On Friday 13th, Tour de France (TdF) Stage 12 was ridden; July 14, Stage 13 was ridden. It might seem strange, but I just notice little things like this; two “#13s” within a 24 hour period. I’m not superstitious, just observing.

Since TdF 2012 began July 1, I’ve not been able to watch a stage “live.” But I’m proud to say that my “luck” changes with Stage 13! Almost from the moment live coverage began on NBC Sports, I was able to follow the ride. I was a little dismayed, though, to learn the guys had already been powering their steely stallions nearly two hours before I got to join their progress. Shucks and heavy sigh. Such is the magic of television, time zone delays and production executives’ decisions. Now that it seems I’ll not get to view an actual stage start, I’ll have to adjust and – roll on – which is what the redoubtable riders of Le Tour

have done in Stage 13.

It was relatively flat today, but just like stage 12 the finish line came at the top of a hill. For several reasons, THIS hill seemed to me more pernicious than the hill at the finish of the previous. One is because it was at the end of a long, gentle down hill assisted with a tail wind coming off the Mediterranean Sea. Two is that it was at a 7% grade. Three is because it was but 1600 meters, which is just long enough to be too long at the end stage of 135 miles.

Evald Hagen of Switzerland managed to stay out front of everybody for MOST of the stage and was admirable in his effort pedaling with a cross wind off his left across the water front. At 600 meters into the climb, though, the reserve ran out. He couldn’t keep the crank spinning.

Andre Greipel of team Lotto-Belisol and Peter Sagan of team Liquigas-Cannondale whipped past him covered the last 1000 meters and finished the stage first and second, respectively. From my perspective such a stage would be fun to ride. But knowing at the finish line, I’d face such “technical” challenges, I’d be thinking way ahead and really wondering if I’d be able to finish perhaps in first place.

From what athletic experience I have, I must observe that has to be the right combination of physical conditioning, personal pace on the race and personal competitive psychology. On the whole, “lucky” stage 13 of TdF 2012 was a terrifically interesting stage to watch.