Today’s time trial was another exciting, unpredictable, and thoroughly enjoyable day in the tour. Some riders rode above themselves (Vinokourov, Rasmussen), some did not live up to expectations (Mayo, Valverde), and some just rode within themselves (Evans, Kloden, Leipheimer).
I can’t remember a time trial when each rider down the ramp could and did change the GC one way or another. Time trials in years past became a showcase for only one or two riders while the others rode to keep their place in the GC. This produced only one or two exciting rides a day. What changed?
Hope. With the top step of the podium up for grabs more than a handful of riders woke up today with the one feeling that can change the time trial into an attacking race not just a defensive race to tee up the mountains.
And attack they did. Vinokourov who has always turned in otherwordly performances when fuled by emotion did so today. He rode so hard and fast he put himself back on the radar of those looking at displacing Rasmussen form his jersey.
Like the water flowing across the roads of southern France aggression was the word of the day. I never knew a race alone could be filled with attacking and counterattacking. Usually by now most riders were exhibiting submissive behavior and ceding the tour to Lance Armstrong. I’ll bet the impetus of those time trialists was to finish in enough time to watch Lance like the rest of us.
At the end of the day, some riders may have lost hope but many more should have it burning as hot as ever. This should be a good week coming up.