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2012 Tour de France
Posted 29 June 2012 - 01:38 PM
Posted 30 June 2012 - 08:19 AM
I used to think that Cav was a tool, but I find I like him more than Tyler Farrar who really annoys me every time he opens his mouth.
I have been listening to the preview and now the start of the prologue and they are really NOT talking about the USADA except to say that's why Johann isn't on site. Who will be the Patron? I mean, it can't be George because he's so rarely a leader, and always relegated to super domestique, now for that diva Cadel Evans.
Viva Le Tour!
Posted 30 June 2012 - 10:10 AM
Those who aren't big fans of the sport may find that there's another reason to watch: tourism. The TV coverage spends nearly half its time showing the landscape and buildings around the course, often from helicopters. Watching the race is a great way to see the many faces France has to offer. We enjoyed the views of the Dordogne so much that we decided to take a ten-day trip there -- and had a blast! PM me for details if you're interested.
This should be an interesting race. The two best climbers, Contador and Andy Schleck, are both out (doping and injury, respectively), which opens things up considerably. The race organizers have added more individual time trial miles to the tour than we've seen in recent years, which will make Patrick Wiggins happy. If I had to put money on a dark horse, I'd pick Gesink of Rabobank.
Vive le Tour!
Posted 30 June 2012 - 12:53 PM
Posted 06 July 2012 - 05:15 PM
Posted 07 July 2012 - 01:15 PM
The Garmin team was one of the hardest-hit by the crashes. Today, their plan was to use two of their few healthy riders to lead the main peloton, in order to catch the break and give one of their riders, Dan Martin, a chance to win today's stage. Alas, they spent all their energy in vain, as Martin couldn't keep up with the pace set by the Team Sky riders and finished 1:39 down. That must be pretty depressing. I wonder if the Garmin riders have anything but two more weeks of painful riding in their minds tonight.
The Team Sky train blew apart the race on the final climb. It looks like Cadel Evans will be all by himself in the mountains again, though of course a lot can happen in the next 2000 km. The short, sharp climb at the end of today's race knocked out a bunch of riders who are usually pretty good on the hills. I suspect that tomorrow's stage, which has more climbs -- but gentler ones -- may not be so brutal.
I'm rooting for Menchov. He lost about 40 seconds today in the last 2 km of the stage, but that's really no surprise: he prefers the long, gradual slopes to the sharp ones. I figure he may be able to gain some of the time back on Monday's longish time trial, though it will be tough to catch up to Wiggins, who's also a very good TTer.
Posted 13 July 2012 - 05:02 AM
Because both the Sky boys have far better TT, Nibali will have to destroy Wiggins and Froome in the Pyrennees, but I do reckon this year's tour is far from over yet - can we count Cadel out after he popped yesterday or is he just saving it up for a big blast up the Pyrennees?
Posted 13 July 2012 - 07:35 AM
Posted 15 July 2012 - 10:56 AM
In other news, Sagan is just a blast to watch. For a really young guy that has some great sprinting legs, he came out and started a breakaway and showed that he could hang with some climbers going through the mountains. I wonder as he ages and physically matures if there's any possibility that he could even be a grand tour contender. Either way if he just sticks as a sprinter he'll be fun to watch.
Posted 15 July 2012 - 12:52 PM
Posted 15 July 2012 - 08:57 PM
And today, after Sanchez attacked with about 8 (?) km left on the stage and rode to victory, he was gracious in an interview afterward. Sanchez cleverly timed his attack just as Sagan was taking the wrapper off an energy bar. Did Sagan complain? Nope. "Luis Leon attacked and we couldn't go with him." And he also noted that he had only himself to blame, as he was eating when Sanchez attacked. "Yes, I should have kept a better eye on him. In the last few kilometers I needed to eat. I wasn't expecting him to attack me at that point. He is experienced and I am not bitter about it. Even if I'd managed to stay with him I might not have won."
At this point, Sagan is sure to win the green jersey if he doesn't injure himself. He'll be a strong favorite for the category again next year, and I'll look forward to watching him.
Posted 17 July 2012 - 10:48 PM
Then you have all the other dopers. Sean Kelly, Laurent Fignon, Stephen Roche, Marco Pantani, Miquel Indurain, Leipheimer, Riis, Zabel (well, about the entire Telekom team), Lance Armstrong (who still fucking denies, the fuck), Brochard, Virenque, Herve, Leblanc, Moreau (all of Festina, basically), Casagrande, Rasmusssen, Contador, etc etc
Isn't it safe to say that everybody uses?
