Sunday, July 17, 2011

What have I missed??

Good gosh it seems that I've been gone almost entirely the last 8 days....I did manage to put over 1500 miles on my car in those days. Sheesh....I should have a TV in my car...or at least somehow get VS audio coverage...THAT would have been cool. But sadly no. Drove home from Pahrump last night....left about 9pm, dropped Greg off at his place about 1:30 and I was home by quarter to 4am....boy were the babies glad to see me! I got a few hours of sleep and then up to watch the final 17k of todays stage. Won't spoil it here this early in the day...but a good finish and I didn't see any crashes in that pretty crazy technical final k's....whew!

So...I have 7 full stages to somehow catchup on recorded on the DVR...(8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 15th & 16th). Me-thinks it's impossible. I will have to FF at like 300 speed and somehow catch the code-words, then FF again to the final k's of each's the ONLY possible way. Much like RIDING the tour, it turns out that just watching it is very difficult. Once it gains time on you, it's extremely hard to get it back. Who knew being a spectator was so difficult?

Just cruised thru the comments on the last post... so VERY glad ya'll keep up the chat'n when I'm's like I almost DON'T need to watch those stages...plain crazy stuff. I can't friggin BELIEVE Voeckler is STILL IN YELLOW!! Great googly-moogly! I wouldn't have bet a plugged-nickel he could do that thru the Pyrnees! And Thor winning a stage like that? I guess it's why we watch the Tour...for the surprises. If it was totally predictable it wouldn't be much fun. Well, nobody can say this year isn't unpredictable!  I totally expected the overall list to have just 1 or 2 guys within shooting distance of the final Yellow and everybody else to have cracked...but to have FRANK appearing to be the top-placed contender? (IF, and I mean IF they can peel the mellow-johnny off V?) It's like Andy is sandbagging....and so is AC...

Also pretty jazzed that Cadel is THAT CLOSE! I"m really rooting for him to podium... If this is Franks best chance EVER to finally notch a yellow in Paris (which would truly be one of the 7 signs of the apocalypse if he somehow can hold onto his positoin during the final ITT), well...the same goes for Cadel. He has NEVER been this healthy and w/in this distance to the final top podium spot, and likely won't ever get another shot like this. But hey....if there's ONE thing this years Tour is showing us is that pretty much ANYTHING can happen. I don't discount anything.

And poor Shack...what the hay? Good golly the Devil is most assuredly collecting his due from Johan for that amazing streak of luck w/ Lance....and that thing about the breathalyzer?? Just when you think you've heard it all....

Well hey kid'z....I haven't even unpacked the car...just drove it into the garage, flung some stuff onto the table and crawled into bed....I would REALLY like to sneak in a ride today, but honestly I'm not sure that's a good feels like I'm actually shaking I'm so tired...guess when you get OLD you can't do much on 4 hours sleep. I'd make a lousy Dr I can tell you....hear those folk stay up (and somehow TREAT people?) for 24 hours OR MORE...still not sure how that became the standard...would you want your airline pilot to have been up for 24 hours when he's getting ready to land the plane?

And so....lets see....what's on my list for today....I have laundry to do, groceries to buy, lawn to mow, babies baths to do (all 3), unpack the car, unpack my stuff, and do some basic housekeeping (Jeannie is up in Seattle teaching all of last week and for 2 I'm on a solo mission right now). Being a single-dad is tough stuff! Oh...and I need to stand around in various places of the house to figure out WHICH ONE of the stupid smoke-detectors is chirping! It seems amazing that you hear it and can then stand under it forever and it won't chirp, but you move to another one and the chirping is coming from where you just were. What, did they put motion sensors in them to NOT chirp when it sees you? Driving me CRAZY! I might just get a pile of batteries and do them all...

And JD...give you little sweetie hugs from all of us...she is just so darn cute! I can SOOOO relate...(I DO NOT want to turn FIFTY-FREAKING-ONE is just a little over a on earth is that possible?) Oh well...I GUESS it's just a number....(a REALLY BIG ONE). And yet life goes on.

OK..breakfast time then maybe roll the dice to see what gets done first. Later gaters....



