Monday, July 11, 2011

What in the WILD WILD World of Sports is going on?

Got home from Davis today, and maybe in the next day or so I'll post some pics and the writeup from the 107 mile ride yesterday...suffie to say it was just an AWESOME DAY!

Here at home after various other chores I FINALLY sat down to watch yesterday's stage (9). UN - FREAKING BELIEVABLE! I thought I'd seen everything, but that French TV car that took out the breakaway....there just aren't words! And it was so VIOLENT! Poor Johnny Hoogerland was flat-out catapulted off the road and the barbed-wire-fence stopped him instantly! And THEN he somehow gets on his bike (after being quickly patched up by the race Dr) and is again riding his bike! He must be SHREDDED! The driver of the car should be prosecuted! It was more than an was outright negligence on his part! Certainly poor driving. IF Hoogerland can actually start tomorrow will be a miracle. And same with Fletcha...he really hit the pave HARD! Watching the crash it's amazing he didn't shatter his collarbone the way he hit the road.

And then the big crash on the turn where Vino launched off the road into the trees! OMG! There was concrete barriers holding up what looked like steel pipes as the guardrails....if he hit those at speed the he too was catapulted off his bike...seeing his teammates helping him up the embankment was just painful to watch. And Z-man sitting there hurt...I've never seen anything like this! And Klodi involved he out? I haven't heard...if so it would appear that Johan's deal with the Devil (that so amazingly kept Lance unhurt in SEVEN consecutive Tours) is calling in his markers...and his team is being decimated leader by leader. And then after that crash with the entire peleton sitting up letting all those caught behind the crash (most of the peleton) catch up gave Voeckler and the breakaway extra minutes that were never recovered. Somehow this entire stage just doesn't seem fair.

And then the crash early on of Alberto...they showed the video a few times zoomed in on where he was, and I can say it appears he might have actually been shoved! Aerial footage would be key, but you could clearly see SOMETHING happened just before he veered into the crowd/barriers...and karapets in the red jersey) body suddenly moved the other way like he did suddenly push Alberto...that's what it looked like to there some bad blood going on there or something? I'd think something like that would get you thrown out of the race if it were verified...(he'd be put in the penalty box in hockey, and/or ejected). And then there was something Phil said (I had to rewind a few times and write it down) that struck me as quite funny (in a ARE YOU KIDDING ME? way). He said this after Alberto's crash as he was fighting to regain the peleton: "They may know Contador has fallen, but they won't be doing any attacks to keep him away because it was bad luck". EXCUSE ME PHIL? Are you the same guy who said Contador was totally right to attack Andy last year when his chain jumped off and jammed? Alberto isn't even in Yellow....I'd say the entire peleton would be TOTALLY within their rights to attack like MAD seeing him go down! ESPECIALLY after last year! I think Fabian should have whipped the entire peleton into a wild TT and just crushed him. And IF Karapets DID have something intentional to do with the crash, then he is out. Just my 2 cents worth...I'm SO out of touch...somehow need to go over the previous stages...just don't know when I'll get time for that...and I"ll be out of town again this weekend (Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun) will lose FOUR MORE stages. Gosh...I need a vacation!

Gotta hit it...4:20am is coming FAST, and I'm whipped from an exhausting but incredible weekend.



  1. I've got to review that video re Karpets/AC-- I wonder what could have instigated that?

    You know, the past 2 years or so I have learned to sometimes ignore what Phil chatters from time to time, as increasingly what comes out doesn't make a whole lot of sense or is just wrong! Part of the difficulties of filling so many hours of commentary, I think! In that incident, though, I also was amazed that none of his teammates came back to help him. Makes me wonder if he has done something to produce bad blood within the team -- and somehow involved Karpets or Katusha? that seems a stretch.

    Oh, SusieB, I wanted to talk about your posts last night but I was too sleepy. RE garmin: I would think that for them "a bird in the hand" was the operative rule as far as which goal theyve been chasiing this past week. As for keeping the pace too high--then on the last day they were criticized for not helping the chase enough!
    I am happy to see TommyV in yellow! He did slow down after the car incident,they showed him doing so, but once he knew that Flecha and Hoogerland were down and out he pressed on, as he should. Likewise after the big crash, didn't the TV show him several times slowing and checking on the race situation?(I may be confusing the two crashes) I don't blame him for pressing on though, he won't have a chance to keep that lead for long and there was no reason for him to delay even if the rest of the peloton chose to. I think that the fact the "bigs" were willing to sacrifice time to the breakaway reflects that -- they don't want the yellow yet themselves.


