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2009 Tour de France thread


Chavez
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well, kind of a weird day for those of us pulling for lance this year. clearly, contador established that he is the strongest rider in the tour. he just dusted everyone like it was nothing. lance doesn't have an answer, nor does anyone else. BUT....armstrong is looking very strong for a podium finish, which, I have to say, is really freaking impressive for a man at his age, with 4 years away from the sport, with nothing really left to prove.

Did you see the Versus interview with him at the end of the stage? Armstrong was pretty philosophical about the whole thing and handled it with a surprising amount of grace. :wacko:

 

I think his quote on a pretty bold question about being second best to Contador was "well, I'm not the best anymore, but I'm pushing 40 and I've been away for about 4 years so this isn't earth-shattering news to me. Alberto proved he's the man."

 

I have to say his climb today made me think a podium finish isn't out of the question for him.

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well, kind of a weird day for those of us pulling for lance this year. clearly, contador established that he is the strongest rider in the tour. he just dusted everyone like it was nothing. lance doesn't have an answer, nor does anyone else. BUT....armstrong is looking very strong for a podium finish, which, I have to say, is really freaking impressive for a man at his age, with 4 years away from the sport, with nothing really left to prove.

 

 

Did you see the Versus interview with him at the end of the stage? Armstrong was pretty philosophical about the whole thing and handled it with a surprising amount of grace. :wacko:

 

I think his quote on a pretty bold question about being second best to Contador was "well, I'm not the best anymore, but I'm pushing 40 and I've been away for about 4 years so this isn't earth-shattering news to me. Alberto proved he's the man."

 

I have to say his climb today made me think a podium finish isn't out of the question for him.

what he and he said.

 

I don't think any of us really thought Lance should win this thing. Could? absolutely he could and, hell, he still could. Not likely, but he still could. But dude is the elderstatesman of the sport and his still kicking major butt after a long lay-off and a recent injury. Kudos to him and handling the passing of the torch with grace.

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In the Lantern Rouge watch, Kenny Van Hummel increased his gap to 39 minutes, and crept up to 162nd in the standings. Lest anyone thinks I'm picking on the guy, he's in the same neighborhood standing-wise as familiar names like Tyler Farrar (158), Danny Pate (149), and Mark Renshaw (150).

 

I was reading a book on the TdF and apparently the Lantern Rouge used to be an honor along the lines of Mr Irrelevant - the person who finished the TdF in last place would get invited to ride in local races and crits and actually get some notoriety and cash out of the deal. But ASO felt that was not in the spirit of things (I vehemently disagree on that) and quashed the whole deal as best they could.

 

Sherwen and Liggett briefly mentioned him during the telecast today, they said he's a great guy and a real cut-up.

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I was reading a book on the TdF and apparently the Lantern Rouge used to be an honor along the lines of Mr Irrelevant - the person who finished the TdF in last place would get invited to ride in local races and crits and actually get some notoriety and cash out of the deal. But ASO felt that was not in the spirit of things (I vehemently disagree on that) and quashed the whole deal as best they could.

 

The problem I gather was that some riders would end up hiding in the fields to make sure that their 'competition' for last place would go by to ensure a last place finish, among other forms of chicanery. That is why they implemented the newer elimination criteria

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pretty cool stage today. two massive climbs, but then a long descent to finish, which usually takes a lot of the starch out of the attacks on the climbs. but about halfway up the last climb, the schlecks were attacking contador hard, but he stayed with them easily, as did wiggins and kloden. lance couldn't initially keep up with the acceleration, and it kind of looked like, wow, maybe he's just not among the strongest riders in the tour this year. but then he found something, got out of the saddle and danced his way back up to the yellow jersey group, blowing by some pretty strong riders in the process. it was pretty impressive. once lance rejoined the group, the attacks stopped and the yellow jersey group slowed a bit and a few others who had been dropped caught back up.

 

the descent was pretty hairy. unfortunately, jens voight ate pavement going about 60 miles an hour. got to imagine his tour is over, which is a real shame.

 

some earlier breakaways had been reduced to two groups of 4 toward the end of the descent. just as the second group was about to catch the first with about 2K to go, mikel astarloza busted out from the group and charged ahead for his first stage win as a pro. good for him.

 

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Update on Voigt (no linky, sorry):

 

Riis says German seriously injured

 

Jens Voigt (Team Saxo Bank) was taken to hospital after his crash in the 16th stage of the Tour de France. While descending the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard, the German's front wheel slipped away and he went down on his shoulder and head, sliding several metres along the road. The race doctor who attended to him at the scene said that Voigt briefly lost consciousness.