  1. Hope you had a really nice visit with your dad, Matt. I count myself lucky to have had a week "babysitting" mine last year before his stroke. That was a nice time.

    When I've missed a stage, instead of trying to watch, I will often go to cyclingnews and read the live report up to the last 30 or so Kms then watch the rest. Also, if something particular happened in the early part of the stage, I can fast forward to just that part...

    code words for past several days--I actually can't remember if I have yesterday's though, I was so tired when trying to stay awake to watch!

    echelon, cadence, izod, domestique, feed zone, team director, cervelo, pedal, speed

    It is so friggin HOT! When I moved to Columbus from San Diego county I was relieved that the summers were more moderate, not as steamy as my hometown near Cincinnati. Seems that advantage is gone! But, a few weeks ago, I spent the afternoon putting the reflective bubblewrap insulation in my attic and that seems to be well worth the effort. I'd say the upstairs is a good 10 degrees cooler than it would have been otherwise.

    I need to mow too, and edge, and try to figure out a way to keep the deer from nibbling all my plants. They've munched the hostas, the strawberries, the tomatos, the chard, the phlox, the small trees, and what they don't eat they trample..Never had such a problem in the 18 years I've lived here. But will they eat the WEEDS??? NOOOOOO! I wonder what venison tastes like?

    I think even Voeckler is a bit surprised at still being in yellow, and it sounds to me like he thinks that his team has about reached its limit. It is great that he has put them on the front, but he also must not think that he has a real chance to win overall --surely riding on the front would not be the best tactic for his weaker team?
    I wonder if AC has made any kind of deals with Movistar or S.Sanchez regarding support in the Alps. I tend to think the Spaniards will stick together to get one if not both of them on the podium!

    Jensy is truly remarkable (as is Stuart OGrady, if you review his crash history) and it always lifts my spirit to see him in a race. I do wonder at L-T also, maybe they sense that none of the other contenders are as strong personally or team-wise as they and think that pushing the pace now will pay off this next week when the competition is more tired than they are? A real gamble. I don't think Cadel wants to spend so much energy now, and probably didn't think an attack would pay off yet.

    Whoa, was Tylar F. ANGRY yesterday!! What was that about? couldn't quite hear what he was saying to Thor just before being interviewed. Did Renshaw pull one of his blocking manuevers again, or does it have to do with the rumored car-towing incident with Cav?


  2. Hey Matt - glad you're home safe & sound & hope you had a great time! Also, I viewed the Livestrong pics (via the "slideshow") & just loved it all. Thanks for posting them! :)

    Hey Rae - Tyler was upset & frustrated at his close sprint loss yesterday & now even regrets saying what he did. Although, his soft-ball comments are NOTHING compared to the trash Cav talks all the time. The stuff Tyler said to Thor & even to Robbie V in the interview was referring to Cav's miraculous recovery to even be in the Tour at this pt as he was apparently dropped from the GRUPETTO Saturday & half the HTC team had to help to get him to the finish line within the time limit (& they JUST squeaked in with only ONE minute to spare). This is certainly not the 1st time Cav has been accused of not just riding BEHIND the cars but actually hanging onto them in the mts in a Grand Tour. The 1st time I heard it, a couple years ago, I thought it was just jealousy by other riders but now, I don't know. The Versus guys & the HTC directors all scoff & say that there's a race official moto back there keeping an eye on him but the peloton gets spread WAY apart up those climbs so do they REALLY have someone to look at every single rider the entire time? I don't think so. Plus, I saw a photo online last year suppposedly from 1 of the Grand Tours (don't remember which one now) that showed Cav HANGING onto a car.

    Of course, Cav's not the only non-mt goat to have ever hung onto a car going up those Tour mts, but I can understand Tyler's frustration. HTC controlled the peloton almost all day yesterday, just one day AFTER going all out to keep Cav in the race & yet still were able to set him up for the win. I was shocked at Tyler's comment only because HE is such a nice, non-trash-talking guy. And if Cav really is cheating, that must really drive Tyler & ALL the other riders rightfully crazy.

