Heroes Just the Same

Today was one of those special days at the Tour de France . It was 90 degrees on the road from Nevers to Lyon, a total of 230 kilometers or 143 miles. At 35 kilometers Stuart O’Grady a strong and crafty veteran of the tour and Antony Geslin the third youngest rider on the tour sped up to take the first intermediate sprint points and then decided to keep on going.
The only thing harder than a two man attack on the peloton is a one man attack which is almost impossible. That is exactly what Geslin tried the day before for two hours before being caught. O’Grady and Geslin not only attacked, they put as much as 18 minutes between themselves and the pack (peloton). They kept the peloton at bay for four hot grueling hours. Their effort was heroic and like tragic Greek heroes, doomed to fail. They maintained the lead until the very last kilometer then the peloton bearing down on them at 70 kilometers and hour gobbled them up. O’Grady finished 20th Geslin finished 59th. The new king of the sprinters Petacchi whizzed by the entire field to an easy fourth win in this years tour.
Do we feel sad that O’Grady and Geslin did not beat the odds? Well… yes but tonight they are the talk of France. They are being praised for an epic effort and they will not be forgotten. They are why we watch the the Tour.
Yes Lance Armstrong will be the big story tomorrow as they encounter the mountains. The fight for the overall lead will begin as Lance and Jan Ullrich contest the worst the Tour has to offer.
But today was for two brave young men who risked all.

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All is right with the world

The Tour de France is under way and Lance Armstrong is in great position just one second out of first place with a team mate ahead of him. The US Postal team had a great day on the team time trial. They started off slow and were 14 seconds off the pace at the first time check but when all was said and done they had won their first ever team time trial. Their margin of victory was enough to put Victor Hugo Pena into the overall lead and the yellow jersey. He became the first Colombian to ever wear the ”Maillot Jaune”.
This could prove to be a hard fought tour with Jan Ullrich in the best shape since his win in 1997. Unfortunately Tyler Hamilton was involved in the huge crash on day two and is riding with two fractures of his collar bone. I don’t think he will make it up the mountains with that kind of pain. Too bad, it would have been great to see two Americans battle it out for the win.
Tommorow we see the first of the mountains. The tour is always won in the mountains.
So enjoy the tour and root for Lance but watch the small stories the breakaways and the little triumphs. A stage win in the tour can make a small town boy a hero for life.
It’s the best sporting event in the world.