An interesting thing happened when Floyd Landis went from Ultra-Hero to SuperGoat after the 2006 Tour de France:
I stopped caring about pro cycling.
No, it wasn’t an act of defiance, or a boycott, or a statement. I just really stopped caring. I stopped following the races, stopped wondering about who would be transferring to which team, stopped reading about all the doping scandals.
I just lost interest.
Why did I lose interest? I think it has to do with why I also don’t follow pro baseball, football, basketball, or any other sport: I’ve got nothing in common with the players. They’re living in such a different world, with such completely different motivation for doing what they do, that I just don’t relate to them. Which is to say, I used to think that pro cyclists and I had a lot in common — hey, we’re just the same, except you’re 20x faster than I — but it turns out I was wrong.
The Vuelta Thus Far
And so, with my newfound apathy toward the pro side of cycling, I have completely failed to follow the Vuelta. I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not alone in this.
And you know what? That’s just not fair. I shouldn’t take my malaise out on what is, after all, a Grand Tour. Never mind that the most recent winners of all three of the Grand Tours have been implicated in doping scandals (Heras, Basso, Landis), making it so you never really know who won what anymore. It’s still a great race.
So, as a public service to all my readers who have neglected the Vuelta, I have gone back and thoroughly researched this year’s Vuelta. I hereby provide the following recap, so you can be more diligent in following this exciting race to its exciting conclusion:
- Carlos Sastre started out with the leader’s jersey, then gave it to Thor.
- Thor held onto it for a couple days, until the race turned uphill. Then Danilo Di Luca got it. Then Thor got a stage win — finally — but didn’t get the leader’s jersey back. Sorry, Thor.
- Alejandro Valverde won a stage, and some kid from Slovakia who’s evidently Discovery’s great new Grand Tour hope — now that everyone realizes George Hincapie isn’t — but who I have never heard of before now, took the leader jersey.
- The leader’s jersey is a delightful golden color, which is also known as "yellow."
- Hey, Vino won stage 8. Awesome.
- Hey, Vino won stage 9, too. That’s also awesome. You know, now I wish I’d have been paying more attention. I think I could get behind this Vino character. Until I find out he’s doping, anyway.
- By stage 10, Valverde’s in gold. Gold, baby. Gold. He might’ve been in it before stage 10, but I can’t be sure. He stays in gold until stage 16. That’s a long time in gold.
- On stage 14, David Millar won a stage, which either proves he can win clean. Or that he’s better at cheating now.
- On stage 17, Tom Danielson — Discovery’s other Grand Tour hope — won the stage and Vinokourov took the leader’s jersey. Hey, nice work, Vino.
- On stage 18, Vinokourov extended his lead by a smidgen, and today, everyone stayed put.
So there, now you’re up to speed. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait to follow this race more closely for the next several days. Except for during the weekend, during which I won’t have time to post. Apart from that, check back here often for your daily Vuelta update!
Oh, it ends this Sunday? Okay, never mind.