    About AC & the help from the other Spanish guys - Several days ago, Sammy Sanchez was quoted that he would defintely "help" Contador. I was shocked as he seemed to have NO problem with flat out admitting he would help someone NOT on his own team. This was before they went into the Pyrenees & before he came within podium range himself but apparently he thinks he doesn't really have a shot so he'll probably help AC if he can. I've always suspected this kind of collaboration & it just ticks me off.

  3. About Andy & Frank - I ended up watching Saturday's stage 3 times & by the 2nd time, I developed a THEORY for what Andy was doing. I don't think Frank was having a good day & you know how P2 kept saying Andy kept looking at Contador? Well, I think Andy was looking at Contador AND his brother, to see if his brother would be able to go WITH him when he attacked. (BTW, I didn't think I saw Frank attack Sat but the Velonews write-up said he did do one attack, do you all remember? I thought it was Andy who attacked 5 times, but maybe I just THOUGHT it was Andy every time.) Both the brothers have said it is THEIR DREAM to be on the podium TOGETHER. If Andy attacked & zoomed off the front & AC went with him but his brother couldn't, there would go Frank's shot at the podium let alone the win. If Andy attacked & AC didn't go with him, Frank certainly wouldn't drag AC back up to his brother, he would sit on AC like Andy did last Thurs on Luz Ardiden (sp?) & while AC could make back the lost time in the TT, Frank can't. And if Cadel & Basso went with Andy, there also would go Frank's shot.

    I'm also thinking possibly that AC didn't try too hard to go with Andy at that time, while he was still not feeling super strong himself - he knew Andy wouldn't sacrifice his brother on this stage & not til it absolutely looks like only one of them could podium (i.e. in the Alps).

    If both A & F could attack at the exact same time, maybe one on each side of the road, that would cause utter panic in the other GC guys & they could possibly win the Tour that way. However, both would have to be equally strong & coordinate the attack. I HOPE they try this in the Alps. It would be awesome to see!

    I still don't think AC is out of it at all. Unless he has a broken leg or crashes RIGHT before the final climb Thurs, I think he could possibly put a minute into the other guys on that stage. And maybe 20-30 seconds on Alpe d'Huez Fri. And because Andy & Frank STILL can't TT very well, that's all he needs to get past the Schlecks on the podium. However, if Cadel stays right with Contador or only loses 10-30 seconds, I think Cadel will win the Tour! GO CATTLE! MOOOOOOOO! Head 'em up, MOOOOVE 'em out!

    I'm not sure where I see Basso though. He's defintely a better TTer than the Schlecks so it's possible NEITHER of the Schlecks will be on the podium UNLESS one or both do major attacks Thursday &/or Friday. Of course, the Schlecks COULD have been working all year on the TT & just faked crappy results in Susie's Tour to fool everyone. Those sly devils, pull a Rasmussen! (Hope it doesn't turn out the same way as it did for Chicken!)

    Remember how the ASO thought Ventoux would be this big showdown & change the GC all around back in 2009 & basically NOTHING changed? Well, THIS time the ASO may get their wish with Thursday's stage. I'm a tinglin' already! It's gonna be AWESOME!

  4. Oooh, I just saw on 1 of the cycling websites that PhilGil may move to BMC next year! Wow, that shocks me even more than the idea of Thor going there! How do you have a guy going for the overall win & another guy going for the Green jersey on the same team? Didn't work that great for Lotto with Cadel & Robbie & pretty much every GC guy on HTC/Columbia/Highroad the past 4 years just gets exhausted before even half-way thru the mts which kills their GC podium dreams.

    Maybe PhilGil doesn't plan to ride the Tour again for the next couple years & will go back to concentrating on the Classics & other 1-day races. I realize the Classics are a much bigger deal in Belgium & some other Euro countries than in the US but are they really seen as big as the Tour de France?!

    Of course, this could just be a rumor but I think I read that Omega Lotto is breaking "apart" (don't know what that means exactly) so I guess PhilGil has to go somewhere. Anybody else heard/read anything?

    Oh & how could Sky have Cav & Wiggins on the same Tour team? But I think I read that Wiggins may not even ride the Tour next year so he can concentrate on being ready for the London Olympics on the track. But that's only ONE year. What would he do in 2013 & beyond?

