Friday, July 11, 2008

First week of the 2008 Tour de France is complete

The first week of the Tour de France is complete. The riders will not get a rest until Tuesday and it is 3 more days of climbing with a big climb stage on Monday.

Some of my random thoughts from the first week.

  • The French Countryside reminds me the area in the Central New York area. While the mountains in France are much higher the area surrounding Syracuse can be very hilly. The landscape is dotted with big diary farms. Lots of winding farm roads to ride on. Just have to get the rides in before the snow flies. It seems like the weather changes quickly in both places.

  • It might be fun to live in the French countryside. Maybe spend a month riding the area.

  • I am impressed with the two new teams this year. Actually it is only one new team (Garmin - Chipolte) and one recycled team Columbia - High Road (used to be the German based T-Mobile). I like the attitude of the riders on Garmin - Chipolte. Last year when Christian Vande Velde was riding for CSC he was also keeping a diary on Velonews. I looked forward to his daily posts and I felt like I really got to know him. I am really pulling for Mr. Vande Velde to do well.

  • It is nice to see George Hincapie doing well with Columbia. It looks like he made the right decision in moving to Columbia rather than going to following the other Discovery riders to Astana.

  • Looks like we have the first positive test by Manuel Beltran. Hopefully this is not the first of many. I have read about 20 others suspicious tests but there was a denial from the Tour organizers.

  • I am trying to branch out and follow the other teams rather than just the two "American" teams. I have to admit it is hard since I have are hard time with the riders names and the team sponsors are unfamiliar to me since most of them do not do business in the US. The CSC team used have as many Americans as Discovery although this year they did not bring any Americans.

  • We are starting to see a changing of the guard in the sprinters ranks. It seems like this years sprinters are either 23 years old or 36 years old. I would still like to see Robbie McEwen have a good tour.

  • It will be interesting to see what happens next year with a couple of the teams needing sponsors after this season.

  • I am impressed with the Versus Network coverage this year. I think that Craig Hummer is an improvement over Al Trautwig. Mr. Hummer keeps things light and is working well with Bob Roll. Of course it would not be the Tour without Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen doing the live play by play.

  • The "Take back the Tour" ads are making feel sorry for the alleged dopers.

  • Not that long ago helmets were optional. Now the riders wear the helmets at all times.

  • Will Frischkorn's diary entries (Fresh Korn) on Velonews are actually better than Christian Vande Veldes were last year.

I am looking forward to the rest of the tour and I am hoping the exciting racing continues all way to Paris.

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