Monday, July 14, 2008

Le Tour turns on a crash?

I've had some "memory" pain in my right shoulder this Aussie Winter from a fall I had last year - which was on top of a much worse fall I had on the same shoulder in 1988... when I clipped the wheel of another rider who decided in an instant that the right side of the bunch was somehow better than the left. Of course I shouldn't have overlapped his wheel, but when you have momentum after coming off the slight rise and swooping right turn into Heffron Park's main straight you sometimes close up a bit as the lead riders hit the wind. So I was in the wrong place when that sudden move happened. I gather Cadel Evans faced a similar situation in yesterday's stage, unless the plastic bag in the front wheel story is actually true. Whatever caused it, Cadel will be stiff and sore in the next stage. It doesn't matter how tough you are, you still feel pain and lose some agility for a few days.

Valverde had his bad luck last week and has had time to recover. Evans may not be so lucky as he faces the Pyrennees and almost certain attacks. I won't blame him for cracking just a bit and losing time. It may be better than pushing too far and losing far more. He can afford to lose a minute or 2, but no more.

Meanwhile Ricco has lived up to expectations: Italy's Riccardo Riccò opened up the throttle to distance his rivals on the Tour de France's Col d'Aspin in a move similar to the late Marco Pantani to gain a solo win in Bagnères de Bigorre. The chase including classification favourites finished over a minute behind Riccò and included race leader Kim Kirchen (Team Columbia) and a bruised Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), who crashed on the decent of the Col de Peyresourde.

Oh how I wish he - or a clean Pantani - had been around when Lance was racing.