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What do we call Cav's victory salute today? The cheerleader "Ready? Okay!"
Or did Cav look more like a drum majorette as he crossed the finish line today?
He looks happy to have this win -- his 5th stage win in the 2009 Tour de France -- even if there's no chance for him to get the Green Jersey with his 25 point deficit against Cervelo's Thor Hushovd. If Mark Cavendish hadn't nudged green jersey rival Hushovd towards the barriers in Stage 14, Cav undoubtably would have the points to take the green lead. Ah well, the misfortunes of racing.
Velochimp: Horner spills the beans. "Horner pulls no punches talking about the situation at Astana and the reasons he was left behind. Horner also gives insight into the turmoil surrounding the team. Will we see Radio Shack jerseys sooner than anticipated?"
Streetsblog actually mentions the Tour de France.... in their Weekly Carnage roundup of automotive (and motorcycle) fatalities in the news.
By Yokota Fritz
While everybody else rode today's time trial stage with black wheels, Lance Armstrong turned some heads with another pretty cool art bike from artist Yoshimoto Nara.
Even his teammate, Alberto Contador, got a little stylish with his aero wheel.
*** SPOILERS ***
Contador's amazing performance today is prompting questions on doping, which Contador declines to answer. Alberto Contador is known for his climbing prowess and dominates on the hills in the same way Lance Armstrong did in 1999. For him to beat time trialist Fabian Cancellara at his own game, however, invites suspicion. The riders are being tested daily and The Tour de France has so far remained free of doping controversy, though it can take a few weeks for some tests to be run.
Cancellara can't figure out how he lost by six seconds and now claims Contador drafted for the win.
By Yokota Fritz
There's been a lot of talk of Jens Voigt's crash today during Stage 16 of the Tour de France. He took a really nasty spill during a high speed descent and hit the ground at 40+ mph. I'm not posting some of the more gruesome photos that are available (you can find them elsewhere if you're inclined), but Jens face got pretty beat up in the crash.
A statement on the Saxo Bank team website says Jens Voigt has a broken cheekbone and a concussion, and quotes Voigt as saying he got off lightly from this crash. Voigt is out of the race and will stay in the hospital at Grenoble for observation.
Early speculation focused on equipment failure, but in the video below you can see the riders in front hitting a bump right where Jens hit the deck.
Stage 16 was won by Spaniard Mikel Astarloza of Team Euskaltel-Euskadi. Team Astana's Alberto Contador retains the yellow jersey, with team mate Lance Armstrong in second place and Garmin Slipstream's Bradley Wiggins holding on to 3rd place in the GC.
Russian National Champion Serguei Ivanov of Team Katusha won the stage today with a burst of speed when he attacked out of a long breakaway that nobody could catch.
The story for the day, though, is that George Hincapie missed the Yellow Jersey today by just five seconds, and he's pretty upset about the missed opportunity.
Hincapie was part of a long 12 man breakaway for almost the entire stage today, working to keep the breakaway working together -- almost anyone in the breakaway would have a chance at a stage win today.
The peloton, meanwhile, kept just far enough back to "keep the gap manageable," says Lance Armstrong of Team Astana.
Hincapie - always the bridegroom, never the bride
George Hincapie was Lance Armstrong's perennial lieutenant to Lance Armstrong, assisting in all seven of Armstrong's Tour de France wins beginning in 1999. This skillful rider is legendary for his loyalty and leadership, and when it became clear over the final 50 km or so that Hincapie had a shot at the Yellow Jersey today, many riders within the peloton began cheering for "Big George" of Greenville, South Carolina.
"My vision was George would have Yellow Jersey by two minutes," says Lance Armstrong.
In the final ten kilometers, though -- with some effort, Agr2-La Mondiale knew they could protect Rinaldo Nocentini's Yellow Jersey, and together with Garmin Slipstream they picked up the pace and pulled Nocentini across the finish line.
Although Astana controls the tempo of the race, they're pointing a lot of fingers at Garmin today.
Astana team director Johan Bruyneel: "Bummed, really bummed about George Hincapie not getting yellow. Won't elaborate on the strategies but what Garmin did was just BS. Sorry!"
Lance Armstrong: "George Hincapie deserves to be yellow tonight. He deserves more than that. Look to who pulled the last 50k to see who to blame." That would be Garmin he's talking about.
Slipsteam: Mind the Gap
Many people question Garmin's aggressiveness in chasing the breakaway and denying George Hincapie's lead. Even some members of Team Slipstream are questioning the move, with Dave Zabriskie saying that they're "Pawns in the game" and Bradley Wiggins saying, "[I don't] quite understand what went on today. George Hincapie is a legend and deserves to be in yellow tonight!"
Garmin Slipstream Team Manager Jonathan Vaughters responds to the criticism of a rivalry between the two American teams, though: "That had nothing to do with George or Columbia. Wiggo almost lost 15 seconds the other day due to a split. We can't have that happen again."
Green Jersey and split objectives
Highroad's plan was to put sprinter Mark Cavendish in the Green Jersey today ahead of sprinting rival Thor Hushovd, so they didn't have anybody in the breakaway to help their teammate George Hincapie. When it came time for the team to make their attack to pull Cavendish to the front of the pack, though, Hincapie was within seconds of losing his chance at the Yellow Jersey. They held back just a little and it appeared they even boxed Thor Hushovd in against the barriers. Because of Highroad's hesitation, I believe, Cavendish missed the Green Jersey by just three points today.
By Yokota Fritz
A seven man breakaway led off for most of the day during today's stage of the 2009 Tour de France from Tonnerre to Vittel. No big shakeups occurred today, but the Tour de France should get interesting tomorrow as the race goes into the big mountain stages.
