Stage 16 – Wednesday, July 24: Les Deux-Alpes – La Plagne
On paper, today’s stage looked flat out rugged. I knew we were going to be in for a long ride. For me personally, it was especially difficult on account of the fact that my summer cold has set in pretty deep. Add the heat, and you don’t have to ask how I’m feeling right now.
The team had a good day though. Although my early attempts to join a break were foiled yet again today, Laurent Jalabert was back in the thick of things attacking like he has been for this whole race. His group stayed away for a good portion of the stage and he was able to pick up a few more points in the king of the mountains competition. I think he’s safely pulling away from his competitors in this category. It would be great to see him on the podium in Paris. A fitting end to his Tour de France career.
Carlos Sastre was an incredible stud this afternoon as well. His attack on the final climb showed the cycling world what we already knew about him – that he’s got a ton of talent. He showed a lot of determination staying with Lance after being caught by him. Expect big things from my teammate in the future – he’s been getting stronger every day of this race.
As for my ride, I was happy to get through the day. Losing a few more minutes was a little disappointing, but under the circumstances, it was good that I didn’t get totally shelled. I’m going to start antibiotics tonight to try and fight this cold I have. I’ve been avoiding going on them because they usually zap your power out on the road. Hopefully, they won’t take too much out of me over the next couple of days. There’s sort of a fine line between staying the course under the current conditions or taking a chance with treatment.
My racing history on anti-inflammatories and antibiotics isn’t great, so I always wait until the last possible moment to opt in that direction. But based on the way I felt today, I think it’s the right choice at this point.
Remember how I told you my cell phone was on the fritz? My wife, went out and bought me a new one in Spain and brought it to me on the second rest day. She even went to the trouble of programming in all of my phone numbers. I thought I was in fat city. But yet again, the electronics gods have cursed me – because my new phone doesn’t ring. At all.
Sometimes it vibrates. But only sometimes. I think the planets have to align for it to do that. Everyone I know has fumbled and played with the settings to try and get the thing to work. But I don’t think it’s ever going to. So now I have to be staring at my phone to know I’m getting a call. If I don’t see the incoming call light go on – I miss out. I love technology.
The word on Michael Sandstød is good. His condition is improving. There is a chance that he will be moved from ICU to a regular room tonight. If all goes well throughout the next 24 hours he will be transported by ambulance back to Girona on Friday.
Once he arrives there doctors say he should expect to spend about two to three weeks more in the hospital. It’s got to be tough going for the guy. He hasn’t been able to sit up yet on account of his eight broken ribs. I don’t know how he’s managed laying on his back for nearly a week. But he’s a trooper. And so is his wife. If you want to send Michael a note through his website, you can at: sandstod.dk.
Tomorrow – more hills. Look for me, I’ll be the one who looks like the sniffling, sneezing, achy head guy from the TV ads.
Thanks for reading.