Au revoir Vande Velde.
Le Tour says goodbye to all round nice guy and tireless worker Christian Vande Velde of Garmin-Sharp.
In all honesty, he is either crash prone or the Cycling Gods keep giving him the crash message so he understand that the clock is up and Chicago is calling.
Vande Velde’s physical hardships have already been well documented this Tour. It’s been no 100th birthday party for the experienced rider hoping for one last strong Tour de France performance. Mais c’est fini maintenant.
He’s already crashed enough to dislodge a screw in his should or collarbone. He has bruises and contusions and all sorts of bad painful stuff that would terminate our Saturday ride for a month. Shoulder, back, fractured sense of well being, shattered hope.
No rider wants to leave the biggest show on cycling earth. Vande Velde told me, “It doesn’t get easier. When you’re so beat up, it’s almost a relief to know you don’t have to do the same thing tomorrow. But that means it’s three times worse when you get home and realize how much it does mean to you. I’m not going to be the guy who cries in the car — that’s a little over the top.”
Vande Velde is a midwest guy and isn’t prone to dramatics and he was able to smile for fans and media outside the Garmin bus. That doesn’t mean that’s the whole story.
And actually, it isn’t because it does get a little better. As Vande Velde wrapped things with a camera crew, friends from Chicago showed up to wish him well. They’d made a special flag to cheer him on. Vande Velde was touched and couldn’t believe they’d gone through all the trouble.
He won’t be seeing that flag on the roadside in the Pyrenees or Alps but now the flag will function as an over-well-soon card.