Monday, July 20, 2009

The Lanterne Rouge Survives

On Sunday Alberto Contador launched himself off the front of the peleton and blew the field apart, surprising no one who follows cycling, except apparently the hacks at Versus, who kept babbling about "...this will be the Stage that Lance finally attacks and establishes..." etc. What planet are they on? I first saw Alberto three years ago fly up a mountain and it was obvious that it was just a matter of time. Hell, there are 15 guys riding in the Tour that are 35 or older. It isn't that Lance is too old, it's that Alberto is too good.

And now onto the real world. In his fight for the Lanterne Rouge, Kenny Robert Van Hummel, riding for Skil-Shimano, has established himself as a real "Everyman", representing all of us that struggle to get to the top of a small knoll. I want to say that "Kenny is us", but he could still leave all of us gasping for air with spittle dripping from our chin. He has been in the Red Jersey for 10 stages, trailing by 39 minutes overall. His danger is missing a cutoff time in a mountain stage. The tube is heart rending, poor Kenny 12 minutes behind the next rider, exhausted after fighting this way through the crowds streaming off the mountain, certain he has missed the cut. But he survived to fight one more day. May the ghost of Fausto Coppi ride with him.

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