Come on Aussie, Come on!

These are some very heady days for Australian cycling.
They’ve got Tasmanian Richie Porte in the Maglia Rosa leading the Giro d’Italia. They’ve got Mick Rogers, who seems to have completely recovered from the injuries that have plagued him in recent years in the lead of the Tour of California. Matthew Lloyd is leading the King of the Mountains race in the Giro. Lloyd along with Cadel Evans and Matt Goss have won stages at the Giro. While Bret Lancaster picked up a win in a soggy stage 2 in the TOC. And, of course, Cadel Evans is the reigning World Champion. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
Hopefully Porte can hang on for vistory in the Giro. The last week is going to be rough and he’s sort of an unknown quantity. He does have a little lead to wrk though. On the other hand, Rogers’ competition is right on his heels. It’s nice to be in the lead With three days to go including a time trial in LA (he’s a former TT World Champ). However, Dave Zabriskie has the same time and several riders incluing Levi Leipheimer are well within striking distance. Should be an exciting few days of racing.

Vive le Tour

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Congratulations to Carlos Sastre for taking the 2008 Tour title. Congrats to all the riders really. It was a fantastic Tour—the best in recent memory. Over 3 weeks of racing and almost every day was exciting. From the first stage in Brittany with Alejandro Valverde winning in an uphill sprint through the Massif Central, the Pyrenees, the Alps and all the way the Champs Elysees in Paris. The race did not disappoint.
Up until Sastre blew everyone away on Alp d’Huez, 6 riders were within a minute of the lead (Evans, F. Schleck, Kohl, Menchov & Vandevelde). The racing and attacking was fierce. And here in the States, the coverage by Versus was unprecedented in terms of the length, often going on air before the start of the start so we were actual able to see for the first time how breakaways are formed, established and nurtured. (My only complaint about Versus was Craig Hummer. Nice guy, but not a great commentator. What happened to Al Trautwig?)
In all, there were seven men in Yellow, including 2 from Luxembourg and even a Frenchman for day. The 4 Americans and the two American teams in the race acquitted themselves well. Christian Vandevelde exceeded all expectations finishing 5th and announcing himself as one of the top contenders in the peloton. Team Columbia took 5 stage victories—4 alone to British sprinter Mark Cavenidish and held at times early in the race, the Yellow, Green and Polka-Dot Jerseys. I would have liked to see George Hincapie do better. He almost won a stage in the Alps, but lost some time on the last climb and couldn’t quite make it up on the descent.

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