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Archive for alberto contador

Tour de France 2011 Stage 8 Route for the strongest man

TDF2011Stage 8 sunflowers (AP)

TDF2011Stage 8 sunflowers (AP)

Who would have thought that this would be Thor’s Tour? Even he said that he was prepared to relinquish the yellow on yesterday’s climb; but, he’s proving himself stronger than all predictions and keeps the jersey. Today, he says the team is tired.

Nonetheless, today’s is supposed to be a relatively easy route, not favoring sprinter or climber alike. One analyst called this a challenging “leg breaker,” with undulations, cross-winds, tough conditions. We’ll be looking for a breakaway.

Contador made up enough time to be only 15 seconds behind Hoshovd. With the mountains looming ahead, he’s likely to start showing the climber we’ve come to know, if he can focus and stay clear of trouble in the peloton.

We might see some of the top veterans shine today, as well. But, when Bob Roll says the route is challenging, you can bet it’s really a beast.

UPDATE: Nasty crash claims Vinokourov, who abandoned the race after falling off the side of the road where Contador’s wheel hit a barrier and started a chain reaction in the peloton. Jurgen Van Den Broek, who finished 5th last year, will also be taken out of the race with injuries.

Tour de France 2011 Stage 7 A sporting route

We could use all that rain out here in Central Texas that the boys had to endure yesterday on their longest ride to Lisieux and the tricky uphill finish at the Bastille. Thor kept the G-C team in yellow, but the stage went to another Norwegian, this one the guy with Sky. I wonder if anyone ever refers to him as Hagen Daz (like Haagen Daz ice cream – did you know that’s a totally made-up name?).

Levi’s “surf” of the guardrail could have been worse, thank goodness he survived. Contador lost more time. Voelker just ran out of gas on the final sprint. Boonen seems to be recovering well. A good day for Norway. What a crazy day.

They’ll all be carried to Le Mans, yes, THAT Le Mans, home to the legendary auto race, from where they’ll race to the birthplace of French actor Gérard Depardieu and location of popular sporting events. Cavendish won his first stage win here in the 2008 Tour (but sat back yesterday). This route takes the boys toward the Pyrenees which is most likely where the yellow could find a new set of shoulders by Saturday.

Tour de France 2011 Stage 6 Normandy invasion

What a mess Stage 5 became with the wind, the weather, the crashes (Paul Sherwin stopped counting after 10 of them). Unfortunately, Slovenian rider Janez Brajkovic of Team Radioshack ended up in hospital, with a head injury from one of those bad crashes. Here’s wishing him a speedy recovery and return to the Tour in 2012. Let’s also hope that Tom Boonen is not as injured as he looked; crash seems to be his middle name. In the end, the Cav-man captured the stage win in a wild sprint to the finish, just as we’ve all been waiting for him to do. Gotta love that!

Hopefully, Stage 6 won’t be as hard on the boys as they roll into Normandy, but it will be challenging to sprinter and climber alike. El Contador has been trying to make a little progress of his own, in spite of 2 crashes yesterday; perhaps he’ll have a better day. As of yesterday, he’s in 39th place, 1’42” behind the Mighty Thor who keeps the maillot jaune another day.

So, with the route not necessarily favoring the top riders, or sprinters, or climbers, what will happen in Lisieux? Will Gilbert win another stage that just might look like it’s made for him? Anything can happen, they’re only a week in.

Tour de France 2011 Stage 5 Return to the sea

Yesterday, Cadel Evans ousted Contador out of a stage win by a split second (or, is that a split wheel). Way to go, Cadel, George Hincapie and Team BMC! G-C also retains the GC going into Stage 5, way to go Thor!

The boys will be carried to the start at Carhaix, then they have to make it on their own power to the seaside finish at Cap Fréhel. They’ll probably be wishing they could fly there as easily as the sea birds that make this a migratory stop; in any case, this will be a route for the sprinters, and quite possibly another wet and windy one at that. Perhaps today will prove to be another good one for Tyler, keeping Teams USA in dominant positions for the beginning of the Tour.

