Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stage Seventeen: Embrun to L'Alpe-d'Huez

Very sorry to see that 2-time Lanterne Rouge Jimmy Casper (riding for Agritubel) didn't make the time limit on Alpe d'Huez today and was eliminated. He is the 30th rider to depart the Tour this year. I believe that it was his seventh participation in the Tour. It may serve to highlight what a tremendous accomplishment it is for any rider to finally arrive at the finish line in Paris after making it through three grueling weeks - at any position in the standings.

The Daily Mail reported: "Such is the reverence in which the Alpe is held that Agritubel rider Jimmy Casper, in spite of the certain knowledge that he would be eliminated on time, refused to climb off his bike until he had crossed the line. He promptly burst into tears."

There were 69 riders in the autobus that arrived today at 38 minutes exactly after the stage winner. That means most of the guys that we have been following all got the same time today, and there were no rearrangements at the back of the standings. Wim Vansevenant is in a strong position to finish the 2008 Tour de France as Lanterne Rouge.

146. KRAUSS Sven 116 GEROLSTEINER 78h 10' 48" + 3h 31' 45"
147. EISEL Bernhard 45 TEAM COLUMBIA 78h 12' 25" + 3h 33' 22"
148. RIBLON Christophe 108 AG2R-LA MONDIALE 78h 12' 41" + 3h 33' 38"
149. SPRICK Matthieu 146 BOUYGUES TELECOM 78h 18' 26" + 3h 39' 23"
150. VANSEVENANT Wim 9 SILENCE - LOTTO 78h 24' 24" + 3h 45' 21"

It seems Bernhard Eisel had a rough day out there too, especially on the first big descent: "Eisel tumbles on the descent. Then Perez goes off road. Hincapie goes down. Eisel makes it a double as he falls again. My god, this has turned into a demolition derby."

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Wim may well make it a trifecta. Thanks for your kind comments nancy.
A friend of mine went to France to see today's stage -- he's supposed to get photos of Wim for me. We'll see. Meanwhile, it is a shame about Casper. But I'm still happy for Wim - his chances look good.
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