July 14, 2004
TDF: Stage 10
Posted by Gordon Smith

Richard Virenque took all of the suspense out of Stage 10 with one of the most impressive breakaway rides ever. On the longest stage of this year's Tour -- over six hours of riding -- Virenque made the peloton look positively sluggish. I have been watching the Tour closely for four years, and Virenque never makes an appearance without some mention of doping. Of course, he was at the heart of the huge 1998 Festina doping scandal, and that is an issue he will never shake.

Frankly, I do not know how anyone rides a bicycle up the mountains these guys are climbing. And Stage 10 had nine categorized climbs! Very impressive.

I am happy to see Thomas Voeckler still holding the yellow jersey. No big news about the GC. Lance seems to be in great shape. Virenque moved up into fourth place, but he will fade tomorrow after today's massive effort. Tyler lost a few seconds today, but he is still within striking distance of Lance, as are Jan and Levi and Ivan Basso. Mayo has not been impressive so far, and he probably needs to do something dramatic this weekend.

UPDATE: The voice of OLN's Tour commercials (not the goofy bearded guy who does the awful "Cyclism" spots, but the voice who announces tomorrow's stage) just pronounced Richard Virenque's last name VEER-ANKY. Where is Donald Trump when you need him?

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