Post Tour Withdrawal

by Jack  

About a week after the end of this year's Tour de France, I have developed post Tour withdrawal. I'm left wondering what the rest of the cycling season will bring. The spring classics have come and gone, the Giro cemented Alberto Contador (Astana) as the best cyclists living and the Tour has finally confirmed Carlos Sastre (Team CSC-Saxo Bank) a winner that we had always felt he could be.

Every July brings a culmination to the cycling season. It is the cima coppi, if you will, of the entire sport. Too bad it is right smack in the middle of the season and not at the end. For potential Tour winners, their year effectively ends once they cross the finish line in Paris and any event they may ride in between then and the end of the season may be token. But this year may be different. Carlos Sastre has confirmed that he will ride the Vuelta a España, setting up a potential showdown with last year's Tour winner Contador. Will there even be a match up? Contador has trained exclusively for the Vuelta while it remains to be seen if Sastre can muster the motivation needed to get through another 3 week race. Throw in the defending champ, Denis Menchov (Rabobank), whose participation is not yet confirmed, and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel Euskadi) and you have a race!

The fall classics began today with the 28th running of the Clásica San Sebastián in Spain. One of the most prestigious races because of its schedule, it usually brings most of the stars that just finished the Tour allowing for some unfinished business to be completed. It was won by none other than countryman Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) in a sprint against Russian Alexandr Kolobnev (Team CSC-Saxo Bank) and Italian Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner). An in form Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) was an animator throughout the race but came up short against the superior sprinters. Because of his win and impressive 3rd week showing at the Tour, Valverde will go into the Olympics road race as the man to beat. He will lead a very strong Spanish squad including Sastre, Contador, Sanchez and Freire.

Despite today's race, the Olympics road race in one week and the Vuelta coming up, I am still somewhat in shock that there isn't a big cycling race every day. It's been almost routine to come to the office, surf to my favorite live video player and pretend to work. Now, I actually have to work! But something tells me that once the live events section on CyclingTV gets filled up again, I will return to "normalcy".

Speaking of CyclingTV, does anyone get this new platform? I am sure anything is better than what they had before but I hope that once I navigate to the live races, the race viewer won't be smaller than before. I tried to log on this morning thinking they were going to show San Sebastián and found the platform just as confusing as before. I had just perfected logging on to the previous format that it makes me cringe to think that I will have to get used to this new site. Of course, no San Sebastián but thanks to the Podium Cafe and Cyclingfans, I was able to watch it anyways. Thank you Denmark! But while I was on CyclingTV, I did notice that when you launch their "Media Player", it is significantly smaller than the previous player as well as what is playing on their home page. After some digging, it seems that the same thing plays on the "Media Player" as well as the main player on the home page. Confused? Yeah, me too. This is not going to help with my post Tour withdrawal. Versus anyone?

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