Monday, July 12, 2010

The Party's Over: Lance's Luck Runs Out

In Lance Armstrong's run of tour wins, he displayed a near-magical ability to avoid trouble. Credit much of it to his attention to detail, his impeccable bike-handling skills and his razor-sharp survival instincts. And credit the rest of it to a remarkable string of good luck. Lance didn't seem to bring that bag-o-luck along on his comeback. Last year's broken collar bone was just the beginning of a series of crashes, illness and poorly timed mechanicals. Crashing out of the Tour of California disrupted his training on approach to the Tour, but, nonetheless,  Armstrong came into the race looking light and strong. Then shit just started going wrong. On the cobbles of stage 3, where RadioShack's strategy to put time on Contador seemed to be coming to fruition, a puncture at a critical moment cost him contact with the leaders and a couple of important minutes. Then, three crashes today ended his contention for an eighth tour win, the second of which put Armstrong hard on the pavement, his saddle torn off and a tire rolled off the front wheel, forcing him to get a bike change and use his team in an attempt to catch the peloton just as the rest of the contenders blew up the pack on the penultimate climb. At the top of the climb, another rider went down in front of him  in the feed zone, forcing Armstrong to dismount and pull his bike from the tangle. At that moment, Lance knew that he was done. You could see it on his face.
I didn't really give him much of a chance to win this Tour, but he has been riding well and would likely still be in contention if riding well is all it took to win the Tour de France. Unfortunately, it also takes incredible luck and Lance Armstrong's long string of good luck in the Tour de France ran out.

1 comment:

Jo said...

very good recap for a very sad day at the tour =(. Go Levi! Go Evans! Go Schleck! Go anybody but (said with a sneer) Contador.