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Tour de France 2010: Stage 8: Buh Bye Lance

Posted by bikezilla on July 11, 2010


Cycling News

Today was supposed to be a shakeup, but who expected Lance Armstrong to be shaken completely out of the GC picture?

Lance says it was all the fault of his crash right before the first Cat 1 climb up Ramaz and the energy he had to put into the chase to get him back with the GC group.

When Lance went down his RadioSkank teammates surrounded him like an honor guard protecting a fallen king.

Lance ended up finishing more than 11 minutes behind Saxo’s Andy Schleck, who won the stage on an amazing uphill sprint after dropping Astana’s Alberto Contador and BMC’s Cadel Evans with his final acceleration.

Cadel has taken over the Yellow (leader’s) Jersey, but is that a blessing or a curse? I’m not sure he really wants it just yet and I’m wondering if he’ll care to defend it, or if he’ll give it up to a non-GC contender who braves a breakaway in the coming days.

As for yesterday’s Yellow Jersey winner, Sylvain “The Trashman” Chavanel, he finished with Lance’s group. Today’s steeper climbs were not his forte (pronounced “FORT”!), as were yesterday’s more shallow climbs.

There go my visions of Trashman as this year’s dark horse GC threat.

I can only imagine how many people are crying now over Lance’s fall from his perch atop the peloton. But how many of those are crying tears of sorrow and how many are crying tears of joy?

My own feelings are mixed, though I have to confess that “joy” seems to be in command.

Watching Lance you could tell that he was totally beaten, that he’d conceded not only today’s stage, but the Tour entire to Alberto, Andy and Cadel.

While Lance was falling apart, teammate Levi Leipheimer was rockin’ it for Team RadioSkank, hanging tight with Alberto and Andy all day. With Levi well ahead of Lance in the GC now, will he take over RadioSkank’s GC hopes? Will Lance ride for Levi?

Or will Lance, who you know is having screaming fits in the team bus right now, take all his toys and stomp off homeward?

Considering how selflessly and silently Levi has busted his ass for Lance over the years, I think it would be a huge sign of disrespect if Lance went home and even more disrespectful if Lance insisted on remaining team leader.

With Lance floundering and dropping minutes like my mom drops empty beer bottles, crash, crash, crash, crash, crash, and with guys who matter riding in a group up front, still the cameras would not abandon Lance. It was all Lance, Lance, Lance, no matter how far behind he got. Stoopit.

I have to ask, did the sprint to get back into it after that first crash today take it out of Lance, or did he never have what we thought he did?

And how many times can Lance crash in one Tour after hardly ever crashing over his entire carreer. It’s been insane.

NOTE: Lance just tweeted that he’s gonna “enjoy his last two weeks”. Ok, cool, but will he show that he has at least an ounce of class and decency, and enjoy it supporting Levi, or will he be typical Lance and make it all about him? END NOTE.

My guy Denis Menchov (Rabobank) stuck with the big boys’ group all day, too, but hardly a word about him, and Menchov himself seems silent and waiting.

Ditto Cervelo’s Carlos Sastre. He’s there, but hardly mentioned and not putting himself out there to be seen or heard. Yet.

Quick Step’s other French wonderboy from yesterday, Jerome Pineau, who was the KOM leader going into today, crashed with along with Cadel very early in the stage. He ended up dropping way back and contested none of the KOM points.

Somehow, he and Trashman remain 1 and 2 in the KOM competition.

STILL people are amazed that HTC’s Tony Martin is running out of gas, though he’s been spending all his energy seeing that Mark Cavendish has more opportunities to redeem himself in the sprints. Martin isn’t really a “leadout train” kind of guy, so he’s doing his best but it seems to have worn him right down to almost nothing. Will he even finish this year’s Tour?

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