Jim put up a really good post yesterday that basically covers what I wanted to say today after stage 18 yesterday. I'm not quite as skeptical of the riders being clean, though once again I'm likely being naive. I prefer to believe things have changed, though still, we're seeing riders fall.
Basically, I've been a fan of Contador since the 2007 Tour when he showed up as an inexperienced young rider who was expected to earn the white jersey of best young rider but basically was not seen as a threat to the overall. It was cool to see him tearing people's legs off (though slightly dampened by his inability to beat Rasmussen, and only winning after Rass was kicked out of the tour) with such a punch.
Last year I was dissapointed when the Astana team was left out and was impressed when Contador went off and won the Giro and theVuelta a Castilla y Leon and Vuelta a Pais Vasco. The total domination of the "secondary" races showed he deserved a shot at the tour and this year I was excited to see him in action again at the Tour.
As I've mentioned before, I've never really expected anyone to beat Alberto in this race but I was excited about the prospect of a possible podium sweep and even better a top 4 or 5 sweep. How incredible a show of domination would that be?
Contador apparently has other plans though and showed the world the huge gapping hole that exists in his character. Chavendish, who early on in the tear and this race was an unstoppable power who had the respect of millions of people seems to have done the same. Thor on the other hand has just added to an already towering reputation and list of accomplishments with his incredible and silent answer to Chav's BS.
I for one hope to see LA and Kloden attack the crap out of the remainder of the race to try and get back on the podium. I know it can't happen but it would sure be nice to see. Lance has also earned a bit of respect in his willingness to obey team orders and ride forTHE TEAM as opposed to his usual high ambitions.