Another stage and more crashes. I think what's most frustrating is that we had four GC guys to start the Tour de France and we never saw how well they could actually ride the Tour. If you're going to lose, you want it to be because of better riders, not crashes and injuries. But in reality, we don't race in a vacuum and crashes are part of the race. You just don't have to beat riders, you have to beat the crashes too. Klodi, who was in a good position at the front today, went down hard. His jersey and body show the effects of another crash ... Adding injury to injury. Our plan for the day was just for Klodi to stay as close as possible with the leaders. The pain was too much for him to do anything more or make a move. After today's crash, our plan was no longer possible.
We have five of our six remaining guys battling injuries from crashes, keeping our medical staff and chiropractor quite busy as they try to get them ready for the next day's battle. With our GC and Team GC hopes gone, our only option is now to look for stage win opportunities. Of course with so many injured riders, this won't be an easy task, but we will try. At this point, the only thing I can promise you is this - We will continue riding. Even if we are left with one rider, we will continue.
These experiences have made me reflect on what we were able to accomplish for 9 Tours de France. It has allowed me to see the Tour in a new light. A light that I don't particularly want to see again, but a light that has brought a new respect and appreciation for the race and riders.
Outside of Team RadioShack, I must say that this is turning out to be quite an interesting race. I think a lot of people were surprised to see Alberto lose more time on the favorites today. Since Alberto rides for a different team, it's hard for me to know the issues, but I do know that it's not very Alberto-like to lose time on a summit finish. I was actually expecting an attack from Alberto today, but it never came. Does it have to do with the composition of the team? Is Alberto still feeling the effects of a very tough Giro? Is his knee limiting him? Is there mental pressure of not knowing his future? Or something else? Most likely, it's a combination. If it were any other rider, I would probably say that to win the Tour is no longer within reach. But knowing Alberto's physical capabilities and mental outlook, I would not be totally surprised to see him with the trophy in Paris. It doesn't look in his favor at the moment, but there's still a lot of racing left.
Quick note of thanks to all the fans who continue to stand outside the bus, line the roads, and post messages of encouragement and support on Twitter and Facebook. We may not be able to always respond, but we do hear you!
And to our French fans, Happy Bastille Day.
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