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Archive for Lance Armstrong

TDF Stage 20 Arrivee a Paris

Driving distance from Longjumeau to Paris Champs Élysée is about 24km, but the boys on the bikes have to do a total of 102.5 km, by the time they fly around 8 loops on the most famous avenue in the world before the final sprint.

Today is when Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen and Bob Roll dress in suits to welcome the boys home and celebrate with celebs and cycling personalities. Yesterday, Contador increased his overall lead from 8 to 39 seconds, a blow to Andy Schleck. Then again, a lot of the top ranked cyclists finished down in the 100’s, weird turn of events. We already know who will wear the final jellow jersey of this year’s Tour; but another jersey win is to be determined after the sprint, the coveted green. Andy will, once again, stand on the podium, albeit, once again, not on the highest block. Still, he did earn a top position, and that’s an achievement in itself. Maybe next year…

Team Radio Shack came out wearing the number 28 on their backs in memory of 28 million cancer survivors, Livestrong being one of the strongest fundraising organizations for cancer research. Were it not for his survival, we wouldn’t have Lance and his most incredible Tour career, even though he was already an Olympian and world cycling force to be reckoned with. But, the race organizers ordered them to put on their regular jerseys, or they would not be able to race this stage. Kids, don’t do this at home – changing jerseys while on the bike is for the pros. Lance pulled over to the side to put his on. Then, they were stopped by referees because they didn’t have their numbers on their backs. Well, perhaps this was a matter of trying to act first, ask for permission, later. But, Radio Shack can’t afford to lose the team place, so they had to stop and fix their jerseys. So the rest of the peloton is riding slowly until everyone is together, even stopped by the race organizers, until Lance gets his numbers on, but they couldn’t wait too long. It’s a good thing the neutral zone is fairly long through town. Have you ever tried to pin a number on with gloves? I can’t do anything with gloves on, even the half finger ones.

I never got to see the finish in Paris. My first time there, I was on my way to Grenoble, and barely got to see the peloton fly by. That was back in the days when Eddie Merckx dominated the Tour. The next time, I missed the finish by about a month. Oh, well, back then, I really didn’t understand just how important the event was to the French, as it was such a foreign concept to race on a bike around France, over mountains and dale, for 21 days.

Well, as Paul Sherwen says, they’re going to miss Lance in the Tour, as “he has always provided a little drama.

Armstrong’s TDF Teammates, past and present

So, I asked Bobke a question that remains unanswered, probably because it would take some effort to research. But, I wanted to know which riders in the 2010 TDF had ridden in prior TDFs with Lance, when and on which teams. A table of teams and riders won’t fit here, so, a list of the riders:

TDF Teams
1992–1996 Motorola
1998–2004 US Postal
2005 Discovery Channel
2009 Astana
2010 Team RadioShack
Read the rest of this entry »

TDF Stage 16 Lance No Pau Boy

Well, he tried, and valiantly. Perhaps he waited just a little too long to kick in. Perhaps he made the wrong move to the wrong side inside the 2K stretch. We can afford to be birds eye critics. Nonetheless, that he even stepped up to the plate to sprint in with the kids was admirable. It sort of looked like he sat back just before crossing the finish line, though, I suppose at the moment he realized it was all for naught.

I know, there are those among you who will still refer to Lance as an old man. A little perspective: Big George is older, and he’s riding his 15th Tour, and he’s not the oldest, either.

Lance Armstrong is over in about 4 or 5 days,” he said. While that may be true for his TDF career, it won’t be true for other events, another marathon, a triathlon (his roots).

What does France have that Texas doesn’t…

France has sunflowers…so do we, and we have bluebonnets.
France has mountains…so do we, Guadalupe Peak is 8749′, not quite the Alps, but…
France has rivers…oh, we have lots of those, and a Grande one at that!
France has castles…well, we have some pretty ostentatious homes, too.
France has great wine…a Texan saved their wine industry, and we have great wine, too.
France has the Cote d’Azure…ok, fine, we have a Coast.
France is larger than Texas…but everything’s bigger in Texas.
France has the Eiffel Tower…we have the Alamo, does that count?
France has the Tour de France…yeh, well, Lance is ours and won Le Tour 7X – top that!

TDF Stage 9 Day 2 in the Alps

Morzine-Avoriaz -> Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

I would rather have stayed home and watched the Tour live, than to have gone into work and face all hades breaking out because a server went down. It’s only a test server, but, it’s pretty significant when there are a couple of apps being tested, and a couple of teams (who shouldn’t be on it) trying to get to their stuff (that shouldn’t be there). (sigh) So, a hard workout with my coach/personal trainer was in order and a great stress relief.

While she’s trying to give me a break from running, considering I just did a marathon a couple of weeks ago, she still pushes me hard in strength training…time on the treadmill, followed by time on the rower, ending with floor work and pushups – good grief! While sweating bullets, I managed to carry on a conversation with her about LA’s incredible bad luck on Stage 8. He’s our homeboy, so we’re all feeling the pain of a most disappointing, and very tough, Tour. A French fan had video of the decisive crash in which he skidded across the ground and slammed into a curb – yikes!

So, watching tonight’s prime time replay, it’s weird to not see Lance pushing at the front of the peloton, or positioning himself for GC. Riding, instead, in support of Levi, I just keep wondering if he’ll get an opportunity to take a stage win. He needs something to keep his head in the game, as he says. How do you do that after such physical blows?

Andy Schleck is performing incredibly well without his brother, good for him! But, this is just the beginning of week 2. The outcome of this stage has already been revealed. Schleck in yellow. Armstrong now 15 mins behind, a HUGE gap.

I need a martini…

TDF Rest and reflect day

Bruyneel said they’ll ride to support Levi. Levi is no Lance. Lance is no quitter, but there’s only so much a battered body can take. Here’s wishing Radio Shack a better week.

TDF Stage 8 Into high mountains

The day started relatively uneventful, no one abandoned overnight and only one crash early on, until Armstrong crashed shortly before the lead group reached the first big climb. He’s had a series of crashes all season, and took a hard roll on this one. Now, he must chase the peloton, whereas he had been comfortably in front. Radio Shack quickly rallied to pull him ahead. If he cannot succeed today, the team lead could switch to Levi. But, JMHO, Levi is no Lance.

Lance has to pick his way through the peloton to catch up with the GC contenders before the lead pack hits the first of two Cat 1 climbs. Amazingly enough, he has managed to catch up and needs to get back in with the front of the pack. Question is, having expended so much energy to catch up, what will he have left on the climb?

Back soon…watching the live broadcast…

Contador has lost a man on Team Astana. Chavanel is in trouble with around 5km to climb on this very steep summit. Big George has dropped off. I’m sure the Radio Shack boys are feeling the pain, as well.

I’ll be back…

Armstrong is in trouble on the climb and not positioned where he’d probably like to be; he may have to try to make up his 1 minute (or so) deficit on the descent. He’s not looking very happy. Astana has already started down and around Contador, who’s looking pretty good. The finish is uphill, so there may be the first big shakeout to the finish.

Can’t sit still…When you think about it, Astana has the advantage of cyclists who have ridden with Armstrong AND directed by Bruyneel – what an edge!

Armstrong crashed again, and wasn’t in any great hurry to remount. There’s no way he can regain lost time; this Tour is just not looking good for him! So, the team leadership will most likely switch to Levi, and – no disrespect to Levi, he’s a good rider – this is not a happy day for Armstrong or his fans.