The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Stage 8

Tomorrow on Stage 8 in the Alps we’ll discover who is the strongest in this year’s Tour. I suspect the overall race will be between Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck, Lance Armstrong, and, of course, Alberto Contador, although someone like Vinokourov may surprise. The great British hope, Bradley Wiggins, will crack at some point. Not sure I want him to, however, because he is wonderfully poised in front of the English press who never fail to shove a microphone in his face the moment he crosses the finish line. I have not heard him put one word wrong, even when he’s heaving for breath. I also imagine Cadel will crack, though perhaps not tomorrow—he always has in the past. Lance may stay with the leaders—he’s looking very strong this year—but unfortunately he’s already two minutes down on those who matter. So that leaves Contador and Schleck, though in my mind this really isn’t a contest. Contador can ride away from anyone.

Still, it has been one of Lance’s bravest performances to date. One hopes out of nostaglia that this will continue to the end.

By the way, if you’ve never heard Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin describe a stage of the Tour, you owe yourself the pleasure of doing so. No one in any sport can compare with these two. They make what could easily be the most boring event on the planet as interesting and exciting as a prize fight. Every year Liggett and Sherwin are the real heroes of the Tour de France.