    Questions, questions! :)

  5. Matt, there are much bigger numbers than 51! I am well acquainted with 5 of them... and you can still ride your a$$ off!

    Speaking of which, I am now the proud owner of a Trek Madone 4.7 WSD in shades of periwinkle blue! It's really pretty and weighs pretty close to nothing. 7 lbs less than my previous road bike.

    On to the ALPS! Somebody is going to WIN this thing!


  6. Well, I caught the 'rest day' prime-time show tonight so feel fairly well caught-up. Now just what to do with 97 hours of prime-time DVR recorded coverage (deleting it seems SO final). The only thing I really needed it for was the code words, thanks Rae for negating THAT need! (of course, I didn't win a blasted THING yet..using 2 emails even!)

    Barbara...I know there are bigger numbers, but it's kind'a depressing as it seems to be picking up speed! And congrats on your new bike...7 lbs is a LOT to lose! It will feel like a million bucks compared to your old one! Nothing makes you go faster than newer better lighter gear! (I live in SUCH a materialistic world!) I SO want a nice set of carbon aero/semi-aero wheels...but they are SOOOOO dang expensive. And I'm SOOO in debt after the cruise/LIVESTRONG/Nevada vacations. Well, not in debt actually, other than to myself...gotta put the $ back into the 'emergency' account. But it makes me FEEL like I'm broke.

    And so..what will happen tomorrow? Will there FINALLY be a shakeup in the GC? Is Andy and Alberto sandbagging? Frank looked pretty good in the recap. I like the one/two punch of the matter who they are punching. Just the thought of them tag-teaming the other GC'ers...very cool! Can Cadel continue to hold with the mountain goats? And can Voeckler continue to hang with them? What about Basso? Sanchez? At the moment, it's still anybody's race! But WHO will step up and take the golden ring? I think it's gonna be GREAT!

    Just checked my Fantasy team..I'm up to like 1300th place now (quite a jump from 16,000th place a week ago!)

  7. I'm hoping one of our guys will give it a try tomorrow - this isn't always easy on the day after the rest day, but with only six stages left, I'm hopeful Paulinho or Irizar will get themselves into the break or make the most of the cat. 2 climb at 11.5 to the finish. We haven't given up yet. A stage win would put big smiles back on everyone's faces in our camp.

    AC will have lots of friends in the peloton if he needs them. I would expect a few former teammates from Astana would contribute men to his cause if it comes to that. I think we'll see a recovered AC starting tomorrow and he will at least give it a go to see what's possible. I think Cadel is more of a threat than either of the Schlecks and I think Basso can still do some damage. And Samu is looking solid - who will risk their position to go for more or lose all? Won't it be fun to see how it plays out?

    At my website US Cycling Report, British commentator Brian Smith (Eurosport) has contributed pieces on both rest days. His piece from yesterday gives advise to the American riders - he has great perspective. Check it out!

  8. Matt, I forgot to mention that Carmichael Training Systems has opened a center in Santa Ynez - did you know? Their VIP grand opening is Wednesday night and I'm going. Any chance you are?

  9. A. M. A. Z. I. N. G.

    Take the rest of the day off and watch it now!!

  10. Wow. Wow. WOW! Never saw THAT comin' for THIS stage! Should't be shocked though as every year there's some mt (in this case, semi-mt) stage that I don't think will have much action & KA-BOOM!

    Looks like SOMEone took advantage of his time in Lourdes.... Knee, schmee. ;)

    Alrighty now, let's everybody put our lips together & MOOOOOOOO! :) :)

  11. Matt, I had the VIP day wrong for the open house - it's actually Friday night. Then the public open house is all day Saturday, including a ride, bike fit demo and all kinds of other stuff. Just saw the public event in the newspaper.

