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Archive for andy schleck

Tour de France 2011 Day 1 Passage du Gois

We’ve waited a year for this day, the beginning of the toughest bike race in the world, both physically and mentally. We will have to wait another month for what could be the toughest decision in the world of pro cycling, the determination of Contador’s status.

TDF Stage 19 Trials and Tribulations

Time Trials Bordeaux -> Pauillac

On the Left of Gironde
lay the trois grands chateaux
of Latour, and the Rothschilds Lafite and Mouton…

hmmm…Pauillac lamb and a glass of Bordeaux would be in order for dinner tonight…

Tis the last trial for Lance. He parts the starting chute in just a minute.

While the winner of the time trial isn’t always the same one who takes the yellow, we will most certainly know who will claim – or keep – the maillot jaune going into Paris.

OMG! Contador has dropped down to a 2 sec lead over Andy!!
Yeh, well, it’s over, now. Fabulous Cancellara screamed the time trial. Contador won the Tour by virtue of having gained time over Andy in the time trial. We can go home, now.

TDF Stage 18 Sprint to Bordeaux

I got a brand new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new bike…

Contador got to ride his brand new specialized bike through the Aquitaine region, where grands chateaux and wineries welcome the Tour for the 80th time. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, of course Bordeaux would be hosting A-list celebs, like Cameron Diaz and that Tom guy (being nice and biting my tongue). How sweet of Contador to give Cameron his bouquet as he motioned the two actors onto his podium.

Before that photo op, the comeback kid, Cavendish, claimed his 4th stage win of the Tour. Otherwise, nothing really changed in the GC standings. Sadly, unless something terrible happens to the guys up the time ladder, poor Levi doesn’t have a chance to win an individual spot on the podium in Paris, but Radio Shack could clinch the team spot. That would be nice for everyone, it would be nice for Lance.

I’m off doing some research for the end of this significant Tour…

TDF Stage 17 The Tourmalet takes no prisoners

The telling statement after the last day in the Pyrenees: “…it was Schleck winning the battle, but Contador most likely winning the war.” (Brian Pinelli, Versus)

The weather was ridiculous for the 11.5 mile climb into the clouds – cold, foggy, wet. What a day for the final high mountain climb for Lance. Tourmalet takes no prisoners, though, nearly claiming Spanish E-E rider, Samuel Sanchez in a crash that left him stunned and motionless for a few minutes, then he finished in 5th place; pushing Levi down 6 notches to 13th place.

The battle between Andy Schleck and Contador has taken a different turn, both claiming that all is again well between them. So, did Contador “allow” Andy to take the stage win? Oh, who knows, and who really cares, anymore.

Think about this: Johann Bruyneel, who had a less than spectacular Tour career as a cyclist (although he did wear the yellow jersey after Stage 7 in 1995), has proven to be the most brilliant of modern day Tour team directors, winning 9 out of 10 participations (7 of those with Lance, 2 with Contador), and that’s just the TDF. Lance, who’s not having the best farewell Tour he could have hoped for, holds the record for consecutive wins. Contador, whether or not you agree with his behavior or attitude, could very well claim a third consecutive Tour win.

And then, there are the mountain sheep…

TDF Stage 15 Port de Bales Battle

The controversy of the day: Contador’s attack when Schleck is “down.” Personally, I don’t think Contador gives a flying leap about anything but his own goal, fairness and sportsmanship tossed off the cliff. He was boo’ed as he took the podium and the yellow, Schleck boiling quietly. Perhaps it was a stroke of bad luck, but perhaps Contador should have stood down a bit and waited for the yellow jersey. Archaic or not, the Tour has embodied good sportsmanship and cycling “etiquette.” A dying attitude to some.

The great moment of the day: Voeckler taking the stage. I have liked this guy since 2004, when he rode 10 days in yellow. Good for him, and for making the French even happier this Tour.

More b.s. from LeMond about Lance, more huff than substance, as usual. Is Greg simply jealous because a stupid hunting accident robbed him of an opportunity to go for another yellow jersey in his day? Give it up, Greg, you’re looking ridiculous.

TDF Stage 14 Pyrenees Factor

Revel -> Ax-3 Domaines

Team Astana is as the front, giving Saxo Bank concern. Contador can climb. He has won all 4 of the Grand Tours he has participated in. He has won the last 2 TDF in a row. Will this be the day he puts the stamp on his podium position as the race goes into the Pyrenees? The HC Port de Pailhères may tell.

Let’s watch, I’ll be back…

On one of the group rides I’ve done this year, my buddy asked how fast the riders in the Tour go. She and I were averaging 17mph, our top speed just over 20mph (the top speed I’ve ever reached is 25mph, but that was on a short 10 mile stretch). The boys can fly down the flats around 35mph – and they do more than 100 miles per day averaging more than 25mph.

Anyone want to practice reading French? The official site for TDF has a guide with interesting bits of info about towns along the route, significance to cycling, local agriculture and historic landmarks, etc. Go to Guide and select the étape. Fun reading!

Lance fell off the back of the peloton during the first climb. The HC has been conquered and the descent has begun. One more, shorter but harder, climb ahead to the stage finish.

Riblon takes the day!

TDF Stage 13 Rodez – Revel veni,vidi,vinokourov

First – what is your take on Contador launching himself ahead of his own teammate, if he really didn’t need the stage? OK, so he wanted the time, but, didn’t it seem like he was helping Rodriguez, rather than Vino? Granted, Contador is strong and talented; but, this smacks of the selfish tactics he pulled against Lance. You can respect the jersey, but you don’t have to like the guy in it (I consider him still a kid). Frankly, I would like to see Andy Schleck take it away from Contador, in the end (I think Andy will relinquish it for a bit before the last stages to Paris).

OK, off my soap box…

Today’s ride has a lot of climbs, judging by the elevation of the route, but the finish will favor sprinters. Cav is plenty talented without Renshaw, but who can step up to the plate for him? Andy Schleck is a mere 31 seconds ahead of Contador after yesterday’s tough climb, and I wonder if he has the new magic boot technology available that helps cyclists’ legs recover faster.

Meanwhile, back at the Lance ranch…it’s painful to see him so far behind in GC, and Levi is a good 4 mins behind Schleck, with only 1 more week to go. Today, Lance fell in the neutral zone at the start of the stage – wot??!!?? 15 years ago, Lance won a stage on this route. I wonder what will be going through his head today…

woo-hoo, congrats to Vino for his stage win – and vindication for 2007, yesterday, you name it!