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Vande Velde’s Tour: Venga! Venga! Venga!

Saturday night. The mini-bar is out of beer, I'm hungry, kinda buzzed and ready to go home. Lance smashed everyone today. Jeez, men and boys … well, a few big boys and then the rest of us pre-pubescent kids. Impressive. First the Postal team. The dogs were all let out of their respective cages today and got to give it a go, which led to four Posties in the top-10! There was a lot of barking going on. Klöden jumped over Basso, which I expected, but it was close. Basso ended up doing a great ride and didn't let Ullrich come close, benne Basso. Anyway, who cares about the results? Lance

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By Christian Vande Velde, Liberty-Seguros Professional Cycling

Vande Velde's Tour: Venga! Venga! Venga!

Vande Velde’s Tour: Venga! Venga! Venga!

Photo:

Saturday night. The mini-bar is out of beer, I’m hungry, kinda buzzed and ready to go home.

Lance smashed everyone today. Jeez, men and boys … well, a few big boys and then the rest of us pre-pubescent kids.

Impressive. First the Postal team. The dogs were all let out of their respective cages today and got to give it a go, which led to four Posties in the top-10! There was a lot of barking going on.

Klöden jumped over Basso, which I expected, but it was close. Basso ended up doing a great ride and didn’t let Ullrich come close, benne Basso.

Anyway, who cares about the results? Lance smashed all and is riding down the Champs, in yellow, for the sixth time tomorrow afternoon. All those Americans (and there are a ton) can wave their flags and go nuts tomorrow.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

My parents made the trip over today and got to ride in the team car with the famous Marino Lajeretta. He’s our second director here and a bad-ass, old-school bike rider. I’m sure they were a bit confused with all the vengas and muy biens going on, but had a great time, nonetheless.

My dad, famous for his yelling at sporting events, grabbed the mic’ from Marino at one point and started yelling. In my state of suffering, it took me a little while to realize that it wasn’t Marino sounding like a crazed dad from Chicago.

Mom, for sure, was sitting in the back seat with her nails three inches into the seat in front of her holding her breath the whole time. It was fun to have them behind me and helped get me through another day.

I set off with the mindset of just riding the stage. Then, after two kilometers, I decided that it was going to hurt one way or the other, so I gave it a shove. I didn’t break any sound barriers, that’s for sure, and didn’t even come close to the top 10, but I was content with the ride and really just happy to be getting this thing over with. Oh yeah. I almost forgot about the start. The “Cutters” whooped me into a frenzy at the start. You’ve probably seen those guys on OLN with the blow-up Shamu and the Postal paraphernalia.

They are present every day and always seem to be having a good time. I yelled at them and alerted them to the fact that my dad was there (one of the Cinzano bad guys from the movie “Breaking Away”) and they all started chanting, “Cinzano, Cinzano, Cinzano!” It was great; good versus evil again, but this time in Besançon, France and not Bloomington, Indiana.

Then they turned their attention back to me and got me all jazzed. Actually, I got a little too excited for a 55km TT. I didn’t touch the pedals for the first 500 meters then started to hurt a bit on the first hill when the adrenaline wore off. Thanks, guys! I got your hats for you.

Tomorrow is the Champs, and if somebody attacks from the start you can be assured he will have his name engraved in the hall of shame. And I will be holding the chisel.

Anyway, the green jersey is still on the line, and the stage is still is 100 miles, so you still have to eat, not crash and probably suffer a little or a lot on the cobbles going up to the Arc d’Triomphe.

So I’m not saying anything until the fat lady sings. I am looking forward to seeing the Eiffel Tower drinking champers on the Champs and giving my wife a big sweaty kiss.

Until then…

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