  12. WOW! This didn't turn out at all as I expected! Now THIS is the Tour! All that and incredible scenery too!


  13. Wow...what a finish to a lowly cat-2 climb stage! Who would'a-thunk! Nice to see some surprises (I mean good ones)! One thing's for sure: you can't say this years race is predictable! Only a few stages left and we still really have NO IDEA who will step up and take it! Or even IF someone can step above the far it's been pretty even...and if that were to continue, boy that last TT will be some drama! LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! Been a while since we've had this many contenders still actually having a shot to win! And vVeckler...even HE says he has zero chance, yet day after day he's where he's not supposed to be, doing whatever it takes to hold the Mellow-Johnny. Good for him...and France...they need a cycling hero. He could very well podium at this point. I sure wish I had some vacation left...these next 2 days should really unleash some fireworks and I WISH I could watch it live!

    Woo-HOO! We have a real battle shaping up, and time is short. GAME ONNNNNNN!

  14. Hmmm...too bad I can't go back and edit my comment...guess my fingers were excited when I tried to type 'Voeckler'...hhmmmm...Veckler? Vexxler? (as in VEXING those who thought he would be out of yellow by now?)

    Oh, and Cathy...I got the email about the Carmichael grand opening this Sat...I think I'll probably show up...not sure if I should just ride down (prob about 40 miles one way)...but then if I hang out all day, and do the ride, I have the looonnggg ride home late in the afternoon w/ the dreaded headwind...hmmm. We'll just see how it goes. Maybe I'll drive down to Los Olivos and park, then ride to his place...that's prob only about 8-10 miles. We'll just see how I feel Sat morning. There IS a stage going on...why can't they hold their opening the NEXT weekend after it's over?

  15. What a great stage! The cameras couldn't stay on just one spot--Action everywhere! Yay Thor! (although I think he was a little bummed to have to sprint against his countryman)

    YAY CADEL! and hurrah for Tommy V. hanging tough another day, although he couldn't match Cadel, AC or SamSan. How about Tommy D.?

    I didn't think AC looked all that comfortable though, and as you mentioned susieb, he doesn't seem to have that free climbing gait that he is famous for even though he did look better today.

    I was amazed to see Cav come in only 1'15" behind Andy--and ahead of riders like Sorenson, Paulinho and Karpets! (BTW, he WAS penalized at the Tour of California for taking a tow in 2008)

    Definitely this is the most interesting Tour in years! (well, all the polemica with AC and Lance 2 years ago WAS pretty interesting...)

    This has got to be beyond Garmin-Cervelo's wildest dreams! Now, are they going to lose Thor? What a shame they are suffering from too much talent!

    I also read that OmegaPharma is going to split into 2 teams, one sponsored by O-P, and the current team looking for someone else to join Lotto (or vice-versa). Also saw the rumor that one half of the split might merge with Quickstep.

    On my fantasy team today, I had 3 of the top 5, 7 of the top 15, and one more for the top 20-- and STILL didn't crack the top 100 scorers!


  16. Edvald Bo-AHzen-ahgen---I can hear Meryl Streep saying it in her "Out of Africa" accent...


  17. More on yesterday's stage (Stage 16 - Tues) :

    Could ya'll beLIEVE it?! 1st, Thor gets his 2ND stage win of this year's Tour (which included his having to attack on a MT! each time!) & then all the GC drama!

    Drama! Drama! Drama!

    And I don't know why I didn't think AC would attack on the final mt - sure, it was only a CAT 2, but he HAS to gain back time. Plus, apparently the Schlecks hate the rainy conditions, so it was perfect for him. Just too bad that BULLDOG EVANS was there to dog his every pedal stroke & then fly past him on the descent! My only disappointment was that even though it LOOKED like Cadel would gain at least 10 seconds on AC & Sammy & even more on the others, most cut their losses quite a lot by the Finish. Still, Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oy! Oy! OY!

    And man, Andy Schleck. WTF?! 1st off, I thought FRANK was the atrocious descender in that family! (Remember the 2007 or 08 TdS(I think) when he went over that bridge railing? I was watching the online feed live that day & thought for sure he would have been SEVERELY injured or worse - you didn't even know how far the drop was. He was SOOOO lucky that day). Anyway, Andy lost some time on the climb yesterday which was shocking but the slooooow descent is what really hurt him. Do YOU guys think he "lost the Tour" yesterday? I don't know - SO much can still happen the next 2 days & now he's really MAD & maybe that will motivate him that little bit extra.

