Pettacchi Quits Tour
Italian sprint king Alessandro Petacchi has sensationally quit the Tour de France, despite claiming victories in four of the first six stages of this year's centenary race.
Petacchi got off his bike after 52 km of the stage in the French Alps after he lost contact with the bunch on the slopes of the Col de Portes.
In honor of the Tour reaching the Alps, I'm going to do my own mountain stages this afternoon. I've got a 22 mile loop I call the "Buck Hill" loop, which is chock full of long, curvy extreme inclines. My friend Rik, who used to race professionally with the likes of Greg LeMond, believes they are the worst hills in Vermont. They are absolutely awful, and I haven't ridden them since last year, but I think there might be some worse inclines in our so-called Northeast Kingdom. I'll hopefully be doing a comparison later this summer. At some point I need to get out my topo map CDs and figure out what the average incline is on some of these routes.
Anyway, my plan is to do Buck Hill and then a modified maintenance loop, adding about 5 more miles of steep hills in the perversely named "Pleasant Valley". Stef observes that I have had a long layoff and shouldn't push it. I'll decide after I finish Buck Hill whether to go easy or hard on the next leg. I'd hate to admit she's right, but I can be a big person when necessary. Wish me luck.