The 2009 Tour de France has become one of those events that has permanently etched itself in my memory. It is one of those events where I will remember every detail of my life during these three weeks.
This tour will etch itself forever as the Tour of Transition. The Tour where the heroes of yesterday pass the torch to the heroes of tomorrow. It is tough to see Lance Armstrong left behind by an acceleration. He still has the strength and stamina but as they say, he lost that first step. As we know in cycling, the key is getting the gap in those precious few seconds at the start of an acceleration.
There is absolutely no equivalent comparator in all of sports to getting dropped in cycling. It is the cruelest and most visible form of sporting Darwinism. We have all felt it. You desperately try to hold the wheel in front of you. Then a space of two to three feet opens between you and the rider in front of you and you know what is coming. Immediately after, the world knows too. “Look, he’s getting dropped!”
Lance Armstrong got dropped by the most relentless of competitors, Father Time himself. Not content on taking Lance from our midst but he seems to have picked up Geroge Hincapie in his broom wagon. George sounded very melancholy after losing on what is probably his last chance to wear a Yellow Jersey.
There was one rider who I thought had the best chance of winning his race against time. I can picture his familiar grimace while trying to stoke his big diesel engine to outrun the scythe wielding specter. Father Time had to take out the rear wheel of Jens Voigt in order to end his Tour. It may be the last time we see Jens at the head of the peloton.
I have hope that the next generation of cyclists will do Lance, George, and Jens proud. Andy Schleck, Vincenzo Nibali, Jurgen Van den Broeck, and of course Alberto Contador should do OK. I look forward to many exciting years ahead.