  2. I was in shock at the results of that big wreck -- and cringing as I saw the Astana team hauling Vino out of the woods (bet you were too Cat), wondering why they didn't wait for the ambulance team to move him safely. Of course, if any of these crashes had happened in the USA, all these riders would be put in hard cervical collars for a day or too!
    (Just as an aside--I think I have noticed, starting with the pictures of Jens in hospital after his bad crash, how much less luxurious (for lack of a better word) the hospital rooms are compared to the USA? Even in the intensive care units the beds seem much more basic)

    Klodi looked to be in so much pain, I do hope the rest day did wonders, haven't seen him yet today although I know he started.

    You know, Gerard Vroomen has advocated banning all the cars from the race. for sure, they need to restrict the ones that aren't absolutely needed. Plus, it seems to me that some of the cars are larger than they were in past years -- are they? Better for the mechanics, and probably better for the car sponsor, but larger vehicles must make it that much harder to manuever.

    Once again, I forgot to do my roster for the fantasy game. So one of my point scorers for today was on the bench (not to give away the results) I am solidly in 1600th or so place!

    Matt, don't give up hope on getting a prize, I've won a bottle, a t-shirt and a case of FRS products from Versus --the only places I've ever won anything! Not that I like the tshirt, and the bottle is long gone.

    I do love my jerseys from the ToC--they make great running shirts too. They've marked them down more--now 60% off -- a Hincapie jersey for $12 (plus shipping)! do I need one more?


  3. Hey Rae, I think you're right that Garmin (JV) was employing the "bird in hand" plan especially after CVV & Ryder lost time on Stage 1. But, the days that I was shocked at this operational plan were the 2 flatish "sprint" stages where Tyler definitely would have had a shot. And they used him up all day so he had nothing left.

    Still, it was very prestigious for both Thor & Garmin to defend the yellow jersey for an entire week. Plus, they made money! Almost $10,000/day each day Thor kept the yellow. And that's nothing to sneeze at! So, I guess I can't criticize them too much, I just so wanted Tyler to battle Cav on every sprint this year. And since there are so few opportunities in this year's route, it was frustrating that Tyler couldn't even compete.

    BTW, did you all read that article on cyclingnews - the one where the writer was in the 2nd Garmin car Sunday? WELL, guess who ORDERED his boys to GO FASTER on the descent that was the site where the big crash then happened?!! Yep, it was Vaughters! So, the Garmin guys were just following JV's orders & 30-60 seconds later, boom! I am shocked. 1st, he's never said a word of this in interviews, noooo, he just blames "beautiful but cruel cycling". 2nd, why would he tell his guys to go faster down a descent when the roads were wet-dry-wet & mostly unknown & during a Tour where there have been catastrophic crashes day after freakin day! Plus, it's not like it was the final 30K, heck, it was only half-way! They still had 100k to go & the break wasn't even that far ahead at that moment. Plus, if they were so concerned about keeping Thor in yellow, why the h*ll did they let Voeckler in the break to begin with?!

    Speaking of that crash - did anyone see where CVV was? He had crashed hard there but I can never see him from the footage. I THINK he was probably at the upper right corner just off the TV footage. Don't understand why the cameras didn't show all of the riders involved.

    Which brings me to my now annual complaint about the French TV feed. Overall, I love how they shoot the race. Love the scenic shots, etc, but I DO NOT understand how they consistently miss every big crash when they have 2 helicopters flying at 1 time & tons of moto cameras. It makes sense they'd miss crashes when the peloton is spread out (like on mt stages) as they only have so many cameras, but when the peloton is all together?! And WHY did they have to keep showing the break during this time? It was still 100K to go & the big story was the crash & then how the peloton decided to slow down (for about 10K). How they later actually got footage of the Hoog-Flecha car outrage is a mystery. (BTW, I think "do a Hooger" or he was "Hoogerized" may just appear in cycling fans future vocab. ;)

    And ooooh, how did Johnny get back on the bike? OUWWWWWW! Any of you been cut by barbwire? I have (still have the 2 scars on the inside of my left knee from when I was 8 & stupidly played "jump the barbwire" with my friends ;) & it HURTS! Plus, mine bled nonstop for quite a while. And that photo showed JH was cut multiple times in 4-6 inch cuts. Again, OOOOWWWWW!


    Well, the last 20k of today's stage is sure a humdinger! The Eurosport guys kept saying how it was so unexpected & I agreed at 1st. But then, when I actually saw the final 20K (more uphill than I thought from the profile in the mag) no, it was not a shock at all that PhilGil went for it after the original break was caught. And kinda exciting that the yellow jersey went for it too, but not really a surprise for that guy!

