Today the final stage of the 2011 TDU gets underway, which is devastatingly disappointing for me, but also extremely exciting considering it is Cadel Evans who will cross the line the champion today, calamitous misadventure or desperate procession notwithstanding. (brief pause while author touches wood.)
I can’t believe it’s nearly over, and conversely can’t believe that Gilbert’s win on Stage One was only three weeks ago.
For those who don’t know, the final day of the Tour is not contested by the main contenders for the overall win.
There are multiple reasons for this — tradition plays a role, but also, the futility of any effort bringing you a result must be acknowledged.
The sprinters have not been able to contest for days (and finished outside of time cut for the big two Alpine days) and all of them and their teams will be absolutely hanging for one more shot at getting the win. So the likelihood of some skinny little mountain climber zipping off the front of a flying peloton are virtually zero.
All of the teams will have their big sponsors on the Champs Élysées, as well as potential sponsors for forthcoming years, and so there is a genuinely desperate edge to the procession that is rolling along.
Do a good job on this day, and often the team is set up for a great season 2012.
The boys do multiple laps of the Champs, so they get a good opportunity to look at the corners and try to work out how they can get over the top of the Cav-HTC train.
Couple that with most sprinters having already contested there in previous years, and the final lap will be absolute dynamite. Last year Cav was impeccable, with an acceleration and too sped that was astonishing to watch.
Julian Dean was also spot on, but unfortunately Tyler Farrar, who would normally shoot off JD’s wheel to go for the win had left the Tour with a broken hand.
All of the smart money is on Cav for yet another win today, but the same smart money was on a Schleck-Contador duel for the Tour win. Thus magical upsets happen, and so I’m on Ty Farrar!
A man can dream!