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Archive for tour de france 2009

TDF Stage 2

No time bonuses this year, but the team time trial is back. Meanwhile, sprinters will be looking for points today, and Team Astana sports the yellow jersey for the team, while Cancellara wears the individual yellow jersey.

So far, Stef Clement (42 Rabobank) looks strong to take the yellow for his sprint skill.

…and we’re not hearing much from Bob Roll until after the stages, it seems.

There’s something comforting about hearing familiar names in the Tour, like Boonen, Schleck, Cavendish, Wiggins, etc., after the past few years of shakeouts. And then, there’s Armstrong. Yes, we were wishing, hoping, wondering…now that he’s back, perhaps we’re just wondering?

Stef Clement faded to more experienced sprinters, and Cavendish got his first win of the Tour! A perfect effort by Team Columbia for their main man and magic sprinter.

Trivia
Once again, Nike produced a powerful “Just Do It” promo featuring Lance, this time as the unbeatable cancer survivor not racing for “the critics.”
Notes of a consummate tourist
The route from Monaco to Brignoles takes the riders through Provence, famous for lavender, hearty foods and rose wine, the Mistral and Paul Mayles, among other things and persons. Olives, ratatouille and bouillabaisse are among the culinary history of this sunny Mediterranean region of Southern France. Formerly a center for mining aluminum and bauxite, and known for its marble quarries, the town name is believed to derive from the ancient Roman term for “plum,” (brinonia) and the fruit is still widely grown there. For you vinophiles, Brignoles is considered “the center of Provence wines.”

Armstrong begins his 12e TDF

At 10:17 am ET, Lance Armstrong left the starting chute on the first time trial of his 12th TDF, wearing number 22 (is that for his 22 stage wins?), amid a cheering crowd near the square in front of the famous Casino of beautiful Monte Carlo. It’s a fairly high climb for a Stage 1/Prologue time trial, but he’s very familiar with mountainous hairpin turns (driving them in Monaco is nuts).

He said it doesn’t matter if he wins, it’s an opportunity to establish a pecking order for Team Astana and see how well they’ll do.

I’m a Lance fan, so I’m biased – I expect he’ll do just fine.

UPDATE: Lance finished 20:12, 22 seconds ahead of Montfort’s best time at 20:40. There is still quite a field to go!
UPDATECancellara fabulous again in a Tour Prologue with a first place finish of 19:32, dropping the incumbent yellow jersey, Contador, to 2nd place. And so, it begins!

Trivia
For the first time, there are 2 Japanese riders: Yuki Arashiro (BB Telecom) and Fumi Beppu (Skil-Shimano) who might be able to finish the Tour. In 1926 and 1927, Kisso Karamuro had to pull out in the first stage, and in 1998, Daisuke Imanaka was dropped when he didn’t make the time cut on stage 14.

Notes of a consumate tourist
While a student at the University of Grenoble, I took a little trip to Monaco and stayed in a lovely villa at Cap d’Ail, just a couple of miles west along the Riviera toward Nice, where the water is so blue that you feel as though you can reach out and touch the bottom of the cove.

Let the Tour begin!

Boonen’s in, Cavendish and Wiggins are looking good, and then there’s that guy with all those mellow johnny’s. Monaco’s beautimous bay will be crowded with mega yachts full of celebs on hand to watch the start (and you should see the bay at night!). Out here in my little “shack” in Austin, I can’t wait for the broadcasts to begin. But, first, a little post-marathon recovery run to keep my legs happy.

a demain!