By Yokota Fritz2009 Tour de France Stage 10: Bastille Day Edition
Frenchmen Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano), Benoït Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne) felt the Bastille Day spirit today as they attacked early in Stage 10 of the 2009 Tour de France today, with Russian Mikhail Ignatiev (Team Katusha) joining in the early breakaway. In spite of the radio ban (or maybe because of it?), the peloton reeled them in just a mile from the finish today.
Rabobank's Gricscha Niermann mounts a CB radio antenna to his helmet before Stage 10 of the Tour de France to protest today's race radio ban.
Well, alleged spoilers, anyway. Not much has changed in rankings since last week.
Cavendish beat Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar as they all sprinted for the finish line in Issoudun. Italian Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) retains the Yellow Jersey, while Astana still owns the next four places.
By Yokota Fritz
The Union Cicliste Internationale (UCI), the world wide governing body for competitive cycling, is rumored to be drawing up rules to limit the radio technology used in bicycle races, according to this report in the French sports daily L'Equipe.
An anonymous staffer at the UCI officer in Switzerland says the goal is to preserve the purity of the sport by restricting radio technology to what was available in 1972. Race directors and coaches will be required to use vintage CB transmitters from their cars while cyclists will use transistor radios with 9 volt zinc-carbon cells that have been modified to receive CB frequencies. Though cyclists will also be permitted to use transmitters, the power and electronics required effectively restricts their use since they would more than double the weight of the bicycle.
Two way radios were first used in the early 1990s when Motorola sponsored a bike racing team and have since become ubiquitous in the pro peloton.
Several cyclists and teams have been outspoken in their opposition to the race radio ban for Stage 10 Tuesday and Stage 13. The UCI effort to use "traditional" radio technology is thought to be a compromise between those fans who wish to completely eliminate the technology and the teams who benefit from electronic communication.
English translation of the L'Equipe article on the technology restriction here.
By Yokota Fritz
The Freakonomics blogs offers a partial feed, meaning the RSS feed only shows a portion of the blog post so you must click on the link to read the full article. Here's what I saw on my RSS reader Friday night.
You can read what Thomas Voeckler said of his Tour de France Stage 6 win on Freakanomics.
By Yokota Fritz
Italian Rinaldo Nocentini from Ag2r-La Mondiale, who now wears the Yellow Jersey, was in 32nd place before Stage 7 when he joined a long breakaway that the peloton, lead by Team Astana, never caught. Nocentini moved up 31 places in a field of nearly 200 to gain the yellow jersey today. Well done!
Astana set the pace for the peloton today, mostly going at what seemed a fast training pace before Contador hit the gas in the final kilometers of Stage 7 as he and his team neared the finish in Andorra. While Contador missed the Yellow Jersey by just six seconds -- six seconds! -- he asserted his leadership of Team Astana, with he and Armstrong swapping their relative positions in the G.C.
Astana holds a commanding position in the GC, with four Astana riders in the top 10. American riders also dominate, with Lance Armstrong in 3rd, his teammate Levi Leipheimer behind him in 4th, and Slipstreams Christian Van de Velde in 8th place.
Will we see a podium peopled completely by Team Astana in at a stage finish soon?
By Yokota Fritz
"My Tarmac is the fastest bike I've had so far."
Andy and his brother Frank Schleck race for Team Saxo Bank. Saxo Bank rider Fabian Cancellara wears the Yellow Jersey so far, but climbers like Frank and Andy Schleck are expected to do well on the mountain stages that begin with Friday's Stage 7.
By Yokota Fritz
Detail of Mark Cavendish's bicycle at the start of Tour de France Stage 6. Cavendish races for Team Colubmia-HTC. At the conclusion of Stage 6 in Barcelona, he holds the Green Jersey by just a single point after Thor Hushovd bested him in the sprint finish.
In video below, Bernard Hinault gives a "just the facts" summary of today's stage 6 from Gerone to Barcelona. He gives some advice to Fabian Cancellara, telling him to stay on Lance Armstrong's wheel to retain the yellow jersey.
My prediction: I think the story today will be Alberto Contador as he enters his native Spain. Team Astana has kept Contador relatively fresh coming into Stage 6, and his climbing legs will serve him well on the moderate terrain on today's stage. Maybe he won't win, but I see him gaining the yellow jersey today after he makes up the 19 seconds that current leader Cancellara has on him. Stage 6 isn't mountainous enough to kill time trialing specialist Cancellara, but he and Saxo Bank will have to work for him to retain the lead.
I think Stage 6 will also be the moment of truth when the question of Astana's leadership will be defined.
I'm writing this late Wednesday night; by the time most Americans read this Stage 6 preview the Stage 6 results will be known as the racers cross the finish line in Barcelona at about 8 AM USA Pacific Time.
By Yokota Fritz
Bike World News has some interesting trivia regarding Stage 5 today. For example, Fabian Cancellara broke the record for most days spent in yellow by a Swiss rider. Read more at Bike World News.
All photos used with permission / Getty Images. Hover over images for full attribution and captions.
Frenchman Thomas Voeckler of Bbox Bouygues Telecom celebrates his first place finish during stage five of the 2009 Tour de France from Le Cap d'Agde to Perpignan on July 8, 2009 in Perpignan, France.
Tony Martin of Germany and Team Columbia HTC rides at the front of the peloton during stage 5 of 2009 Tour de France from Le Cap D' Agde to Perpignan the on July 8, 2009.
