Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

TDF Stage 1

Route: Brest - Plumelec
Riders: 180
Distance: 197.5 km
- Côte de Ty-Jopic (category 4)
- Côte de Kerivarc’h (category 4)
- Col de Toullaeron (category 4)
- Côte de Guenervé (category 4)

Ah, July 5th: recovery day from the Fourth of July, my daughter’s birthday, and (this year) start day for the 95th Tour de France. The latter promises to be exciting, as always, but not the same as usual. For instance, the time bonuses are gone; the opening Prologue has been eliminated; and, of course, the 2007 winner, Alberto Contador, is absent, as is his fellow teammate and podium finisher, Levi Leipheimer.

And then there are those ads on Versus: Take Back the Tour. I found the first one a few days ago when I checked the website for televised programming information. This morning, I saw the second one during the live race coverage. Forgive me, but I don’t recall the ads from previous years being so…what’s the word…pointed. I understand the reasoning behind them --- to reclaim the image of cycling as a sport of athletic endurance and not doping --- but I am not certain the ads need to play quite so frequently. This morning, I saw at least one during every commercial break. I almost have the music memorized, but I digress…

Another novelty for 2008: the entrance of two American teams: Team Columbia and Team Garmin Chipotle. I must say I am psyched about this development. I only wish my favorite riders were all on the same roster. George Hincapie, of course, is riding for the former, while Christian Vande Velde is committed to the latter. Team Columbia had a productive first day in the saddle, snagging fourth place overall after Kim Kirchen’s break for the line. It was sad that he didn’t win the day, but I don’t think anyone expected Alejandro Valverde to launch such an explosive attack right at the end; very impressive on his part. I will definitely be paying closer attention to him when the race hits the mountains.

Sad event of the day: the loss of Herve Duclos-Lassalle from Team Cofidis. A short way into the race, he hit the pavement and broke his wrist. Fifty some miles into the first day of his first Tour de France and he was the first guy out of the game. Ouch.

- Herve Duclos-Lassalle

Overall Standings
- Alejandro Valverde
- Philippe Gilbert
- Jérôme Pineau
- Kim Kirchen
- Ricardo Ricco
- Cadel Evans

For video of Stage 1, click here.

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