Had my fingers crossed all morning to try and ward off any stray dogs, rabid journalists, delirious spectators, or French customs officers swooping down into the peloton in a final attempt to farce-up the whole thing. Or maybe some weird Day of the Jackal thing with a pseudo-invalid trying to shoot Alberto Contador... and that would be the 1973 version not the crappy Bruce Willis-remake.
1) Alberto Contador, nice win! Shame he had to waste so much energy trying to gut The Chicken, but nice job. I hope his contract is up for negotiation again soon -- and that the team-formerly-known-as-Discovery will have the means to keep him.
2) Despite some rumoring (no doubt egged on by those toads in the American print-media) that he had tested positive after his win in Stage 9, Mauricio Soler has most definitely earned his keep for his sponsors, Barloworld.
3) How Kim Kirchen has any energy left, I have no idea. This guy rode really hard all spring. I hope he gets to put his feet up for a bit.
4) Cadel Evans: he's a slight man and perhaps I slighted him, too. If he had the strength of a Rabobank or a Discovery team behind him, he might well have saved enough energy by the final TT to have put the hurt on Contador. But an impressive ride for the Aussie.
5) Team Chinggis: who you ask? well, while I lost some points to my friend, Dan, my fantasy cycling team remains in first-place in our league. Fortunately, despite the departure of Team Astana (with Vino and Klöden), I still had enough 'clean' (or 'clean-enough') riders to eek out a win over Dan's Team Gromit and Patrick's Esbota.
And so, as you can tell, my bold predictions of three-weeks ago have not come true: I suggested the top-4 would be Vino, Klöden, Valverde (who ended up a respectable 6th), and Leipheimer (who ended up 3rd).
Stay tuned. I'm sure there'll be more excitement to come. And Meat will probably provide it.