    I've been thinking about Andy quite a lot this Tour & even though I'm not ready to rule out his chance at the win or the podium this year, I have to say I don't think he properly prepared for this year's Tour. I'm starting to think that both he & Frank THOUGHT they had this year's race in the bag after AC's doping result came to light followed a few months later with the Tour course announcement, which could NOT have been BETTER designed for THEM, heck, you'd think their Dad had laid it out! I'm thinking that THEY thought no one else EXCEPT Contador could possibly beat them & if he was not in the race, they would clean up. So, they didn't train as hard or as much as they should (especially the TT). Of course, there may have been illness or injury that we don't know about too but whatever the reason & from what we've seen so far, Andy doesn't look in the same form he had last year. Plus, maybe finishing runner-up twice to the widely touted "best stage racer of this generation or possibly ever" went to his head - that if that guy was not there, he'd just waltz away with the whole thing. (And he surely hasn't forgotten that without Chaingate last year - he MAY have actually won!)

    And I've had to laugh all year & especially the past 2 weeks, when both Schlecks have repeatedly stated that Contador was "NOT" the only one to beat. I don't think they thought that at all! I think it was attempted head games on AC.

    And then of course, things could not have gone better for them & their team the 1st 9 days. No crashes, gaining time on the very 1st day, seeing AC booed & crashing & not being in his best form after completing the Giro, well, maybe that got a little too overconfident. I also believe they truly thought the ALPS is where this year's Tour will be won & nothing else really mattered except to stay safe & just wait to get there. And that belief/plan still COULD be true but if the Tour teaches you anything is that you have to be ready & willing to act on EVERY opportunity to gain time on your rivals, no matter where or how significant. And this, the Schlecks have NOT done.

  18. Oh & Phil stated this morning that Andy was still the "people's favorite" to win (not counting Voeckler, he was comparing how they like Andy more than Contador). Well, newsflash to Phil - the masses have turned against Andy in the past 2 weeks! Do you guys ever read the comments under the Velonews articles? Or the comments on the various Live Tour blogs? Sheesh, they've become VICIOUS in their turn on Andy! They can't stand his constant looking behind & that he & Frank didn't gain MORE time in the Pyrenees. In addition to that, Andy has apparently adopted Cadel's old whining habit & he's alienating tons more with that. QUITE the change from last year when almost every commenter thought Andy could do no wrong.

  19. Yes, it seems that AC has finally found some form--but he is still minutes behind Frank and Cadel. I think, with this group of contenders, it will be very very hard for him to overtake them.
    I think that Andy, and Frank, could lose everything if they don't stop trying to get them both on the podium. They are both talented and have the advantage of 2 strong contenders working together--but if concern for the other keeps one from aggressively exploiting opportunities, then it will do no good.

    I'll wait till later to comment on today--no spoilers! BTW, WHY is the evening crew discussing the events of the stage at the BEGINNING of the broadcast--before we've seen it?



    Stage 17 - Wed (Today)

    You just knew SOMEone would attack on the final climb today & of course, it was AC. I'll have to watch again tonight to see if the Schlecks attempted to attack as they definitely SHOULD have.

    And I think I have to agree with Andy - that descent was really dangerous!

    Still, with all that suspense & drama (yes, at one point I was MOANING - "nooooooo!" when it looked like AC & Sammy were riding away from ALL the other GCers), not much change at all on the GC.

    Which brings me to once again b*tch about the Tour's French TV director. 1st, WHY can they NOT DO A SPLIT SCREEN?! Or a picture in picture as they do when they show the inside of the team cars & still show the road action too? Because ONCE AGAIN, the televised footage missed a huge chunk of the action & because of their constant covering of Voeckler, led to almost EVERY commentator (& Live blogger) to think Voeckler was right behind AC/SS & that Cadel & the Schlecks had to be losing major time as they were NOWHERE to be seen! We didn't see THEM descend almost at all!

    Plus, remember last week on Luz Ardiden where Contador was actually dropped on the final 1K? We did NOT even get to SEE it happen?! How could there not have been a moto camera right with those guys?! There had to be but the French TV DIRECTOR chose to air a different camera's shot. WHAT an idiot!

