Looking for a Leader

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I know that I should be doing other work, but I think that I have regretably become  addicted to blogging about cycling.

The thing is, while I was writing last night, I was checking up on the Vuelta.  Today is another rest day, which I always forget in the Grand Tours, so there is nothing special to write about.  Or is there?

Tomorrow's stage promises to be decisive, according to all the mystical cycling pundits, setting up either Carlos Sastre or Alberto Contador as the champion of Spain.  Did I miss something?  First of all, Sastre is over a minute and a half back, not leaving him with much of a shot to do anything against Contador, probably the best all around rider in cycling today.

For the record I do think that Alberto will win, but you cannot discount Levi Leipheimer either.  He's got a lot of clout, and he's triumphed over Contador, his teammate, in two of the biggest time trials in the last year.  First it was the final time trial in the '07 Tour, where the American took almost 45 seconds out of Contador's lead in one day to finish within a half a minute of the Spaniard.  Then it was the same situation in Beijing this summer as Lepheimer outkicked the two time Grand Tour champ for Olympic bronze. 

I'm not saying that he will become the first American to win the 'Tour' of Spain, but if anyone can do it, Levi can.  After all, excluding the time trialing ability, Leipheimer has the advantage just from the 18 seconds that he holds over Contador at this moment.  Those are 18 seconds that he does not need to make up (or add on) in stage 20 next week.  But the thing is, there's no reason to think that Leipheimer is the favorite either, because Egoi Martinez holds an eleven second lead over him.  Apparently he does not have the climbing ability to match Contador, just like Carlos Sastre did not have the ability to match the superior time trialing ability of Cadel Evans.

All I'm saying is that we don't know who will be the next champion.  Contador could very easily crush all of the riders on the Angliru tomorrow, or he could just as easily get a flat on the 23% grades and lose two or three minutes himself.  We just don't know what will happen tomorrow, and we cannot base the future on the past.  So while you are sitting at your TV, watching the final Grand Tour of the year, most likely with commentary that is not in English, remember that if a leader shows signs of weakness, it will be exploited no matter how many climbing jerseys or Alpe d'Huez victories they have in the past.

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2 Comments

So, Jed... have you considered writing sports for the Setonian? You've got a knack for words. Talk to Chelsea Oliver (in our EL236 class).

Hi, let's be friends! haha - but no really, if you'd like to write sports for the Setonian, I'd LOVE to have someone with your writing ability on the "team." (I'm the Sports Editor, I have to "throw" in some cheesy sports lingo.)

Send me an email if you're interested! oli2699@setonhill.edu

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