Tonight the Basque people celebrate. Mucho tapas and serious drinks.
The Euskatel Euskadi team has rolled into Paris with much honor and many triumphs and happy memories.
The Men of Orange kicked ass in the Pyrenees and Samuel Sanchez did most of the damage, winning the first mountain stage to the summit of Luz Ardiden. There was singing and dancing and flag flying back in the Basque country.
Then the team continued their strong run in the tres damn Haute Alps with Sanchez again going on the attack against the brothers Schleck, Cadel Evans and Ivan Basso.
The mans goes up hill fast and downhill faster.
He did not win on the Galibier or Alp d’Huez but he inspired and that is most of the battle. He finishes the tour in a fine six place overall and the prestigious polka dot jersey of best climber. Don’t’ know how the red dots really go with the orange jersey but who cares?
The small budget Euskatel Euskadi team scored a fifth place in the team competition beating out media conglomerates and financial institutions and pharmaceutical giants like Sky, Saxo Bank and Omega Pharma Lotto.
But as always the most important thing for the Basque team was not wins but inspiration. They certainly provided plenty in this Tour.