    Anyway, at least Voeckler lost some time today (sorry, I'm not a fan, me & Flecha, apparently :). And despite my semi-wailing at my office desk, AC did NOT put ANY time into Cadel. (Whew, wipes brow). Or the Schlecks. Tommy D & surprisingly, Basso lost some time though.

    So, here we are - just 3 main days left. WHO do we think can win it all &/or podium? Guess you'd have to be crazy to bet on someone right now the way this Tour has been going - every d*mn day we have a bigger shock than the Casey Anthony verdict, so who WILL not just survive but grab this race by the scruff of the neck to stand on the tippy-top step in Paris?! Hmmmmm, if I HAD to eliminate 3 of the top 8, I'd toss out Voeckler, Cunego & Basso. Depending on his legs tomorrow, Basso COULD still podium but I just don't see him winning at this point. Which leaves 5 guys. It really all depends on their legs tomorrow & Friday. Any one of them COULD explode - both up AND down. How many times have you seen a favorite going "backwards" on THE pivotal day? It happens! And, 1 or more COULD have an outstanding day - a "no chain" day as Lance used to call them & they literally FLY up & away from everyone else. I just hope it's Cadel or even 1 of the Schlecks & NOT Pistol Punk that has the latter.

  21. BTW, I saw something today at the end of the Eurosport coverage that impressed me. About....Contador. Yes, batten down your hatches, another Sign of the Apocalypse. But, he was being interviewed in & he ANSWERED in English. And not 1 or 2 words either. Maybe he hss known more English than he has let on these past 3 years, but either way, that impresses the h*ll out of me. People like Johan & Spartacus who can speak 5 or more foreign languages fluently just amaze me. I do NOT have this ability & have always just been in awe of those who do. So, if Contador has learned English in just the past few years, major kudos to him.

  22. Rae - I just saw your comment - if I had not already listened to & seen the last bits of each day's stage in the morning online, I would be LIVID that Versus is doing the Primetime show this way! Telling everyone up front what happens! I don't remember them ever doing this before, except when Chicken & Vino were thrown out of the Tour in 2007.

    I'd love to find out what Versus/NBC idiot is responsible. And you would think NBC - FAMOUS for keeping viewers in supposed suspense during the Olympics would KNOW better!

  23. Something that I've haven't read or heard discussed much is the fact that the Schlecks are heading up their own team and that is some heady sh*t right there. To have a team specifically built around you (especially Andy) and have 20 million euro put up on your behalf so you can WIN the Tour - well that is a huge load of pressure for a 26 year old to handle. And regardless of how cool and calm he might act on the outside, there is no way on the planet that it doesn't cause him to lose some sleep at least once in awhile. And then to employ your tactics and have them ripped to shreds by Joe Q. can't be easy being Andy at this point. Sure he still has plenty of time to win at his young age, but the team was put in place now, and all of the talk about winning is now. I think he's choking a bit, having a little performance anxiety. Tomorrow will reveal a lot. (I also think they've back the wrong brother in this particular year.)

    Levi has been purposefully losing time and taking it easy. I would not be surprised if he put in a nice attack on the Alpe. It's perfect for him. BTW, when Klodi fell on the corner after Voeckler had fallen last week, Levi said it was cow or horse sh*t on the road. In Basque country, I vote for sheep.

    Also Chris 'But Did I Finish' Horner is doing well at home in Bend. He plans to race in Colorado.

    And finally we had a guy in the break today - hooray for Dmiy! He is one of the nicest guys around, speaks very good English and is my favorite team member to dance with at the after party (along with Popo). He was so excited that he made the break today and got 8th. He said he'd only ever worked for others at the Tour, but today was the best day of his career. Sort of speaks to what the worker bees forfeit day after day, doesn't it? Always in the service of others.

    Can't wait for stage 18. Seems like at this point, anything can happen and probably will.

  24. And in the hilarious tweet department, this from Magnus Backstedt: Why the hell are the Schleck brothers riding looking backwards all the time. No wonder they crash a lot and find downhills tricky!!!

    My husband said the same thing this morning: "Why is Andy looking around all the time?" It was driving him crazy!