Tour de France
From the writing desk of Christine Mazurk
There are so many exciting things happening in the world of sports.
Last month was the NBA Finals with the San Antonio Spurs beating the Miami Heat 4 wins to 1. In The World Cup, Germany knocked Brazil out on their home turf with a 7-1 win. Which leaves Netherlands vs. Argentina to battle it out today! Who will end up with The World Cup?
Though I've been watching The World Cup, my attention was pulled away over the 4th of July weekend, because the Tour de France started. I'm a cyclist, of course I'd be mesmerized and to be honest, I don't understand the nuances of soccer, like where do the extra minutes come from? Who decides how many there should be?
Back to the Tour, an epic three week bicycle race across France. It started in England this year, and Princess Kate, Prince William, and Prince Harry were there to cheer on the cyclists. The crowds were unbelievable. Thousands of people lined the roads to watch the Peloton speed by. It's an amazing sight to see.
My husband and I experienced the thrill of watching the year the Tour started in Ireland. We rode our bikes across Ireland that year. Part of the trip allowed us to ride the routes for stage 1 and 2, while the teams were out there training. I spoke to Jan Ulrich, the previous year's winner, in French wishing him luck, a bonus in my mind. (Maybe I was a bit star struck back then.)
We watched the Prologue - the individual time trial - and stages 1 and 2 with a mass crowd. Having the peloton race by is an indescribable event. The sounds of hundreds of bikes flying along the road and the wind kicked up by their speed is amazing. It's like witnessing a bullet train of color pass within a few feet of your body.
We met Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, the commentators, and got to ride several days with Sean Kelly, former winner of the Green Jersey (the sprinter's jersey) - 4 times in the Tour de France and 4 times in the Vuelta a Espana.
We witnessed crashes, break aways, and the podium celebrations. It was a magical year, one I will never forget, and watching the Tour each year brings those wonderful moments to mind.
Will Vincenzo Nibali hold on to the Yellow Jersey this year until the end? It's anyone's guess as the stages unfold. Two miles into yesterday's stage, Chris Froome, the defending champion crashed. It was painful to watch, but he got up and continued, finishing the stage. Vincenzo Nibali held on to the Yellow Jersey after stage 4.
Today, stage 5 - Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut - began in the rain on a route known for its sections of cobblestones. Not a wonderful combination. It turned out to be too much for Chris Froome and his aching wrist. He pulled out of the race. We've lost another favorite.
Mark Cavendish, our favorite sprinter, crashed - a collision he caused - at the end of stage 1 and is out with a broken collarbone. How many other riders will miss a chance to finish in Paris on the Champs-Elysees?
Tune in for the next 16 stages to find out. Watch the action unfold and find a favorite to root for. I'm rooting for Tejay Van Garderen, an American from team BMC! Can he make it to the podium?
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