There still isn’t a clear overall contender for the yellow jersey win at the end. Who knows, perhaps the talented, albeit troubled, Contador will continue to dig deep to claim a 4th Tour title. We shall see. After all, this guy is amazing in the mountains, and they’re looming in the days ahead.

Note: Cap Fréhel is also known for having hosted a stage of the Womens cycling Tour of Brittany in 2005.

Tour de France 2011 Stage 3 Sprint to Brittany

Lead by Garmin-Cervelo (1) and BMC (2), all 4 Teams USA ranked in the top 10. The mighty Thor goes into Stage 3 wearing the maillot jaune. Today, the Americans are dominating the French-born sport, which might not have ever happened, were it not for the guy from Texas who dominated for 7 years in a row. Yes, Greg LeMond, you were the first American to win the jersey; but, Armstrong really brought the sport forward for the rest of the world, too.

So, today’s route is good for the sprinters. Mark Cavendish says he wants to leave his mark. Hasn’t he already done? Phil Ligget’s picks have been spot on, so far, this year, and he says it will be Tyler Farrar’s day. Well, the younger ones are challenging the top, and this is turning out to be a very interesting Tour.

And what’s in store for Contador? Well, let’s not go there. Yes, the guy is talented; but…He does have amazing eyelashes, though. 😉

Meanwhile, it’s 100F in Central Texas for Independence Day, and I’d rather be by the sea in Brittany watching the boys ride by.

TDF 2010 Let the ride begin

In my little town, cycling takes on a whole new life, when Le Tour begins. That may have something to do with the fact that the Tour’s first and only 7X Maillot Jaune lives here. We’re rather loyal to him, having supported him through tragedy and triumph. For me, personally, there’s another dimension to rejoice in 2011 – that Livestrong will be the title sponsor of our local marathon’s 20th anniversary.

Now, back to the beginning of the most exciting sports competition of the summer (at least to millions of us). A video history of the Tour, narrated by Phil Liggett, is running on Versus online as I write. I’d usually be out for a morning run, my week after marathon recovery run, actually, or maybe riding my sleek Italian road bike that I love so much. But, the road is still too slick from heavy overnight rains. Besides, I’ve been waiting for this morning for months!

Let the ride begin!

The Tour begins with the Prologue loop in Rotterdam. Let’s watch…

Prologue win goes to fabulous Fabian Cancellara, and Lance fought for his few seconds lead over rival Alberto Contador. Great start to the TDF!
My darling groom’s family is from Slovenia, and so is one of the Team Radio Shack riders, Jani Brajkovic

TDF 2009 Stage 21 The end and the beginning

Let’s celebrate the end of a good Tour. Was it predictable? Perhaps. Was it disappointing? Maybe. Nonetheless, hats off to Contador for his magnificent defense of his 2007 yellow jersey, and to Lance Armstrong for his extraordinary comeback. Congratulations to Johan Bruyneel and Team Astana for making this Tour as exciting for us as for them. The Schleck brothers are equally deserving of their dedication to each other’s successes. But, while I admire Cavendish for his sprint skills, in my book, he doesn’t hold a candle to Thor Hushovd in the class department.

Trivia Remember in the beginning of the Tour when I mentioned there are two Japanese riders in the Tour? And, so they do. Here’s a video on Yukiya Arashiro (BB-B Telecom) from July 18, and some shots taken around Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil-Shimano). Both ride into Paris today making history as the first from their country to actually finish.

So, today we say au revoir as the Tour ends, then look forward to 2010 with another return, the next time with his new Team Radio Shack, his loyal director Johan Bruyneel, and his new resolve without the distractions of dealing with an upstart competitor. We’ll have to wait a year to see if Lance can make another record win with a third American team.

Notes of a consummate tourist Last night, my sister and I were talking about Paris, as she has been there most recently than I and said that the city was in preparation for this final stage when she left. Some day, I would love to be on the Champs-Elysee to watch the final stage, as once I was in Grenoble to witness the Tour for my first time back in the heyday of Eddie Merckx.