Where is the good old Red, White and Blue as Paris-Nice heads down to Southern France? Down, way down.
Today’s stage from Peynier to Tourrettes-sur-Loup was won by Cervelo Test Team climber Xavier Tondo of Spain just ahead of a charging Alejandro Valverde and the newly-nicknamed Peter Super Sagan.
But for the American riders in this years’ Paris-Nice, there’s been nothing particular to cheer about. No big results, no flashes of form.
Chris Horner managed a 23rd place finish and Radio Shack teammate Levi Leipheimer rolled in at 38th. Tom Danielsen came across the line in 71st. And Garmin’s top stage racer, Christian Vande Velde, took the 107th slot.
There will be no tales of glory on the Radio Shack or Garmin web sites. The internet will not buzz with excitement about Radio Shack’s strong showing. Things haven’t been disappointing but you know there’s not much to say when Lance Armstrong’s tweets fall off.
The early season match-up between the well-stocked Radio Shack — the team of Lance Armstrong — and the supposedly weak Astana team of Alberto Contador has been a wash.
In sixth position, Astana leads the Shack in the team competition by one place. Not only is Contador set to win Paris-Nice, his team gains confidence for that month in July when the stakes are highest.
For American riders, it was a slow day at the office. It’s mid March, there’s training to be done, nobody is running around claiming the sky is falling. Just us cycling writers wondering if these results carry any meaning deeper meaning for events to come.