This sport is so dirty (and probably has to be, as completing a full cycling calendar is just not humanly possible at this level), perhaps it's time to go back to the 1930s and allow any and every drug and other supplement to enhance performance, as long as it's not provided by the organizers (kind of like American sports until very recently)
Posted 18 July 2012 - 12:45 PM
Edited by Greg29fan, 18 July 2012 - 12:46 PM.
Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:55 PM
The real competition tomorrow, I would say, will be in the King of the Mountains competition. I would guess that Voeckler will be too tired to go for any of the points himself, so if the second-place rider, Kessiakoff, does manage to get near the breakaway, we could see some of Voeckler's teammates sprinting forward to keep Kessiakoff from getting points. Of course, Kessiakoff looked liked _he_ wiped himself out with today's effort, too, so someone else might try to jump over both of them tomorrow.
Posted 18 July 2012 - 06:01 PM
He made it, but check out his description of the last climb (and keep in mind this is a fit and incredibly strong-willed guy who has been training really hard for seven months):
We decide at top of Col Aspin not stop at bottom but rather push straight towards our final climb. We are under tight time constraints and want to avoid missing the gates and being swept up by the pick-up wagon. We start our descent ... The downhill turns are really sharp and slick and we have already witnessed a few accidents during the day ... One mountain left. So I decide to just go ... I climb the last Col at such a slow pace my bike almost falls over from lack of forward motion. I want to just click out and walk. Cyclists are vomiting around me, people walking their bikes, Too weak to click out many riders just falling over to the side not able to break their falls. Somehow I will myself on ... Praying for the summit. 4k , 3k , barely moving. Prob 4kmh. Riders dropping everywhere. Some passing me. 2k. legs are spent. No strength, average gradient still around 7%. One pedal at a time is my strategy. So tempted to get off saddle but probably couldn't click out either. Just want to fall to ground and have it be over. 1k, thirsty but no strength to reach for water bottle and too slow. Bike swerving left and right. Can’t keep it straight. Almost fall but pull it up and recover. 500m. gradient reduces. I see the finish line. Push, push, push. I think back on the 7 months of training and the tips from coach and friends. 'Set a mark and get there'. Got it. Finish line. Almost there. Legs empty. One last pedal. Made it.
And this is only Stage 16. That is what makes the Tour the hardest endurance event in the world. No wonder they cheat.
Edited by Kremlin Watcher, 18 July 2012 - 06:03 PM.
Posted 20 July 2012 - 02:04 AM
Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:58 AM
Posted 20 July 2012 - 12:27 PM
Wiggins is likely to win barring some sort of misfortune, but to me Chris Froome is the best rider in this year's Tour. He's had to wait for Wiggins during at least two climbs and has been close enough to him in the time trials that I think he'd have won the event if Sky had a different hierarchy or they were on different teams.
Same thing happened in the Vuelta last year, which Froome would probably have won if not riding for Wiggins. Though hindsight is 20/20 there, so I'm not inclined to blame the team too much for that one.
Give Froome his 1m 25s back from the puncture on stage 1, and let him ride his own race elsewhere, and we'd certainly have a much better finale on tap for tomorrow if nothing else.
Will be interesting to see how they sort it all out going forward, especially once you factor in Cavendish, and the fact that Henao and Uran should be good enough to expect a proper crack at this race in year or 2. It's a good problem to have I suppose.
Edited by tulse_luper, 20 July 2012 - 12:28 PM.
Posted 20 July 2012 - 07:03 PM
Stage 18 (today): part of a break on a rolling stage, survived to 600 m, won Combatative rider
Stage 17: in the last break in a mountain stage
Stage 16: again in the last (and winning) break in a mountain stage, finished fourth
Stage 15: in at least 2 early breaks which were pulled back in a strangely fast stage
Stage 14: the tack stage -- nothing of note
Stage 13: leader of two-man breakaway with 16 km to go, caught at 2 km
That's pretty darn impressive for a 39-year-old rider. He just won't give up trying for a stage win. I admire his style, and I'll be rooting for him to repeat his performance in the final stage of the 2005 Tour (though I certainly won't expect him to succeed).
And, yes, I know he was banned for 2 years for doping.
Posted 21 July 2012 - 04:06 AM
Posted 21 July 2012 - 07:09 AM
Posted 21 July 2012 - 10:41 AM
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