Mark Cavendish of Great Britain and Team Columbia HTC celebrates on the podium after receiving the green jersey at the end of stage five of the 2009 Tour de France
Fabian Cancellara once again dons the Yellow Jersey.
MONTPELLIER, FRANCE - JULY 07: The Cervelo Test Team in action on stage four of the 2009 Tour de France, a 39km Team Time Trial through Montpellier, on July 7, 2009 in Montpellier, France. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
The BBOX Bouygues Telecom Team in action on stage four of the 2009 Tour de France, a 39km Team Time Trial through Montpellier, on July 7, 2009 in Montpellier, France. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
The Cofidis Team in action on stage four of the 2009 Tour de France, a 39km Team Time Trial through Montpellier, on July 7, 2009 in Montpellier, France. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland and Team Saxo Bank catches his breath just after the team time trial of the 2009 Tour de France on July 7, 2009 in Montpellier, France. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
The Astana Team in action during stage four of the 2009 Tour de France, a 39km Team Time Trial through Montpellier, on July 7, 2009 in Montpellier, France. Spaniard ALberto Contador is in his red and yellow skinsuit. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
By Yokota Fritz
"Missed it by that much!": Team Astana's Lance Armstrong on missing the yellow jersey today by a fraction of a second.
Astana previewed the course in Montpellier in the days leading up to the Tour start, and this practice paid off for them as they expertly navigated the technical course with its tight twists and turns. Other teams lost time and riders when they overshot some of the tighter turns and had to regroup afterwards.
Is the 2009 Tour de France turning out to be a great show, or what?
Apologies for making Cyclelicious "All Lance" -- I hoped to avoid it this time around, but it's difficult to do so far in the 2009 TdF. Because of this apparent comeback so far, it appears Sony Pictures is now producing a documentary about Lance Armstrong.
By Yokota Fritz
The drama of the Tour de France got a lot more interesting today with Lance Armstrong moving up to 3rd place in the G.C. today in the Tour de France, and Astana team leader Alberto Contador 19 seconds behind in 4th place, leaving everybody asking:
* Who will don the Yellow Jersey after tomorrow?
* Will Armstrong give up his lead to help Contador?
* Which rider will Team Astana support?
Armstrong finished with the breakaway group with two other Astana riders, while Contador finished in the second group back with almost the entire Astana team, including American Levi Leipheimer.
You're Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel. What do you tell the team?
By Yokota Fritz
During the Tour de France, Bike Hugger is hosting a live chat during the race over at Hub.BikeHugger.com. One of the questions that popped up during the Individual Time Trial on Monaco concerned the aero wheels on the time trial bikes.
Q. I'm a mountain biker and we don't use aero wheels, but watching the Tour I wonder why they don't use aero wheels on the front.
The inquiry was concerning the disk wheels used during the time trial. Several chatters answered the question: Full disk wheels on the front make the bike difficult to control, especially in a crosswind.
If you have questions regarding equipment, teams, people, rules, or any other aspect of the Tour de France, jump in during the race at Bike Hugger Hub chat. We're mostly pretty friendly and there are no stupid questions.
Bike Hugger closes the chat out right at the stage finish. Today's Stage 3 (Monday, July 6) will be finished by about 8:30 AM Pacific Time, but drop in to see when the next chat time is.
By Yokota Fritz
Just for the fun of it I thought I'd see if there's a Tour de France for Dummies -- and there is! Not only that, it was written by Phil Liggett!
This book was published in 2005 so it won't have the latest info, but this book with cycling commentator Phil Liggett as a contributor should be authoritative and it's gotten good reviews on Amazon.com.
The product description says Tour de France for Dummies is a plain-English guide to the world's most famous-and grueling-bicycle race. It's an easy-to-follow, entertaining guide that demystifies the history, strategy, rules, techniques, equipment, and competitors in what is arguably the most grueling and intriguing multiday, multistage sporting event in the world.
When Greg LeMond became the first American to race the Tour de France in 1984 and then started beating the Europeans at their own game, he paved the way for the current generation of professional American cyclists who have joined the peloton along with Lance Armstrong. They've turned this greatest of bike races into an American sport as much as a European one, with Americans winning more races since LeMond donned the Yellow Jersey in 1986 than any other single nation.
For Americans, however, the only name most of us recognize is Lance Armstrong. Seven world class cyclists will represent the United States from three different teams, two of which are American teams. Here are the names from the United States to follow as you watch the action.
Team Astana has the winningest cyclist in Tour history, Lance Armstrong. The 37 year old came out of retirement to show that it can be done, but for this year's tour Armstrong says he'll ride to support team leader Alberto Contador of Spain.
The other American on Astana, Levi Leipheimer, hails from northern California, where he won the Tour of California three years in a row. He's been racing for pro teams in Europe for the last decade. Leipheimer placed 6th in the 2009 Giro d'Italia last May.
Look for Levi and Lance in the Team Astana blue and yellow.
The American Garmin-Slipstream has several Americans on its roster. They are the flamboyant and funny David Zabriskie of Salt Lake City; European racing veteran Christian Van de Velde of Chicago; Danny Pate of Colorado Springs; and Tyler Farrar of Wenatchee, WA, who is making his TdF debut this year.
You can spot Garmin-Slipstream riders in their distinctive orange and blue argyle kit.
Finally, George Hincapie of Greenville, SC continues racing for the American Team Columbia-HTC (formerly Columbia-High Road). Hincapie was Armstrong's chief lieutenant, assisting Armstrong for all seven of his Tour de France wins. Hincapie also served as domestique for Alberto Contador's Tour de France win in 2007 when he raced with Team Discovery.