    What did surprise me at the end was that Cav somehow made it to the front of the bunch after that final climb & even without the perfect leadout, almost won. Oooooh, that he got beat by Greipel?! Bet he's stomping p*ssed! Which, even though I'm not really that much of a fan of Greipel's, I was happy to see! Cav needs some humility!

    But in more sad news for Radio Shack - Popo couldn't start today due to a lingering fever. Good god, what MORE can go wrong for the fellas?! Haven't heard yet how Klodi made out today but I hope he wasn't in too much pain & will be able to soldier on. Man, if I was a journalist at this race I'd be asking Johan THE big question - "So, Johan, exactly HOW many mirrors did you break?!" Whoooo!

    And for those keeping score, I think Levi has now been involved in a crash during every stage except the TTT? If he makes it to the mts without TOO many scabs & bruises, HIS luck surely must turn around! Right?! Right?!!

    BTW, anybody seen Basso in this race? He's the new Menchov! :)

  5. @thejensie on twitter is one cool dude. No wonder we love him so much. Asked about joining twitter, he said:

    "You know, there’s nothing more convincing than a cool barrel of a gun on your head. What can I say? Of course I had to agree. No, no, in all seriousness, I decided to give it a try. Stuey was already tweeting for many days that the team would get me on here. He would say “Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow.” Finally on the rest day, we said we’d do it. It’s almost spooky, you know. There are 30,000 followers [28,900 presently] in fifteen hours. It’s a great chance to have direct contact with your fans, but it can also turn into a very sharp sword to do some harm if it is used as an aggressive weapon. I see great possibility here but with it comes great responsibility."

  6. Just saw a further enlarged version of Hoogerland's butt/leg after the tangle with the barbed wire. Some of those cuts actually look up to 9-10 inches! Don't know how he rode today. On the butt!

    Also, seems like the "woman in yellow" from Stage 1 was actually a teenage boy in yellow. You only see the person for about 2 seconds on the footage but I went back to check again & this time froze the scene & all you can really tell is the yellow shirt & shoulder length dark hair. What I did notice this time is that the rider immediately before the Astana guy is a Shacker (not sure who) & he rode by the kid with no problem. The Astana guy was defintely on the edge of the road. Over the white line but still on the asphalt when he hit the spectator.

    Anyway, finally got to see Klodi interviewed on camera - Frankie got him. Wish we could see Klodi more often! And most of all, hoping everything gets better for him & the whole team.

    And speaking of Frankie - just saw some BAD news - he's leaving the Tour so no more Tour Talk with Frankie & James! CRAP! They were my absolute favorite of all the analysts' videos. He has to get back to work with his cycling team. Man, this is as bad as another of my fave riders crashing out! Maybe this is why he didn't work for Versus this year. I think next year, Versus should include Tour Talk just like Frankie & James did it : laid-back, funny, shot in different locations & not just in front of a team bus, etc. In fact, they should just pay them to do it! Insert their bit into the Primetime show which is completely ruined this year. I've warmed up a bit to Liam (mostly because HE has finally stopped being so stiff) but I am more disgusted with Gogo every day. On the Universal coverage of the Giro, Vuelta & the other cycling races they cover, I never minded him that much because you only saw him at the beginning & end of the stages. And do you see Bobke's body language? Looks like he can not believe/stand he has to share the desk with that guy!

  7. Just finished watching todays stage...good sprint and good for Cav to even BE there!

    Also I JUST finished uploading my pics from the weekend to is the link to my album:

  8. I was completely bummed that Frankie is leaving too! Definitely my fave videos of the year.

    I was really happy to hear that Kloden was feeling a bit better and seemed to have a positive outlook and hope that he'd be able to be there in the mtns. It crossed my mind several times this week that Johann is severely paying for those 7 golden years, which become all the more incredible in hindsight when you think about how Lance avoided injury, crashes that could take him out of the race, and sickness. RS will be sad to see Popo leave today, but I hope that Kloden and Levi are ready to take on the mountain stages.

    I was wondering why they chased down the break so early today which enabled Gilbert to break with that small yellow jersey group at the end. Usually they let the break dangle there until closer to the finish.

    We're almost to the mountains folks!

  9. MATT! Where are you going? The Pyrenees start tomorrow! Thursday & Saturday look to be the most action-impactful days in those mts but Fri could surprise. Every year there's some mt stage that I don't think will be that big of a deal & BOOM, something huge happens!

