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Vande Velde’s View: With Paris in our sights

Well the Tour is more or less over and I am already thinking of canoe trips in Wisconsin. Buying bait and a case of old style at the local store. Today was the final time trial and it was actually interesting to watch. Levi rode an amazing race, averaging 53kph over 55.5 kilometers and with his ride and that of Cadel, the top three on GC are now all within half-a-minute of each other.

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By Christian Vande Velde, CSC Professional Cycling Team

Well the Tour is more or less over and I am already thinking of canoe trips in Wisconsin. Buying bait and a case of old style at the local store.

Today was the final time trial and it was actually interesting to watch. Levi rode an amazing race, averaging 53kph over 55.5 kilometers and with his ride and that of Cadel, the top three on GC are now all within half-a-minute of each other.

Obviously it has been a strange Tour and one that I would hope that never happens again. I am glad it’s over, but I do have one personal regret. In June, during the Dauphiné, I half-jokingly told Alberto that I bet 1000 euros on him at 50-to-1 that he would win the Tour. Yeah, how stupid am I that I didn’t! That would’ve been a good pay day. The fact is that I have had confidence in that boy since I first saw him in 2004. He absolutely destroyed Michael Boogerd in Valencia that year at the tender age of 20, and I have been a fan of his ever since.

So this morning I ate my last breakfast with our chef, Soren.

I had to ask him how much ketchup and honey we had consumed during the month and some quick math equated to 17.5 liters of honey and eight Liters of ketchup – that’s more than four gallons of honey and two gallons of ketchup. Keep in mind that Dave Z and Stuey went home early so that would’ve added another gallon to that total. Those boys do like their condiments.

I sat with Alberto this morning on the bus to the train station. He looked a bit dazed but was taking everything in stride, almost like it was nothing new.

We all congregated in the Caisse d’Epargne bus last night after a few beers at dinner. We were drinking Pacharan, a Basque aperitif, but a little faster than it is supposed to be drunk. We all had a good time and it was nice to see some guys in a different atmosphere. We bonded a bit with the Spanish guys and this morning we all had similar stories of waking up in the middle of the night with cotton mouth.

It’s amazing what a few drinks will do to break down some barriers with people you detested for a month. Chente Garcia is back in my good graces but I am sure next weekend in San Sebastian we will butt heads.