Sunday, July 22, 2012

You Can Have It All.

Stage 19 - Bonneval to Chatres (ITT)

Again, I find myself staring at the screen, unsure of how to start this post. In the 21 days of the tour - yeah, I count the rest days - so much has changed that I barely recognize the folks who lined up at the start. I only catch a little of the TT - enough to pass judgement on the hotness of the bikes, and to note that a significant number of the riders are covered in bandages. They're battered and bruised and just trying to make it back to Paris. They're the guys who were never GC contenders, who were there with a specific job to do, like fetch the bottles, make pace at the front, lead out a sprint, get in a breakaway. Some of them were able to do it, some of them were not. Some of them will go home with a little extra cash, their chop from a teammate who won a stage or collected a couple of KOM points here and there. Some of them will have gained valuable publicity for the team by spending all day busting their guts off the front. But most of them will be returning home empty handed, their teams and jobs and careers in question for next year. Fuck, I wonder how that feels. And then, to add insult to injury, with one stage to go before Paris, before coasting into town for a final giant criterium around the Champs d'Elysees, they make them ride a time trial. The fucking race of truth, riders out their on their own, their solitary pain on open display. Yeah, that would suck, suck so hard it almost seems deliberate. The second last stage is a cruel trick on the domestique from Cofidis and Christian Prudhomme is a bastard.

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