Monday, July 19, 2010
STAGE 15: CONTADOR'S TRUE COLORS
The kind who throws race etiquette to the wind to get a little advantage.
The kind who attacks the Yellow Jersey wearer as soon as he sees he has a chain coming off on the biggest climb of the day.
The kind who would rather take the low road to be the race leader by seconds than one admired for becoming champion fair and square.
If Contador holds on to win this year's Tour de France, we will always remember him not as the deserving champion he might have been, but as the small man who took advantage of his rival's momentary misforturne to wrest the Yellow Jersey.
So, kudos to France's Thomas Voekler (pictured in a photo by Graham Watson), who scampered away from all cyclists on the last and highest category climb after being part of a day-long 10-man breakaway. Again, it's another stage win for France. The French are enjoying an unprecedented revival of stage winners (particularly in the mountains) this year.
And raspberries to Contador.
Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, who started the day in the Yellow Jersey and 31 seconds ahead of Contador, is now 8 seconds behind the Spaniard. But, more importantly, as a result of Contador's glory-grab, Schleck has instantly become the overwhelming favorite of more fans everywhere. He will have that morale-boost with him has he continues this contest to the finish.
Schleck has vowed to take his revenge in the mountains ahead. I hope he succeeds.