You can spot the Columbia-HTC riders in their white jerseys and shorts with yellow and black highlights and logos.
Tour de France 2009 on Google Maps and Google Earth
By Yokota Fritz
Paris Thover has done the hard work of transferring detailed Tour de France 2009 route information to Google Maps and Google Earth files. It's pretty cool stuff. Click here to see it all.
By Yokota Fritz
The Tour de France 2009 will be televised in the United States on VERSUS with live coverage every morning of every stage, replays during the day, and "expanded" coverage during primetime each evening.
By Yokota Fritz
Many people are upset that Chris Horner was passed over when Team Astana selected the Tour de France team. I can't imagine the extreme disappointment that Horner felt. He asked to be released from Astana so he could try to join another team's squad, but Astana's team director Johan Bruyneel denied him.
By Yokota Fritz
Wow. Two stages of the Tour de France will be run without race radio.
Parts of the 2009 Tour of California was plagued with technical difficulties reportedly due to the weather. Ineffective race radio made the race a lot more uncertain for the riders since team directors couldn't relay information to the riders, and those of us following the race had no clue what was going on.
It's a controversial decision by race organizers: The Tour de France wants to ban the race radios completely, but teams and riders say they depend on the radios for safety. Taking the radios away puts team leadership squarely back on the cyclists and benefits the those who can quarterback, think quickly and react to conditions on the ground.
Ready? Okay! TdF Stage 19
umm... Cavendish lost 14 points, and Hushovd got one extra point. That's 15. Hushovd is up by 25.
Thor earned this jersey by getting over the top of some hills and winning a stage while Cav was in the autobus, and by breaking away on the queen stage to get 12 points. Cav shouldn't whine.
Bah, I'm so exhausted I can't even add today.
Contador is an interesting character to say the least. Looks like we're seeing some AC PR on Youtube. This one takes the cake.
TdF Stage 18: Otra pregunta
It doesn't take much to prompt a question on doping from LeMond. According to his twitter feed, Levi was getting tested constantly before he had to abandon. An Astana team vehicle was searched a couple days ago and was clean. The presumption that a winner has to be doping by a former TDF winner is just as bad for the sport as a positive doping test.
Go away, Greg.
re: "Contador's amazing performance today is prompting questions on doping"
It was Contador's Verbier climbing performance last Sunday that prompted LeMonds' comments. And what was so amazing about Contador's performance today?
Contador has been winning/ placing high in TTs all year. Also, it's well known that light cyclists do relatively better in TTs in the third week of a arduous Grand Tour. In the 2007 Tour de France, Contador beat Cancellara by 40 seconds during a final week TT on a flat course that didn't have a climb like today's.
Nobody can say for sure whether he is or isn't without a shred of evidence.
...lemond whining about it is par for the course but i gotta admit, senor contador seems to be handling any & all situations w/ no problem whatsoever...kinda superman-ish...hmmm...
..personally, i hope to bejeebus that the man is just better prepared than anyone else but to clobber spartacus at his specialty after 'toying' w/ the schleck's the day before, well gosh, fingers crossed... ...& when i say toying, i had the feeling that 'berto held himself in check when it looked like he coulda seriously clobbered everyone, not just taken time...
Frank: That search was asinine, IMO. But maybe I should try some olive oil :-)
Steep: Yep, good points. I like that "wife beater" retweet you did. I'm of the opinion that only a fool would dope in this TdF, and Contador's no fool.
Conty smoked indeed. Time for a documentary and some books on how he does it. He's kind of in the media blacklight, totally. How ridiculous.
Btw Fritz, there's an analysis on Contador's TT performance today over at Science of Sport. Now those two are some intelligent people. I would direct Fabian Cancellara there.
Amazing performance. congrats!!!! good going............
Ron -- thanks for that Science of Sport link. Promoted it to a real link today and with props to you.
Thanks Fritz for the link. We were able to do away with a bunch of hogwash (from twitter), that Jens' bike broke and that caused him to crash. Although it did bring images of Hincapie's steerer tube breaking at the Paris Roubaix (when was that, 2006?), I was pretty suspicious from the beginning of these rumors.
It looks like the bump combined with slightly less traction on the painted strip was to blame. That's a pretty horrifying way to crash out.
...heart goes out to jens voigt w/ best recovery wishes...one of THE good guys in the peleton & an indefatigable & selfless team rider when it's required...
...you hate to see anyone crash, ever, but a guy like jens, damn but it hurts a little more...& he's been there for the awesome shleck brothers all through this & many other races... ...bjarne riis is prob'ly chewing on old tires tonight reformulating his team's plans...
Andy is reporting that Jens is doing OK - talking to the team and smiling: http://twitter.com/andy_schleck/statuses/2764920358
Wow, that looks really awful. It made my jaw hurt just watching it. Glad that he's already on the mend.
Missed it by *that* much! TdF Stage 14
I guess you know by now, but Cav got disqualified in the stage because of pushing Hushovd into the fencing. Makes the green jersey lead 18 points.
Cheers and thanks for a good blog.
Nice blog, glad you didn't jump to conclusions like a lot of so-called "knowledgeable" cycling fans did about Astana. Yeah, Ag2r took over at the 45k mark. The gap had grown to just over 8 min while Astana had been setting the pace. I think when George was told by radio that Astana was leading the peloton earlier, he assumed they had pulled all the way to the final few kilometers. I read some of the live text coverage to get the facts straight. While watching on Versus, I thought it was also odd that GH's own team Highroad was getting into the sprint pretty hard until the last 100 meters when Cav looked around and coasted while pushing Thor over to the edge. Overall, poor tactics by Highroad---they could have disrupted the pace when Ag2r jumped in at 45k to go.
