Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stage 0: The Prologue—Rotterdam

The Versus broadcast will start in 20 minutes, and there is so much to anticipate. But what to say? Can Lance Armstrong win the Tour for the 8th time on his last try? We won't know until the final time trial, I suspect.

But today's stage, an 8.9 time trial around Rotterdam on wide boulevards and over the Erasmus bridge, will most likely go to Fabian Cancellara, the time trialist from Switzerland with the huge diesel engine. Love that guy. The Italians, by the way, gladly claim him as their own, as both his parents grew up along the Adriatic.

Tomorrow is the first of 2 cobbled stages, which should be chaotic and thoroughly dramatic. Contador, the favorite to win the tour, has never raced on cobbles. I hope it rains. I want to see the faces of the peloton wet and a bit muddy. Sorry, guys, but you all look so good and old school TDF like that!

This Tour, I'd love to see George Hincapie win a stage again. He is the heart and soul of the peloton, and is at this moment the American road racing champion, so on this 4th of July weekend, as he will all Tour long, he sports the stars and stripes on his jersey. Go, Captain America! He's the guy who goes out in the wind speeding up the whole peloton in order to put the hurt on his team's competitors. The wind batters him, but he grinds away, having trained for this, and he's thrilled to do it. He's the lead out man at the beginning of the train who, in the past, helped Manx sprinter Mark Cavendish to so many Tour stage victories.

Oh my, I am just tingling, and a little bit weepy. What is it about this grand old sport? This magnificent race? It's heroism, pure and searing. That's what lives every year at the Tour. Quite a thing to see.

Got up, walked up to the 7-11 (team 7-11!) to buy orange juice and cheap American bubbly, then to LAMill for a super-pricey latte and 2 croissants. They didn't have pain au chocolat, so I'm improvising with Nutella. Ever the Italophile, me!

All right, boys, fire it up! I'm ready to cheer you on!

8 minutes to go.

Vive la France! Vive le Tour!

A demain!

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