I wanted some drama, and today’s stage was dramatic alright.
Stage 4 was the team time trial, in which each team rides seperately to see who can get five guys to the finish line in the shortest time. The leading time crept down throughout the day until Lance Armstrong’s Discovery team, the second-to-last team to finish, came in with a time of 1 hour, 10 minutes and 39 seconds. That left only Team CSC and current leader Dave Zabriskie with a chance to challenge.
CSC was pushing toward the finish line, looking like they had a good chance to beat Discovery, when suddenly Zabriskie hit the pavement, hard. It was hard to see in the replays exactly what happened to him — whether he touched the wheel of the rider ahead of him or made contact with the barrier — but in any case, this was yet another case of the dreadful bad luck that seems to befall anyone with the temerity to challenge Armstrong.
The other members of Team CSC, only momentarily distracted, went on to finish 2 seconds behind Discovery, while Zabriskie pedaled gingerly to the finish line looking like a broken man. It was painful to behold. I can’t really put it better than this dispatch from the official Tour de France Web site:
17:11 – Armstrong Wins Again
The yellow jersey will be worn by Lance Armstrong in the fifth stage. Dave Zabriskie is still limping to the finish line after crashing in the final 1,200m of the stage. His yellow jersey is torn and blood is dropping out of open wounds on his arms and legs.
in other biking-in-foreign-lands news–guess which president fell off his bike again today…
It’s all too perfect. Here’s the BBC’s version of the story:
BUSH BRUISED IN BICYCLE CRASH
George Bush has collided with a police officer during a bike ride on the grounds of the Scottish hotel hosting the G8 summit.
The US president suffered scrapes on his hands and arms and was treated by a White House doctor, his spokesman said.
The police officer, on security duty, was sent to a local hospital to be treated for a minor ankle injury.
Mr Bush, celebrating his 59th birthday, was said to be going at a “pretty good speed” when he fell from his bike.
It was lightly raining at the time of the accident and Mr Bush slid onto the road, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
The doctor bandaged the grazes and Mr Bush was taken back to the summit venue in a van.
It did not prevent him attending a dinner with other leaders of the world’s most powerful nations, hosted by the Queen.
Mr Bush took up cycling seriously after a knee injury forced him to give up running some years ago.
This is not the president’s first accident.
In May 2004, he was badly grazed after falling off his mountain bike during a ride at his Texas ranch and, in June 2003, he fell off his hi-tech Segway scooter.
In January 2002, he grazed his cheek after choking on a pretzel and fainting.
The cop who Bush ran into should start a club with the Japanese prime minister his dad threw up on.