Michael Rasmussen's big dream came through on Stage 9 of the Tour, as he crossed the finish line alone as stage winner wearing the polka-dot jersey after a 168 km breakaway. In that way he marked the 100th anniversary of the implementation of mountain climbs in the Tour de France. Today's last climb was in fact Ballon d'Alsace, the first mountain that was included in the Tour in 1905.
For Michael Rasmussen himself it was the culmination of a life long dream, not to mention a culmination of a year totally dedicated to peaking at the Tour. "It is totally beyond description," he wrote in his diary on www.feltet.dk/michaelrasmussen. "I've been riding a bike for 23 years, and since I was six years old I have dreamed about winning a stage in the Tour. And when it happens wearing the polka-dot jersey is absolutely fantastic."
After the stage Michael Rasmussen couldn't help shedding a tear, a thing he hasn't done since he won the 1999 mountain bike World Championship. "This is even bigger, definitely," he added.
Not only did he win the stage, but he also increased his lead in the mountain competition now having 88 points, while Christophe Moreau and Jens Voigt who chased him all day have 40 and 37 points. In addition to that he is now placed fourth in the overall classification, and that has lead to questions as to a possible focus on this as well
"Is it wisest to go after the polka-dot jersey and perhaps win another stage or should I try to see how far I can make it in the overall? That's some of the things I will now have to get a good night's sleep to consider, as well as having a discussion with the team management to hear what they think."