 

"He is seriously injured, but conscious. He was able to move," said a visibly shaken team manager Bjarne Riis to the German press agency dpa.

Bummer, Voigt is always entertaining to watch. The guy has no tactical sense, he just attacks.

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Kenny Van Hummel keeps his status and once again pads his gap, up to 45 minutes now.

 

Is it just me or has Euskatel Euskaldi had a damn solid tour so far?

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the headlines today will say "lance drops to 4th overall", but that doesn't tell the story. he was awesome today.

 

the finish today set up as one big climb, a short descent, then another big climb, then a long descent. as predicted, the schleck brothers attacked hard at the bottom of the first climb. these accelerations separated the two brothers, plus contador and kloden from, most notably, lance and brad wiggins. now, it should be noted that tommorow is the race's big time trial. coming into today's stage, as long as contador could stay with them throughout today's stage, the schlecks pose no threat to contador's yellow jersey, because they aren't strong time trialers. wiggins, however, is an awesome TT rider and therefore actually poses a legitimate threat to contador's yellow, so it was kind of important for contador to put some time into him today if possible. so when the break occurred leaving lance and wiggins behind, lance played the consummate teammate role and just sat on wiggins' wheel. lance obviously had some legs left, and if he was riding for himself would have been limiting his losses to the schleck/contador group to protect his podium spot. but if he worked and wiggins held his wheel, he'd risk riding wiggins back into the race. so lance just held his wheel. he tried to attack wiggins once, but wiggins answered, so lance resumed his position at the rear. then later on the last climb, lance attacked wiggins again and simply dusted him.

 

right around that time, contador got fidgety and attacked the schlecks for some reason, but it backfired, as the only person he dropped was his teammate kloden. so at this point, near the top of the climb, lance was charging and kloden was going backwards. on the descent, first, the impressive young rider nibali (who lance dropped when he attacked wiggins) caught back up to lance, then the two of them caught kloden near the finish.

 

big winners on the day:

- the schlecks, obviously, moving into second and third overall, and giving at least andy a great shot at a podium finish

- contador, cementing his grip on yellow by gaining time on wiggins, lance and the other good TT riders

- lance, by first sacrificing his own standing for the team, then showing some studliness in dropping wiggins and protecting his individual standing.

- thor hushovd, by breaking away from an early breakaway on a big descent to pick up some valuable green jersey points

 

losers on the day:

- brad wiggins, went from a strong podium standing with an outside shot at yellow to now simply having an outside shot at the podium.

- kloden, lost time on the schlecks, and actually a few seconds on lance and nibali at the finish, lengthening his odds at a podium finish.

 

tomorrow is the big time trial, and you could easily see some combination of lance, wiggins and kloden leapfrog the schlecks back into second and third, but then there's still saturday's big finish at the top of mont ventoux. today came close to cinching the race for yellow, but the race for second and third is really getting interesting.

 

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DVR went wiggy so I just finished stage 17.

 

It's a testament to Contador, the Schlecks would've (and did) drop anyone else. The mountains are his world, the peloton just lives in it.

 

Nice job by Cavendish - apparently he went up to Hushovd before the stage and said something along the lines of "I hope you can sleep at night, your jersey has a stain on it." Cue Hushovd going out on the road and getting MORE points where Cav simply isn't able to do so.

Edited by Chavez
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It's a testament to Contador, the Schlecks would've (and did) drop anyone else. The mountains are his world, the peloton just lives in it.

of course, Contador also pissed off his teammates by dropping Kloden for no good reason.

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contador....impressive. andy schleck had a nice ride as well, only losing 15 seconds to armstrong and a minute to wiggins, to put himself pretty solidly in second place. lance now slots into third, about 10" ahead of wiggins and kloden, and 34" clear of frank schleck. makes saturday's ascent up ventoux very compelling, even if the only real race is for third.

 

going to be fascinating to watch the tactics of team astana on saturday. contador is over 4 minutes clear of andy schleck now. that's a lead they really don't even need to protect, esepcially given contador's awesomeness above everyone else this year. the race to watch up ventoux is going to be frank schleck (and to a lesser degree wiggins, but he doesn't have the sharp accelerations of fschleck) attacking armstrong. now lance, for his part, doesn't need to ride in any way to protect contador the way he did yesterday. that much is clear. now what about kloden? if fschleck attacks and lance can't immediately hold his wheel, does kloden work to ride lance back or does he try and hold schleck himself and let lance fend on his own? if kloden holds fschleck and drops armstrong, HE, kloden, gets on the podium. and then what about contador? some might argue that the honorable thing for him to do, especially given the fact that he's been a pretty lousy teammate this tour and lance is a 7-time champ and a legend of the sport, would be for him to help defend lance against any attacks and pace him back across any breaks, at least so long as andy schleck isn't tearing away up the road minutes ahead. will contador do that, or will he be going balls-out for the stage win? what should he do? I dunno. going to be real interesting to see how it shakes out, though.

