Todays fifth stage of Le Grand Boucle lived up to all the hype bestowed upon it since the route was announce last October. It was an epic day of the highest highs for some (Former CX hero Lars Boom gets his first big pro tour win after a number of near misses) and the absolute lowest of lows for others (Chris Froome gets a ride to the hotel in the back of the Team Sky car).
Seeing Froomey sitting in that back seat with the window fogging up and a frenzied photographer shuttering away on the other side of the open door was heartbreaking, but it was also arguably the best possible example of the fragile beauty that this fine race projects. For no matter how hard you work, how efficiently you train, how meticulously you prepare or how financially supported you are this race and these roads will do with you as they please.
Hats off to Lars Boom for playing his cards perfectly and having the strength to pull his move off, but perhaps the ride of the day goes to The Shark (A.K.A. Vincenzo Nibali) for riding a masterful race in his own right and putting big time into the remaining competition for Maillot Jaune.
The Italian rode like a champion, honored the yellow on his back and showed that no matter what happens in the remaining 16 stages he has proven that he is at the very least worthy of climbing up on that top step on Le Champs Elyseé later this month.
Lot's of racing still to go though... and we should all be thankful for that.