...fully agree, mmurphy...too many "anti-lance"-sters blaming astana...bruyneel, armstrong, et al., have huge massive respect for george & are way too knowledgeable, experienced & in control of their own situation to need to screw up his opportunity...
...ag2r, in yellow understandably played one card & then the unfortunate pissing contest that is evolving between garmin & columbia seems to have played into it...
...lotta arrow slinging, mud throwing, denials & accusations going down between stapleton & vaughters, which is a bloody shame...i thought i respected what they've done w/ their programs but they're both pissant in their treatment of each other...
...& speaking of which, bernard hinault is so pissant these days regarding armstrong, i hope somebody throws his sorry ass off the podium...
It was quite a bummer for George...hated to see him miss the day in yellow.
Has Matt White offered any real explanation yet why he sent Garmin riders to the front to chase? I think that tactic is going to backfire for that team.
TdF: Stage 13
does anyone know who makes Haaussler's helmet? I can't find it anywhere...
Hi Darcy, that helmet is a Catlike helmet, available in Europe only (not US CPSC approved).
Rinaldo Nocentini's last day wearing yellow
umm... who's going to wear it tomorrow? Kenny Van Hummel?
Yeah, Nocentini is guaranteed at least one more day in yellow.
Nocentini is a tough rider. Wouldn't surprise me if he was still wearing yellow on Sunday.
Okay, I stepped out on a limb and guessed wrong.
I should've done a "how long will Nocentini hold the yellow jersey" contest.
Nocentini will wear the yellow jersey on Saturday and Sunday. Someone else will take over on Monday.
What do I win?
That picture was from yesterday, he was still the leader at the end of the day, so he wore yellow today as well.
But if you had said "his next to last day in yellow" then you would have guessed wrong. Even if it wasn't pouring rain I think you would have been wrong. We'll see in verbier.
TdF Stage 12: Magnificent Seven
TdF Stage 11: Conspiracy?
The stage 10 results where Kloden "bested" Leipheimer we later revised. Levi finished with the peloton with no split.
The peloton has just been rolling in all together with all the leaders, none of the leaders have tried to break away as of yet. Everybody's playing it safe.
...it's just the configuration of this year's tour...the pyrenees weren't used this time around to break up the top standings but guys will have a lotta miles in their legs when things turn real serious...
...some will pay for that & some will just have ridden themselves into shape...
...look at the time gap between first & last place...obviously it's still a serious bike race...just hasn't gotten down to brass tacks yet...
I know I know, the teams are biding their time for the mountain stages. Still...
We'll see things get interesting tomorrow, that's for certain.
TdF Stage 10: Radio Free Europe
UCI to limit radio technology
What about steel wheels or maybe deraillurs? Shit their might be some fans for racing on high wheelers...
I'm pretty sure the calendar isn't showing April 1st. Please cease and desist.
Jens Voigt has suggested that in the spirit of the tour banning radios for 2 stages that they also ban helmets. What other interesting items might be banned? Time trial bikes Aero wheels Index shifting Clipless pedals Lycra Derailleurs (as mentioned above) Quick releases Paved roads
Add electronic derailleurs to that list as well!
Partial feeds and advertising
TdF Stage 7 multimedia
It's more like "did he fail to re-zip as a protest," no?
Anyway, I think he unzipped to protest how poorly, apparently, Agritubel is feeding its riders.
Chester -- hah hah, yeah, he does look more than a little underfed.
TdF Stage 7: Unexpected treats
Maybe Contador asserted his leadership...time will tell. I am loving the drama of this Tour though, and Astana is looking like the 1,2,3 in Paris is a real possibility.
If Astana got 1/2/3 in Paris, L'Equipe would explode in indignation.
And then what would happen to Vino's plans to restore "his" team to it's former Kazahk/Spanish makeup?
The Tour is long, and there are many plans yet to unfold. Last year's decisive stage on Alpe d'Huez is in my head - Frank Schleck was in yellow, only to sacrifice it for Sastre. Bait and Switch? Three Card Monte?
It would be hard to know who to mark - Alberto, Lance, Levi, or Andreas? Who's really the leader? I don't think that the mystery and drama surrounding that question is entirely accidental.
I'm probably wrong, but, like James said, I'm loving the drama of this tour, even though my sleep schedule is paying a heavy price. Cheers!
Andy Schleck Specialized commercial
Mark Cavendish bicycle
Aw, why no Manx flag? http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bc/Flag_of_the_Isle_of_Man.svg/250px-Flag_of_the_Isle_of_Man.svg.png
It's bomber art, like from WW2
TdF Stage 6 - The rain in Spain
Tour de France: Bernard Hinault on Stage 6
Say what you want about Lance, and the media has: http://www.newsy.com/videos/lance_armstrong_in_it_to_win_it But he is a competitor through and through. Staying on his wheel seems like a good strategy to me!
2009 Tour de France Stage 5 photos
is it me but i can't stop staring at voeckler's junk...
Don't forget to check out Voeckler's 'Wardrobe Disaster' victory salute.
2009 Tour de France Stage 5 photos
How long does success take? Frank Schleck’s answer is 4 hours, 53 minutes, 54 seconds. 2009 Tour de France stage 17 results, Frank Schleck wins in exact this time. After July 22, “2009 Tour de France stage 17 results, Frank Schleck wins stage” became headlines of newspapers all over the world, but what about the two other people. More from: http://www.blogcheese.com/4handbags/
Tour de France Stage 4 Photos
I am supporting Team Saxo bank at Tour De France. I heard Vopium one of the leading mobile Voip service is sponsoring my team at this festival. I am big fan of both of them and i am anxiously looking forward to the end results.