 

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Today's TT...

Contador is doping.

 

He has to be. TT is not his specialty and he beats guys who specialized in TT? I don't think so.

 

 

 

I'm very pleased with Garmin-Chipotle-Slipstream's performance again this year, today, they have three guys

finish in the top 10! Consideirng that there are 20 teams for 180 total riders, that's great.

GO SLIPSTREAM!

 

after what they did to hincapie simply out of spite, I'm not really rooting them on too hard.

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I'm not so sure it was spite. They had been caught out twice and didn't want that to happen again. They need to ride the best ride for themselves and if George has a problem with that, perhaps he should've tried a little harder... he clearly had gas left in the tank over the last 500 meters and that could've been the difference.

 

Also, Astana didn't have to push quite as hard as they did, but they did what was best for themselves.

 

And Columbia didn't have to sprint for the line like they did bringing the peloton with them. George was hurt as much by his own team as anyone else.

 

that's garmin's official party line, but it's mostly BS. they didn't even start riding at the front until the breakaway had already finished. and you don't send 3 guys (none of your GC guys) to the front of the peloton to pull with 10K left to prevent your GC guys from being caught out. that doesn't make any sense. garmin truly had nothing to gain for any of their riders.

 

some quotes from guys on the front lines:

 

Armstrong: “When the break got to be about five or six minutes, we put two guys on the front so it didn’t get to be 10 or 11 minutes. There were 13 guys in the break and two guys riding moderate tempo. That is by no means a chase. It’s the Tour de France. You can’t let a break have 15 minutes. When George became the virtual leader, AG2R decided to ride. We immediately stopped, everybody back in the peloton. They started to bring it back, and they got it down to about a minute. Then Garmin came and closed the rest.”

 

Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale), race leader: “We had our guys riding at the front and then we saw Garmin put riders on the front. I don’t know why they did it. I didn’t speak to any of them, so I don’t know their reasons. But we didn’t mind at all. It helped me stay in yellow.”

 

Bruyneel: “(Ag2r) had been working already a lot the whole Tour and they were blowing up. But when I saw Garmin coming to the front, that’s something that tactically I don’t really understand. I don’t think that has anything to do with the race, or defending your own interest, or your future strategy.”

 

Aldag: “Danny Pate started to chase, we were wondering a little bit, then they put two other guys, and that really made the difference, they start chasing – it’s hard to understand for sure.”

 

Stapleton: “I don’t know how Garmin was riding to accomplish anything. I think that’s a reasonable question to ask.”

 

Armstrong: “I completely understand why Ag2r would ride. They had the yellow jersey. I have no idea why Garmin would pull. It has to be something to do with Garmin against Columbia. There’s no love lost between (Bob) Stapleton and (Jonathan) Vaughters. I asked (David) Millar, ‘What are you guys doing?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know.’’

 

Aldag: “I don’t know if there are any open wounds between Garmin and George, but it’s definitely not something you do to destroy somebody’s else’s race. There was no way it was for their own success anymore. I don’t think you can say that you can chase down five and a half minutes when the winner, Ivanov, was already taking a shower when they started chasing. It’s pretty difficult to understand their ambitions.”

 

Bruyneel: “I think it was more personal, or a clash between two American teams, and one American team not wanting another American team, or another American guy, in the yellow jersey. I don’t think that is nice. Everybody, of course, has to decide what they want to do, but I think if you start to race against others having his moment of attention. If Hincapie takes the jersey, I don’t think it affects anything in terms of Garmin’s race.”

 

Aldag: “Sure, there is a rivalry between the teams, but there’s also between us FDJeux, between us and Astana. We try to keep it on a sporting level, not on a personal level. If someone else does it for something else, that’s really sad because this isn’t what sport is about. Sport is about fair competition and not to destroy somebody else.”

 

Bruyneel: “Obviously it was clear they didn’t want to see him in the jersey. If you start to race like that, to go against the success of other people, ultimately it comes back, and I think that is what is going to happen.

 

Columbia is not going to be happy. It’s going to be a battle of American teams, and it’s not a battle of results. It’s a battle of not wanting somebody else to be in the spotlight. I didn’t like that. I didn’t like what I saw. I don’t think George will be very happy. I know George has a lot of friends on Garmin. I don’t know if they wanted to do what they did. I expect that this will have another story to it in the future.”