    And speaking of "Big Deal", have ya'll seen the new Trek commercial starring Thumper?! Oh sure, Levi, Horner, & Andy are in it too ( :), but Thumper (Jacob Fulgsang) is just so dang adorable! And he's doing very well so far in the Tour as the Schlecks mountain lieutenant. One of these days he's gonna win a Grand Tour himself - maybe the Vuelta. That seems to be the place where GC guys go to test their stage racing abilities &/or get a 1st GT victory. I vainly look for him every day in the bunch & know he's always right there with the other Leos but rarely actually get to SEE him. I'm sure we'll start seeing more of him tomorrow!

    I know, I know, I sound like a friggin teenager, but he's just so cute, like a puppy. And it's rare (at least for me) to like a rider both for his skillz AND his looks. There's Spartacus & um, Spartacus. Of course, Klodi & Haimar also have gorgeous brown eyes & Klodi even looks like a rock star when he puts on his shades! :)

    I've got some questions. 1st, where has PhilGil been the last 5-6 years? Tour-wise, I mean. I know he's won a bunch of Classics, but why has he never done anything in the Tour before? Has he even competed more than twice? This guy is amazing & to never have really been a factor before in THE cycling race just shocks me. I know he's not a pure sprinter & not a mt guy, but there's always stages at the Tour a guy like him could win so I'm just shocked he hasn't done much here before. He's 29, so not a rookie. Was he sick or injured at Tour time the last few years? I really know very little about him & never even knew what he looked like til the Tour introductions. I didn't see the Classics he's won the past year & have no memory of his 2 Vuelta wins last year even though I did watch that race daily for the very 1st time on Universal.

    Next question - how long can a guy ride behind the cars without getting a time penalty? I didn't think they were ever "allowed" to do that, but we see it on almost every stage after a crash or mechanical. The 10 seconds Levi got docked in 2007 ended up being the reason he finished 3rd & not 2nd (Cadel ended up 8 seconds ahead) so I've always been confused about this.

    Also, when/where are the guys allowed to take a "nature break"? Every day you see some guys getting fined for "public urination" so that means there must be rules.

  10. And hey Rae, you are so right about this year's KOM dresses. What crimes did those girls commit to be sentenced to wearing those get-ups in public?! I know French 'haughty-couture' is not to every one's taste but geeze, those things look like something I sewed back in 7th grade Home Ec & I was terrible! I did like the polki-dot dresses either last year or the year before. Most people hated them but I thought they were great - the skirt part looked like an upside down teacup. I loved them because they looked like something out of Dr Seuss AND because the skirt part looked like mini mountains! :)

    More later - gotta get back to work. :)

  11. Hey Matt - I tried to look at your photos & I couldn't - it said the "owner has made this site private". Can you make it public? Thanks!

    So, tomorrow : the GC battle truly begins! Any predictions? I'm thinking there will be an FDJ guy in the break. ;) ;) Seriously, think it's in their contracts that there must be at least ONE of them in every break?

    OK, but for the GC, hmmmmm, will the main attack happen on the usual final climb OR the Tourmalet? Could push the panic button for a bunch of teams if the latter happens. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for Levi & Klodi, the Garmin GC boys, Cattle, & Schleck1 & even Schleck2. Would LOVE for all those guys to do great & would really love if any of the 1st 5 guys I mentioned actually win the stage. Hard to tell how any of them will do in the 1st big mountains at this point.

    Do ya'll think Gesink has recovered enough to hang with the big boyz? And do you see the 2 HTC guys (Tony & Peter) staying up there? And I have NO idea how Basso will do - have you guys even seen him on TV since the TTT? He's been keeping hidden which at least means safe the past week. I just don't know if he had time to recover from that bad training (?) accident.

    And I still can't believe we won't be seeing Horner's smiling face. Not only is he missed IN the race but also on the Bicycling videos & his blog. :(

    Well, I'll be taking 1/2 day vacation time in the morning tomorrow so I can watch it all live (will also do same NEXT Thurs & Fri) at home in HD (whoo-hooo!). I'm almost as excited as the day before the Tour started! And this will sound really lame but I was so excited Fri night before the Grand Departe that I could barely sleep - was afraid I'd sleep thru the alarm.

    And besides great action, I also HOPE it does NOT RAIN tomorrow or on any of the mt stages! Don't know how those guys stand it day after day. I was a wreck today just listening to the stage, especially when they said it started to POUR when they got closer to the Finish. That there were NO crashes today is a bloomin miracle!

    Oh, been meaning to chime in that I love those Road ID commercials too! Except that girl in the newest one kinda sucks as an 'actress'. Oooof! But, Levi & George seem to be naturals!