Practice makes perfect
Cancellara did a monster pull - a 40 km pull. Almost every time the cameras went to Saxo Bank, Cancellara was in front. Amazing.
...hey...why apologize, fritz ???...i think while we're all tired of the overwhelming media exposure the man has constantly generated, in this case & in this tour it's warranted...
...last years hype about a wide open affair was true as it did turn out to be a good race but i agree w/ you...the 2009 TdF is already a damn good show...
...& that was a technically sick TTT course...sheesh...
What would Johan do?Thought #1 Who is in better shape overall? Who has delivered more over the course of the year, and shown himself capable of delivering? Contador might theoretically be in better shape, but what of Leipheimer?
In this case, I'd probably set some sort of informal deadline--say the first time trial. Have a team meeting, and get everyone to agree that that man's the leader.
Thought #2 Go with Armstrong, provided he shows himself to be up to task. Contador's mouthing off prior to the Tour cannot be rewarded.
Bottom line: within the team if not to the world, there has to be a leader. At some point, he's going to have to make a choice. Perhaps he already has...
Thought #3 Use the perception of infighting between Armstrong and Contador as a distraction. Leipheimer for the win!
Lance had the skill/tactics to know to make the jump as the breakaway was pulling out, but he also had the luck of being in a position where he could make that instant jump. Maybe Leipheimer or Contador would have done the same if they were able to jump then. It's possible that they saw it coming, but didn't count on the break actually succeeding either. It's probably too early to make all-out efforts if the breaks are not worth catching, or if you already have a teammate in it.
My prediction is that Contador will be the leader, but that Lance will still try very hard to stay as close to him as possible.
You have two great candidates for the final. Treat them both with care as you never know when a crash might take one of them out.
Here's a twist...all this drama on Astana has been planned and played to create buzz. Look at how it's being presented, so the world will talk about the controversy. That's not bad, BTW, just business.
Here's another idea...if you know someone who needs some help cycling up the hills, then how about checking out the VeloChef blog, and searching Optibike, the fastest electric bike on the planet!
I kind of wondered if Contador wasn't aggressive enough (or maybe LA was overly aggressive and lucked out?) with that breakaway.
But how about Columbia, huh? That was some well done teamwork on their part.
Re Armstrong's experience, there's this quote from him today: "It wasn't that they didn't take advantage. It was just that they weren't there. When you see what the wind is doing and you have a turn coming up, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out you have to go to the front."
I've seen plenty of stupid stuff from DS'es in the past, including Bruyneel, that when something seems to be perfection I am sometimes not so quick to give credit. This worked really well for Astana, how much was deliberate and how much happenstance I cannot say.
If I were Bruyneel and had the value of hindsight, I'd order the team to stay near the front, watch Columbia, and when the winds started, get Lance/Haimar/Popo into the front and then have Rast and Paulinho soft pedal in around 25th place and allow a gap to form, as soon as a situation occured where no GC contenders were up in front (Rodgers doesn't count). Brilliant.
With a gap in place and all 9 Columbia's in front, they started burning cases of matches. Glory be, Skil-Shimano decided to get involved. Do ZERO work, in front or in back. Let Saxo and Liquigas panic in back trying to decide if they want to worry about Lance or not. I didn't see any Cervelos or Garmins chasing while watching this AM, I don't think Cervelo is worried about Lance and Garmin has to focus on tomorrow.
Now, one of two things happens. First, the split is reeled in, Columbia, Saxo, Liquigas, burned some gas. Second, the split stays out about 30 seconds and now you are within 10k or so of the finish. Send Haimar and Popo to the front to guarantee the break stays away so that Columbia continues to bury themselves into the ground.
Tomorrow, kick Columbia's tired butt into the ground by at least 10 seconds and put Lance into Yellow. Yes, Bruyneel wants to win at all costs, but Lance standing up there putting on the yellow Jersey is a close second. Note this meant Levi and Kloden could NOT go into the break. I highly doubt Saxo will be able to keep Fabien in Yellow, and by splitting off Wiggins, Garmin has been nuetralized as well.
Contador is still option #1. Lance and Levi are probably options 2A and 2B, with Klodi option 3. It's very valuable to get Lance 40 seconds today - even assuming there is no doping going on there is always the chance Contador could crash out of the race.
That said, Lance probably was just opportunistic and had 2 riders at his side. I do think that the order to send Haimar and Popo to the front was as much to keep Columbia working as for the extra seconds.
...hey, somebody ain't payin' attention & somebody else is...
..."The post-race polemics continued on Monday, with Christophe Le Mevel (Française des Jeux) blaming Contador for the split. "When the split happened I was right on Contador's wheel," he said. "If it's true there were 29 guys in front he must have been 30th and I was 31st. It was him who caused the split."...
...go figure...& as posted, "it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out you have to go to the front."...hmmm...who could said that ???...prob'ly somebody who's gonna pay attention to every obvious detail for the next 2 1/2 weeks...
...i mean, he's just sayin'...
...oh, & to answer yer question "What would Johan do???"...
...ahhh, sit back n' smile, i believe...
Astana's sponsors are getting their money's worth, that's for sure.
Columbia and HTC, too. I mean, whoever heard of HTC before they sponsored a bike team?
I liked Armstrong's quote that “it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out you have to go to the front”. That definitely came across as a jab to Contador. Also good was Cavendish's statement that those who missed the break were “racing like juniors'. That seemed pretty targeted at one guy as well.
