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Archive for Lance

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 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!