July 24, 2009
Well, as of a few minutes ago – NO, this isn’t a spoiler unless you’re five days behind – Lance Armstrong was still slated to appear on the podium in Paris.
His 2009 Tour de France is still going as planned and the exposure he’s garnered for LiveStrong has been huge.
Talk of his 2010 Tour is already buzzing about the pressrooms and fans are starting to tune in elsewhere for their sports info.
Seriously. For many Americans, the Tour de France ended when Contador took a 2+ minute lead in the Yellow Jersey. They felt there was little to cheer about or watch now that Lance wasn’t going to win.
Well, it could turn out a couple of ways.
Right now there are three stages left, only two that matter. Today’s Stage 19 178KM ride from Bourgoin-Jallieu to Aubenas. An up and down journey that has one category 2 climb on it and should probably see a break or two, but nothing to threaten Contador’s lead.
Then Stage 20. The stage everyone has talked about since the Tour route was announced last fall.
Stage 20 is only 167KM and runs from Montélimar to Mont Ventoux. What makes it special is that the finishing climb is 23KM long as is Hors Categorie.
That’s 23KM that could decimate the field and shake up the podium again.
I don’t see Contador having trouble staying in the lead. I mean he’s got minutes ahead of the field. But if Lance can do well he might move into second place overall.
The other ifs are if Andy Schleck does well, he could destroy Lance, Contador and Astanà and take the Yellow Jersey.
And then there are always the strategic moves on the road. Barring crash by Contador, this is now his race to lose. The top five will probably look close to what it is now. And Lance Armstrong will be somewhere in the mix.
What have you enjoyed the most this year? I’ve just liked watching some cycling while we have rain every day here in Boston.