I don't know whether or not Cav or Hincapie gave Lance some sort of signal as some have speculated, but I do love the way the drama is unfolding on Astana. It is shaping up to be a very interesting tour, and I personally hope that we get a repeat of the drama from the '86 tour. Hinault may not want to hear it, but I think Armstrong has that same desire to win at all cost that he did in his years of racing, even the later ones. It is easy to make statements about team unity as Hinault did after LeMond reluctantly helped him win his fifth tour in ‘85, but it is harder to stand by those promises later when an opportunity arises and that killer instinct kicks in. I think the same is true with Armstrong. He may have been able to play that role of super-domestique in other races this season, but that is going to be hard for him to do in France. I don’t know whether he can win an 8th Tour at 37, but I don’t think he can, or will, stop trying.
I believe that even if Bruyneel chooses to stand behind Contador as the sole team leader at some point (which will not happen), Armstrong will probably continue to take every opportunity that he can to TRY and grab bits of time here and there. And why shouldn’t he? As he said today, he is a 7-time winner so he deserves some credit. No matter how the Astana rivalry plays out, it makes for an interesting race. This is shaping up to be a great Tour.
I was wondering at parallels between this year and Hinault/Lemond also. BGW and I talked about that a little bit; probably worth a post all its own (if I had the time :-) )
The post-race polemics continued on Monday, with Christophe Le Mevel (Française des Jeux) blaming Contador for the split. "When the split happened I was right on Contador's wheel," he said. "If it's true there were 29 guys in front he must have been 30th and I was 31st. It was him who caused the split."...
Who is to say that Bruyneel did not ORDER the split? That split helps Astana, including Contador.
Now there are comments surfacing from other rider(s) that Contador was the rider that caused the split, or at least was at the front of the resulting peleton when the split happened....if it was Johan's idea, then brilliant!
@Yokota Fritz Who had heard of HTC? Really? Definitely too many iPhone fanboys in cycling. HTC is probably the best Windows Mobile handset maker... and will be doing Google Android smartphones, too.
...johan bruyneel, as team director wants another feather in his "TdF" cap... ...alberto contador wants another feather in HIS 'TdF' cap but has all but confirmed that he'll ride for a spanish team next year... ...lance armstrong definitely wants another feather in his 'TdF' cap, if he can pull it off after years of active retirement & he & bruyneel are pretty much assured of putting a new team together next year because... ...alexander vinokourov is making loud threatening noises about 'his astana team'...
...ergo, bruyneel is almost assured of glory w/ either of his two leaders or even kloden or liephiemer if everything else falls to crap...
...he sits back, does his usual marvelous job & he's in the 'catbird's seat', any or either way...(but his team needs to win)...
...armstrong, no matter how it plays out is also in the 'catbird's seat'...late 30's, retired for years & yet considered a favorite as a former 7X winner ???...damn, son, that's some powerful ju-ju...win, lose or draw, he's doing it & he's well respected by every rider in that bunch...
...pretty much WIN - WIN for johan n' lance...
...but as we all know, it still has to be played out on the roads n' in the mountains of france...
@Marvin: We know it as the T Mobile Android phone, but how many people know who the ODM is?
Maybe it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know. Maybe a signal from a former teammate and compatriot named George is enough?
It is clear that Alberto is a bad spot. IMHO he should have left earlier when Astana had money trouble. Apparently he had an offer from Caisse d'Epargne. Now he is in a no-win situation.
Q. Why no aero wheels on the front?
Tour de France for Dummies
Actually a good book. Bought it last year to brush-up on the rules.
...pretty much VS channel programming is also "tdf for dummies" & while it can be exceedingly redundant for any of us schooled in the basics, i don't find that to be particularly a bad thing because phil n' paul n' bobby roll, et al, provide the "casual" viewer w/ plenty of insight...
...hopefully that insight will provide casual viewers w/ something to stimulate further involvement in the sport & activity of cycling...
I found a free live video feed from Austalian SBS TV. Lots of "TdF for Dummies" there too, which like BGW writes isn't necessarily a bad thing. Still, there was a lot of "LANCE ARMSTRONG IS GOING TO WIN THIS THING" cheerleading.
It's a good resource with interesting history and whimsical TdF facts. The other authors of record are cycling journalist James Raia, who shows up as a "cycling examiner" at Examiner.com sometimes, and Sammarye Lewis, who goes by nickname "Velogal"
Americans in the Tour de France 2009
Jacques Boy was the first American to ride in the Tour in 1981.
Guilt: I can't believe I forgot that, especially since he's a local guy!
Don't forget that Z-man has his own brand of slather called DZ-NUTS! http://www.dz-nuts.com/catalog/
Tour de France 2009 on Google Maps and Google Earth
Thanks for the post. I tried something like that Tour de France flyover last night, except it was in my own hometown. Check out my first Youtube video! :)
Well done, Ron, and nice music too.
I have an pretty old version of Google Earth -- does the current edition do the video export for you?
I went Pro. I have an older verson, 4.3 I think. You can still create tours, and record them in version 5. Its not as smooth as making videos of routes. I'm having fun though. I may write a post on this soon! :)
Tour de France 2009 on Twitter
Levi rides for Astana.
Bah, I knew that. Just seeing if anybody's paying attention -- that's the ticket :-)
Thank you for the riders twitter links!!!
I've been keeping a running list of riders and teams tweeting from the tour. Currently around 50 or so.
Thanks for maintaining that list, Mike.
@Mark, I hope you find it helpful.
Tour de France 2009 Internet streaming video
Did any of those links give "streaming video" of the 2009 TdF, as one would expect when seeing that video?
