Monday, July 03, 2006

The Longest Day

Hmmm, I think this little training program I've concocted might be kind of hard. 5-plus hours in the saddle today for the boys, meaning that if I ride for 3 hours, which is reasonable, I need to do 2 hours of additional exercise. I think my social life's about to disappear for the month of July. Oh, well, it'll be fun and, by the end, I should be pretty fit. I'll perform a fit test later today and see how much I improve over the next three weeks.

The last two days (and the couple prior) have all been 2-3 hours on the mtn bike. Yesterday, I was definitely feeling tired and I'm thinking "this is day 2!" Maybe I'll recover today... ha!

On the tour: some fun strategy has been played out over the last couple of days. It was nice to see Big George (Hincapie) use a cheeky move yesterday to gain the yellow. Thor got it back today with some more straight forward sprinting. The race for the green jersey looks a lot more wide open than I had thought. Boonen was unbeatable during the early season but he's definitely beatable now. He went 1-1 with two straight up sprints with Husvold today before being nowhere in the finale. McEwen is on form, for sure, but it's always interesting to see whether or not he can get over the mountains. If the bigs guns falter, crafty riders who can climb, Eric Zabel and Stuart O'Grady are still in the mix and may have something to say about it yet.

You can tell absolutely nothing about the yellow jersey race at this point but it's always fun to look anyway. Landis has had two glitches already. He missed the start of the prolong and lost a hand full of seconds. Today he was in a minor crash. Evans has stayed near the front and out of trouble. Kloden (notice not in my top 10 because I didn't want to gamble on his unknown form) is right in the mix. If he's at his level of two years ago he might be the favorite. You can't tell anything about Valverde right now. He's so fast he could probably win a stage like todays if he was in the mood, so maybe he's just riding smart. His only real unknown is long time trialing, so we'll know where he stands after stage nine. If he's among the leaders, look out.

Tomorrow's stage is pretty bumpy. It would suit a breakaway, which I'm sure will be attempted. But the sprinter's teams are very strong so, I imagine, Husvold will try and hang onto yellow so look for another select sprint finish.

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