Stage 8-189 km
Aigurande to Super Besse Sancy
Today’s TDF coverage starts where yesterday’s left off: on the side of the road. Sporting loss is difficult to quantify as an emotion but at Hero HQ there were many blank stares after news of Chris Horner’s withdrawal. We admit it, Chris Horner was our Dark Horse; but what is a Dark Horse but a defence to not let our true emotions speak? The Heroes wanted Chris Horner to win the Tour de France.
In the tautly written play that is the cycling season, Chris was the ideal character. His age, 39 was his Achilles hill that made his pursuit implausible yet sealed our devotion to his victory. At an age when most elite cyclists lose commitment to be a professional, Chris did not. Hewing to a strict diet, he slimmed down close to 137 pounds, a first. He even stayed in America after his brilliant victory in the Tour of California rather than risk the temptation of consumption away from home. Though the Heroes will not be able to cheer him on, we do not forget his ascetic commitment to this year’s tour. We bid thee farewell small man from Oregon.
And now, to answer the question foremost in your minds: As we all remember from third grade geography, the Massif Central is of course a part of Central European Uplands. But what you might not remember – after all third grade was a while back for some of us – is that the region is home to the largest concentration of extinct (RIP) volcanoes in the world, about 450 of them. Needless to say, the Massif was shaped mainly by the Caledonian orogeny and we can assume that it is the Alpine orogeny that caused the Cenozoic volcanism giving us our first mountain stage of the tour.
It was with a fiery courage that the young Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa braved this region with a small band of explorers for 185 kilometers of today’s stage. Youthful Americans with titles nearly as long tested his leadership, but the Portuguesian’s flame burnt too bright: an attack in the final kilometers turned television time into true Heroics. BEM FEITO, Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa -your name(s) will live in infamy.
We have reached the end here, but alas, what are names and words but the sounds men make? And who is the sprinter that climbs mountains? Thor is still in yellow and The Tenspeed Heroes are speechless.