Monday, June 18, 2007

A Helping Hand

I got my first note today from someone whose family member was recently diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. Like me, he had multiple bad nodes and it appears as if he will need a good dose of RAI in August. Anyway, this person emailed me today and said that this blog was a help to her in understanding more about thyroid cancer. I must say I was really moved by this message. Six weeks into it I am having a lot of fun with this blog. We're reaching a stage now that up until my RAI in December, the dialogue will likely move a bit away from its emphasis, my dealings with cancer, and more towards the "mundane" but that being said, it is a privilege and honor to provide even a small degree of meaning to someone who's going through the same ordeal. That, after all, was my original intent.

Anyway, Dear Person Who Emailed Me - please feel free to shoot me a message on this blog or offline with any questions you or your family might have. I'm certainly not a medical doctor, but there's certain areas where I can probably provie guidance and it's my pleasure to help in any way possible.

What did you think about Entourage? I thought it was awesome, per usual. Walsh is a freaking scene stealer. I though Vince is a fantastic Pablo Escobar and the few scenes they showed looked great. That said, I think the writers are going to throw us a curveball and have the movie bomb, forcing Vince to make unseemly career choices to pay the bills. Hope I'm wrong but that's my theory and I'm sticking with it.

So, as promised, a little about the Dauphine Libere (heretofore referred to as the DL). Cycling is comprised of the three "majors" -- the Tour de France, The Giro (Italy) and the Vuelta (Spain). Each spring features a number of secondary races referred to as 'the classics" of which the DL is one. The DL is an eight day race which is significant in that it replicates the Tour de France in many respects, including the fact that many of the stages are raced on the same course. It's also the race where the Tour contenders (referred to as the GC) show what kind of shape they are in as thry approach the Tour ("their form" as they say.

Still with me? Good.

Anyway, in year's past, folks came to the DL looking to win; until Lance came along, that is. A few years ago, I think it was 2002 or 2003, Lance made a huge strategic blunder. He came to the DL to win (which is what Lance is want to do, given his ultra competitive nature) and he had to fight hard to do so. In the process, however, he showed some moments of weakness, including a rare bonk. He went into the Tour a month later and ended up winning, but by his smallest margin of his seven victories, and there were moments of very serious doubt along the way. The DL essentially drained him in advance of the Tour and he admitted as much. He demonstrated that it is tough to show the form necessary to win the DL and then hold that form until the Tour.

So now, the main GC guys almost do everything in their power NOT to win the DL; they use it more as a hard training ride in anticipation of the tour. At best, they might look to win a few select stages.

Ok, all that as backdrop, this was an interesting DL. Props to Moreau for his victory; at 36, it's probably his last. It was clear he wanted a last hurrah and isn't going into the Tour looking for victory. He's a terrific rider who's had a great career and he deserved this win.

I think the real revelation though was Alexandre Vinoukourov (aka, Vino) who showed excellent -- almost inredible -- form. He killed the time trial as well as multiple mountain stages. No question he's the prohibitive favorite this year. He is more than race ready. More interestingly, his team, Astana, looks really formidable. Discovery (Lance's former team) is going to have problems this year. Levi Leipheimer, the leader of Discovery, had stomach problems so it was tough to ascertain what kind of shape he is in. I like Levi and I will definitely be rooting hard for him this year, but I've said this in the past and I'll say it again; I don't think he has the killer instinct it takes to win the Tour. Vino definitely has it, though he almost is too fuled by testosterone; it causes him to make frequent and stupid mistakes. If he manages to ride within himself this year, though, I think the Reign of American's will come to an end. That said, I do think Levi has enough fight in him to get a podium spot. Either way, it should be real interesting.

Still with me? I didn't think so.

Oh well.


Anonymous said...

if interogators used this as a means to get confessions they probably could stop after first sentence.But GOOD GOING IN HELPING OUT ANOTHER THYROID PROBLEM PERSON.GS

payro said...

Yeah, Vino looked OK in the DL, but it was hard to see who could pop up for the Tour. It's wide open with so many riders being out or suspended. The Tour of Switzerland is also going on right now, no clear leader. How about 21 year old Andy Schleck, second at the Giro. Don't think he'll win the Tour but he may make some waves.