I feel bait-and-switched.
The race won't start until tomorrow, so no live streams yet. Steephill is generally best at finding the live streams as they become available.
If you are using streaming service from US/Canada, just get the Versus video. I just got that - well worth it to support that service. I don't waste money on cable so this is well worth it for me.
How do I get the streaming internet tv on versus -- I'm willing to pay and subscribe; just can't figure out how to do it? Thanks in advance for a reply.
@OK: When you click on Versus Tour Tracker you should see a pop up box offering to take your money in exchange for streaming video. You have the option of a day pass for $3 or a full subscription for the entire tour for $34.
2009 Tour de France TV schedule
Chris Horner, Team Astana and the Tour de France
I'm disappointed that Bruyneel did not find a way to resolve the Contador/Armstrong conflict prior to the Tour. AC has said that he considers teammates LA (and Levi) to be competition. LA has notably not mentioned AC in his tweets for months, not even a congrats for winning the Spanish TT. Despite JB declaring AC to be the team leader, per his tweets, LA is obviously focused on winning the GC himself, considering all the TT preparations and now mountains recon he is doing. That divides the team. Cadel, Carlos and Denis are loving it, I'm sure.
...personally, after all the hoopla, i feel that if a guy of lance's age can get his well tested ass to paris in a shorter amount of time than anyone else in what will undoubtedly be a highly competitive race, i'm all for it...
...i just wish chris horner was gonna be there for him...alberto contador will not only have astana riders at his disposal but alliances have already been forged w/ other spanish riders who are capable of strong rides but not necessarily the overall...
...& if armstrong really doesn't have it, he will ride to assure an astana win...guaranteed...
I'm not really surprised. You can't have a tour team with a bunch of skinny GC guys and nobody to pull on the flats. In my view, Horner lost his spot to any one of Lance, Levi, Kloden, Zubeldia, or Popo (the GC type of guys), not to Paulinho. (Horner himself said he's skinnier than ever--137lbs rather than 150lbs.) Also, Horner's condition is a wildcard because of the crash/injury from the Giro. It seems possible that if Horner had not crashed in the Giro, he'd be going to the Tour rather than Popo, but with the crash and already having too many GC guys, Horner's chances were super slim to none.
...post script:-- hokey, but funny & kinda cool is a link from lance's twitter thingy (sheesh...said i never do twitter reads) wherein he's training today on the col du columbiere & encounters an american dad & his 8 year old son liam, bedecked in livestrong kit, climbing the col...
...gotta be a thrill for a kid when ol' lance hisself rides up, slows down & talks w/ you...
@BGW: I missed that earlier, thanks for pointing out. That video is so cool! Even the dad was super stoked, I'm sure!
Tour de France: No race radio!
I think it'll be interesting to see two stages without race radio. I don't get race radio when I race!
No school like the old school baby. I don't race, so maybe I'm being a little over harsh, but as you say, this could really force some riders to show what kind of mental / strategy chops they've got.This post has been removed by the author.
If you want to go old school and ban race radios then you have to throw out carbon bikes, aerodynamic helmets and handlebars. Cycling is a sport with a rich history of adopting new technology.
I am all for anything that takes more tech out and puts more emphasis on the athletes... no radios = good
Great idea!! Now leaders will have to think on their "feet" about who's in a break, should I let them go?, can I catch them? Would love to see this ban in place permanently.
Make the radios go away!
BTW, my word verification is "epogain". Does that mean I'm doping?
I heard radios increase the chances of steroids sound waves...
...great idea...finally something christian prudhomme et moi can agree on...hinault's statement regarding how he & cyrille guimard would get together & weigh all the various factors when planning a strategy before a stage sounds like an excellent idea...
...& were the "no radio" rule to be fully implemented, it would be interesting to see how long it would take before one team or another would ultimately try to cheat by using some form of micro-audio technology...perhaps tiny implants or something of that nature...
...@ joel price...horse pukkey, pal...(a) - using any one form of good technology does not imply the need for the use of other newer forms of technology...usage, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder...ie: user or event organizer...
...& (b) - while newer & "better" materials are embraced by cycling, it is a sport w/ a deep & rich history of being insular & close minded...if components, frames, even riding form don't fall w/in certain parameters or percentages thereof, they can be outlawed...
...actually there are two things christian prudhomme et moi can agree on...
...despite all of "quickstep's" background machinations, the aso (le tour organizers) are formidably standing tall in their insistence that young mr boonen's participation will not be allowed at this years race...
[Sorry to be late to the party.]
Yes, please. I want to see the riders' tactics, not the soigniers'.
@joelprice.com: As @bikesgonewild says, controlling one technology doesn't require controlling all. Plus, the others (carbon, aero equipment, ...) are a matter of degree. How oval does a helmet get before it's too far?
Radios are a simple binary decision: yes, no. You can't have have just a little bit.
@Terry: Your comment about radio as "either/or" brings up some humorous pictures in my mind :-) Maybe they can use radios but only if they're limited to old transistor radios from the 70s, or maybe even crystal sets with hand wound tuning coils.
Well, it is like taking "calculators" away from today's children. They are so used to them and they would not function efficiently without them.
the purpose of adopting technology is to maximise and enhance the raw performance of an athlete - lighter frames, more aero positions/bars/helmets etc. Race radios are associated with tactical play and control of the event, and inhibit raw performances such that most riders won't even attempt certain moves. Lets take our good mate Floyd and his 'epic' ride. Amazing effort, but couldn't have been done without cheating. Take away race radios and we'll see more opportunities like that taken by riders...hopefully legitimate though.