Alejandro Valverde wins stage 17 of the 2012 tdf

Bagnères-de-Luchon to Peyragudes – 143.5km

Watching these gentlemen in France riding bikes everyday for the last three weeks has been hell on my lower back. The soreness associated with television watching is considerably more debilitating than the soreness associated with exercise. That is why I rode in 101 degree weather, climbing over 4000 feet instead of watching live coverage of the Tour. Besides some painful cramps in the quads, it really did feel better.

So, the Tour is almost over. We can only assume that the riders are feeling better than ever after three weeks of not sitting on couches. Alejandro Valverde looks great. Maybe he read that he is the most popular rider in the peleton – despite not having won a stage or otherwise achieved glory in this addition of the Tour – because he won the stage after an impressive solo break.

And another thing: was Froome held back by Wiggins? Of course he was. More than once Froome ended the day looking spry only to be called back by his captain. Denied glory, or is the glory of being a loyal leftenant glorious enough? We are reminded of all the swell glory George Hincape has received by helping with eight tour wins. Or was it Nine? Of course George has a few wins of his own. Unfortunately the word “few” is not an understatement. Perhaps Froome will lead a team of his own soon. Whatever happens, it looks like Wiggins will be the first to win the Tour but he certainly wont be the last.