Read the race report on CyclingNews.com, but grab a towel to wipe the sweat out of your eyes first.