Carlos Sastre (ESP), of Team CSC, wins the 2008 Tour De France.
This year's Tour lacked the same type of excitement as I've seen in year's past, but it was still a great three week event. Enthusiasm for the Tour has suffered from years of doping scandals and the resultant exclusion this year of Team Astana, which included last year's Tour winner, Alberto Contador, and third place finisher, Levi Leipheimer (USA).
This year all eyes were on Australian, Cadel Evans, who finished in 2nd place in 2007. However, Carlos Sastre took control of the Yellow Jersey on Stage 17 in an impressive ascent up Alp D'Huez, the Tour's most famous climb. His closest contenders either failed to attack or didn't have the legs to do so as effectively. Although many folks seemed to think that his 1 minute 34 second lead would be lost in the Stage 20 individual time trial, it was not so. The power of the Maillot Jaune (Yellow Jersey) gave Sastre the motivation to concede less than half a minute to Cadel Evans.
Perhaps the best part of the 2008 Tour was the debut of two new US Teams to the Tour, Team Garmin-Chipolte and Team Columbia (with 5 stage wins). Both did extremely well and should provide for some exciting international racing in the upcoming years.
Vive Le Tour!
Photo Credit: Bjarte Hetland, July 27, 2008