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Archive for TDF 2011

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 8 Who’s left to challenge

Bravo to Cavendish for a repeat of a stage win where he won his first in the 2008 Tour; and what a great day for him, making his 17th stage win of his Tour career.

Stage 7 decimated the field of favorites with more crashes, the loss of Tom Boonen and Bradley Wiggins, and injuries stealing time from other potential GC contenders. Radio Shack has the worst track record for crashes, thus far, it appears.

Boonen has not had the greatest of luck at the Tour, this is his 4th time out. It’s tough enough to have not been included on the team in the past for drug problems, but injuries have plagued him, as well, in other Tours. The scene of him sitting on the side of the road after a crash that caused his knee injury is still so clear in my mind. So, we learned that, this time, he suffered a concussion. Better to have made the difficult decision to step off the bike than to try to push on. Back to Monaco he’ll go after seeing his doctors, not so bad a destination for recovery.

Bradley Wiggins (AP)

Bradley Wiggins (AP)

Bradley Wiggins was looking great and we were hoping to see him rise to the top. He’s one we’d like to see return next year and show his full potential. Here’s wishing him a speedy recovery.

Chris Horner is in a scary situation, staying overnight in hospital to make sure he has not suffered as serious a head injury as it looked in overhead shot of him lying motionless in the ditch. He had made the comment before the beginning of the stage that his mom sent him a text saying to be safe. As a mom, I can only imagine what she was feeling, seeing the broadcast.

UPDATE: Chris has a broken nose and an injury to his right leg that will keep him from continuing the race, another major loss for Team Radio Shack.

Contador rose back up in the rankings, even though he’s still 1’42” behind Hoshovd. But, in spite of what anyone thinks about his doping charges, he’s phenomenal in the mountains and he’ll need to make sure he plays his strategy right to position himself well enough to close the time gap.

Cross-winds are to cyclists like wind shear to aircraft. Sprinter Tyler Farrar lost a lost of time after the crash that took out Wiggins, and he’s now 16 mins behind the GC leader. That’s a chunk of change to make up in order to try for a place on the podium. Chris Horner is almost 13 minutes behind; while Philippe Gilbert is much better positioned, as are the Schlecks.

Who’s left to challenge the G-C for the GC we shall see. Predictions, even by Thor Hoshovd, is that he’ll be relinquishing the yellow jersey to a new bearer after the steep climb into ski country. I’m looking at the standings and seeing Cadel Evans, the Schlecks, Andreas Kloden, Philippe Gilbert and even Vinokourov. This is not a finish for sprinters, so it’s more likely those with legs for the mountains will prevail. Who will rise, who will fall…literally, the way this Tour is going!

Tour de France 2011 Where’s the chalkbot?

The Nike swoosh may be ubiquitous, but, where is the chalkbot? Will we see it this year? I haven’t been able to find any information on it and the Versus team hasn’t mentioned it…not that I’ve heard.

Tour de France 2011 TTT returns

Garmin-Cervelo, the new heavy-hitter team formed by last October’s merger of two dominant teams, is favored to win as the Team Time Trials return today. They have no yellow jersey to support, just powerful individual contributions to the whole. In any case, win or lose, they will be the most well-prepared team going in. Can’t wait to see how they come out of this.

UPDATE: Go Garmin-Cervelo! Job well done and congrats to the mighty Thor!

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.