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Saturday, July 02, 2005

I Don't Suck Much 

I celebrated our nation's birthday yesterday by pummeling myself in a bike race. To wit: the Yaletown Grand Prix. Results aren't posted yet, but I didn't finish in the money. But I still had a pretty good race. Suck level 3. Why so good? Well, with a big team in the Cat 4/5 race, we planned (and mostly did) slam breakaway after breakaway on the main pack. I went for an early flyer that stayed away for a couple of laps, making it easy for my surprisingly numerous fans to find me, since they kept announcing my name and number as a result.

I even had half a chance at a points-paying position in the end, but I was on the wrong side of a last-lap crash, and while I didn't fall down, I came to a dead stop, and straggled across the line in a nothing position, somewhere in the top half of the field.

It felt good. Maybe my best race this year. Racing always hurts less when you get a result you like.

In other news, this morning there was a bike race in France you might have heard of. I'm not one for getting too caught up in the Lanceophilia that surrounds a certain 6-time winner and defending champion of the Tour de France, but in today's opening time trial stage, Mr. Armstrong made a monstrous statement. He came second by two seconds to the winner (TT specialist Dave Zabriskie: he won't be in the running when the race hits the mountains). But Lance, 2s behind Dave, was 51s ahead of third place man Alexandre Vinokourov, and in the most dramatic image of the day, caught and passed Jan Ullrich on the road. That means that Lance took over a minute out of his keenest rival on the first day of the Tour, and nearly a minute out of all of his serious rivals. To put that time gap in perspective, he has won the tour by less.

Lance Armstrong is ready for this race. It should be an interesting few weeks.

The next question is which stages really matter? Well, stay home on Tuesday, July 12, when the race has its first mountaintop finish. Sunday the 17th will be another epic mountain stage, and may be the decisive stage.

The two other days that really matter to the GC riders chasing after the yellow jersey are the team time trial on July 5, and the final time trial on July 23, the penultimate day of racing. But TTs are fairly dull to watch on TV, so just check your favourite news source for results.

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