By Jonathan Vaughters, Crédit Agricole cycling team
I know, I know….
Saying the Tour de France sucks to a crowd of cycling fans is akin to standing in the middle of downtown Denver and saying that John Elway sucks. But, I’m sorry, it does.
Of course, if all goes well, and you win something, then the Tour de France is the greatest event in the world, a whole lot of fun and the race you will specifically target next year. It is like all things at the absolute pinnacle, elation or heartbreak and all of it in the deepest sense.
The Tour de France is so hard and such a high level of competition that if one little thing goes awry, then it all falls apart very quickly. No room for error or mistakes . . . and no room for bad luck.
Now, you already know that I’ve had more than my fair share of bad luck in the Tour de France, but then I’ve never been one of the stronger or more talented riders in the race, so I take it in stride realizing that even if I had perfect luck I’m still a long way off from a top 10 in Paris.
Christophe Moreau, on the other hand, is a true podium hope, and is one of the most talented cyclists I’ve ever been around. But a heavy dose of bad luck has put an end to that. In any other race there might be a second chance, but this is the Tour. Anyhow, that’s enough of me waxing philosophic for the day.
The results of the day show basically what happened to our team. Christophe crashed twice; both at very inopportune moments, forcing the entire team, except Stu-ey to chase back up to the peloton.
I was not on a very good day to begin with, but after putting my heart and soul on the line each time to get Chris back in contention, I was dead. After being immediately pipped out back on the first little hill after we chased back the second time, I limped in with a small group some 11 minutes down.
I felt bad, but when I saw Erik Dekker all bandaged and bloody riding next to me, right after he just made his comeback to the peloton after breaking his femur, I figured my life was not so bad.
Even so, I still say the Tour sucks.
Tyler Hamilton and Jonathan Vaughters are sending in regular updatesfrom peloton throughout this year’s Tour de France.To read other diary entries go to the “Riders’Diaries” section and follow the appropriate links.