Tour 2008: Sastre Wins!

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A bit late in posting this, but I didn’t have a chance to update yesterday, but I wanted to send along my congratulations to Carlos Sastre who held off Cadel Evans in the individual time trial on Saturday to claim the 2008 Tour de France.

Heading into the weekend, the odds on favorite to win the Tour was Evans, who was heralded as a much better time trialist than Sastre, who held a 1 minute, 34 second lead over the Australian. On Saturday, the dueled it out on the course, and while Evans was faster, he wasn’t able to make up enough time to claim the Yellow Jersey. As a result, Sastre goes home with his first Tour victory, and Evans finished second for the the second year in a row. Bernard Kohl finished in the third place.

On Sunday, it was mostly a day of celebration and an easy ride for Sastre into Paris, with a victory lap on the Champs Elysees, but for the sprinters there were still points to be had with the Green Jersey still in contention. In the end, it was Oscar Freire who went home with points title. Bernard Kohl came out of the mountains with the Polka Dot Jersey on his back, and that was all sewn up before the weekend. He claims the King of the Mountain title to go along with his third place finish, marking the end of a remarkable Tour. Finally, the White Jersey, given the Tour’s best young rider, went to Andy Schleck, who put the cycling community on notice that he’ll soon be a force to be reckoned with in the sport.

Overall, it was a good race, and I’m always sad to see it come to an end. The doping scandals remained, and there were enough of them to remind us that the sport is not cleaned up and, and may very well still have a long way to go. It is frustrating to see the same thing year in and year out, and I’m sure we’ll have another round of crackdowns to address the situation, but it’ll be years before the Tour really is “clean” in my opinion. The situation didn’t get this bad over night, and it’s not going to be cleaned up quickly either. Hopefully they’ll continue to make strides, so that all of the racers are on a level playing field in the future.

The Tour is still one of the best events in the world, I’d just love to see some of the luster restored to it.

Kraig Becker

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