Friday, July 17, 2009

Tour stuff

This so sucks.

VITTEL, France -- Lance Armstrong's teammate Levi Leipheimer withdrew from the Tour de France before Friday's 13th stage after breaking his wrist in a crash, his Astana team said.

Leipheimer fell off his bike about 1.86 miles from the finish line Thursday in a crash involving two-time Tour runner-up Cadel Evans.

The American was fourth overall, 39 seconds behind race leader Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy.

Levi can't get a break ... ok, bad choice of words. But he missed the race last year due to stupid bureaucratic BS (or something worse) and a lot of people were really looking forward to seeing him on the Champs-Élysées. Damn damn damn.

On a cheerier note, good decision.

TONNERRE, France -- Earpieces will be allowed Friday on the Tour de France after the International Cycling Union lifted a ban an all communications between sports directors and their riders for the 13th stage.

"To put an end to the controversy which is compromising the running of the Tour de France, the UCI management committee has decided not to repeat the experiment of a stage without radio communication on Friday 17th of July," the UCI said in a statement on Thursday.

Earpieces were banned on Tuesday in order to spice up the race, but 14 of the 20 teams protested, filing a petition to the sport's governing body and riding the 10th stage at a leisurely pace.

Heh. I used to think race radios were a cop-out. But it's become clear they perform both an important safety and strategic function and are now considered pretty much indispensible by the riders. Sounds like TPTB got the message.

In other Tour news ... oh! There were Senate confirmation hearings this week for Judge Sotomayor? Yes, indeed there were. Yes, I did watch. I thought her performance was abysmal. I thought she contradicted herself and meandered all over creation in her "answers," many of which weren't answers at all. I thought she was embarrassing and confusing. I think she'll continue to be embarrassing and confusing on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately.

There are at least dozens of qualified liberal judges out there who could run circles around her. The job she's seeking does, after all, require coherent thinking, communication and persuasion skills, none of which appear to be her strong suit. It's a shame and just a part of the legacy of poor choices and policies that Obama is piling up. But who knows? Maybe she'll grow into the job. I believe Clarence Thomas (whose appointment also caused me some concern) did just that. Of course, he'd only had two years' experience on the federal bench while she's had seventeen. But now I'm rambling and the sun is setting.

Shabbat Shalom.