Friday, July 17, 2009

Tour de France - Stage 13 - Wrap-up

Was anyone else cheering for Brice Feillu to take yellow today? And speaking of Feillu, his brother Romain had the honor of being thrown out of the Tour for NOT doping (he wasn’t allowed to take medicine for his asthma and stay in the race). Yellow for little brother Brice would have been a nice cadeau.

Could Feillu continue to gain time as the race progresses? With a flat day tomorrow and a chance for some recovery, might Sunday’s climb to Verbier offer him a chance at yellow? Or white? Astana would certainly welcome yet another opportunity for someone else to control the race for a few days—especially after losing Levi.

But today was all about Heinrich Haussler. Between the rain and Sylvain Chavanel—his early breakaway companion—I thought I was watching Dwars door Vlaanderen.

Haussler was simply fantastic. His descending skills left him alone following the Platzerwasel. With 30km to go, he rode as if there were 3; he stormed the final climb of the Col du Firstplan, gaining time on the peloton with each pedal stroke. He effortlessly big-ringed the final 5km, calmly coming to terms with his exploits.

And when he crossed the line: tears. In an era of showboating victory salutes, a humble, honest display of emotion is a welcome sight. Clearly, Haussler will be a man to be reckoned with next spring. Get used to the feeling, Heinrich, more big wins will come.

As for the favorites, they were clearly eager to allow the to race play itself out at the front, letting the rain dampen any potential fireworks. Sunday’s the next rendezvous for the GC men, setting the stage for what will certainly be an exciting final week.

Any thoughts on today’s action? Predictions for the weekend? Share your comments below.

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