 

Armstrong: “It’s a shame for George. He deserved it. He was going to be in the jersey by two minutes, and that’s tactically perfect for us and for him. The last thing I want to do is screw over my best friend. I talked to Rogers, I talked to (Bob) Stapleton, I talked to Cav. I’m really upset about the confusion, but more importantly, I’m upset for George. This is going to be an interesting week. A lot of people are going to be suffering. It’s gonna be survival of the fittest.”

 

Stapleton: “It’s too bad for George. How many more chances is he going to get? That’s a guy late in his career, having a chance in yellow, I think that’s something pretty special, and something that every that athlete would aspire to, and everyone would like to see. I think George is focused on calming down and trying to have a good recovery. His whole family came today and he was thinking he had a chance to celebrate a big day with his family, that’s a little disappointing I’m sure.”

Edited by Azazello1313
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I need a little help clarifying something... How do separate riders on separate bicycles help other riders with positioning or catching up? I hear terms like holding their wheel and such and just don't get how it's not a bunch of guys just riding their bicycles and strategizing about how fast to go and when.

 

How can team Astana help/carry Lance to a 3rd place finish? What do they do or what tactics do you really have on a bike to help a fellow rider?

 

:wacko::D

 

 

ETA: Is it a drafting thing, like race cars?

Edited by irish
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I need a little help clarifying something... How do separate riders on separate bicycles help other riders with positioning or catching up? I hear terms like holding their wheel and such and just don't get how it's not a bunch of guys just riding their bicycles and strategizing about how fast to go and when.

 

How can team Astana help/carry Lance to a 3rd place finish? What do they do or what tactics do you really have on a bike to help a fellow rider?

 

:wacko::D

 

 

ETA: Is it a drafting thing, like race cars?

 

Glad you asked this, being a noob to cycling, I was embarrassed to ask about strategy and how all this worked.

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I suppose I should say that I look at it like this... if the Broncos were out of playoff contention, I'd still want them to knock Oakland or KC out too.

 

(not that Oakland or KC will be in contention any time soon :wacko:)

 

totally different sport, totally different situation. when your sport involves playing one other team head-to-ahead, you are either trying to win, or not trying to win. in cycling, each team has its own individual goals, and you dole out your resources to try and achieve those goals. when you start putting forth effort with none of your own goals in mind, but simply to try and knock the shine off someone else's star, well, it's your right to do so, but it kind of makes you a d00shbag. I like their riders and the kind of team they've put together, but matt white is a d00shbag.

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I need a little help clarifying something... How do separate riders on separate bicycles help other riders with positioning or catching up? I hear terms like holding their wheel and such and just don't get how it's not a bunch of guys just riding their bicycles and strategizing about how fast to go and when.

 

How can team Astana help/carry Lance to a 3rd place finish? What do they do or what tactics do you really have on a bike to help a fellow rider?

 

:wacko::D

 

 

ETA: Is it a drafting thing, like race cars?

 

why don't you try reading the thread?

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why don't you try reading the thread?

 

It's 8 pages long and I figured those who were into the sport wouldn't mind sharing some thoughts, as Opie did above.

Edited by irish
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It's certainly about drafting, but cycling, probably more than any other sport, is emotional. Imagine pushing yourself near maximum effort for 30 straight minutes up a climb and the four guys around your keep attacking. You have to respond to each attack and when you do, the other three guys jump on your wheel. When you catch the breakaway guy (assuming that you do), then one of the guys on your wheel who is more "rested" than you attacks. Rinse and repeat.

 

This is what happened to Wiggins (Garmin) yesterday. When his teammate arrived to help out, Wiggins not only got a physical breather by riding his wheel, but also the emotional lift of having someone on his side.

 

I know it sounds girly to be emotional and all, but when you're physically tapped out, you have to grab some energy somewhere and it ain't coming from your muscles, but desire.

 

Also, having someone pace you allows your brain to reset -- you can stop focusing for a moment. Of course, that's when attacks occur, but if you're so drained that you need a moment, then it's best not to respond, but rather "shut-down" and allow your teammate to make the decisions for the next minute or so.

 

Then you can try to close the gap again.

 

Cycling is far more mental than it is physical and it's physically brutal... when your muscles burn and you want to puke.

 

Thanks. I understand it better now but I'm sure it's a whole other thing to experience it and be right in the mix of the action as it is with any sport.

Edited by irish
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:wacko: specifically, read page 4, where someone asked almost the exact same question you did and got several informative replies.

 

Thanks.

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