Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's all downhill from here (except for the uphill parts)

Well, le Tour is OVER half way thru already! July is just FLASHING by before my weary eyes, just as it always does.

I think baring disaster we all know who the winner will be. Just watched Stage 11 (the ITT) and my feelings after Saturday are back in full force. I just can't help it. In this day and age, it's hard to believe (in the "CLEAN" peleton) that any one guy can be THAT much better than everybody else. And it's not just Froome...Richie Porte had a heck of a TT also, who if you recall was one of the siamese-twins demolishing the best riders in the world on the VERY FIRST mountain stage.

I wish I didn't feel this fact, I HATE it that I do. But to watch him CRUSH Cadel (who is in pretty good form actually) not only in the mountains but in the just raises my hackles as the little angel on one shoulder is crying FOUL! (and the little devil on the other shoulder is going "uhm, er...what?") And it's not like Contador is such a shabby TT'er himself...however I do look back and think about  how just a few years ago when the Pistolero suddenly 'appeared' in amazing form in le Tour, and now have to wonder about that too.

Susie, you said something today about in this modern nearly dope free peleton, wouldn't a doper stand out? Hmm...I can't help but wonder if that isn't EXACTLY what we are seeing? The rest of the GC wanna be's are all looking quite mortal, and it's just Sky who is invincible. And I think I mentioned in the comments that I'm suspicious as to the entire teams opposite performance on Sunday...the collapse also seemed too good to be true, and it appeared almost right out of the gate that the other teams were going to get their time back and more. But in the end after 5 mountains, zip, zilch, nada. Not ONE SECOND was gained back, even though Froome was isolated all day long and just hammered by the other teams, notably Garmin. Quite honestly, that's also too good to be true in my new book of 'real'. If everybody else on the team (who put in such a huge performance the day before) utterly folded right from the first climb, then how on earth was Froome (who put in an equally huge performance) the only one who didn't?

OK..enough negativity...maybe it's all spewing out because I'm so tired...not getting a lot of sleep lately. Ill try to do better (fingers crossed...HA HA!). As to the TT itsself, I loved the backdrop...don't recall ever seeing that little castle/island amazing! They really knew how to make impressive homes back in those know what they say.....location, location, location! THAT was a pretty awesome location. Not to mention how difficult the construction must have been. I'm thinking any bad guys rode up (to the wet bottom of the bay) and said forget it..lets go find a different castle to pillage. And, well..back then they didn't have any sewer everything just went over the side into whatever river or whatnot was available...I"m thinking the ocean would work pretty good. Tide goes out, so does all the kibbles & bits & bits & bits.

I need to hit it...have a great day, and STAY FROSTY!

Viva le Tour!


  1. WOW! Just watched Stage 12 (well, mostly the last 15 miles or so...Jeannie caught me snoozing actually and woke me up in time for the finish)...hopefully you've already seen the results, if not, SPOILER ALERT!!!

    How about that Kittel! Today he took on Cav head to head, and quite honestly Cav had PERFECT position and leadout from Steegmans. I don't recall anybody every coming out from behind Cav that close to the line and beating him...usually Cav has another gear after he comes out from his final man, but today it just wasn't there.

    Good for Kittel and Argos/Shimano (IMO, it's a nice little payback for Cav taking out his teammate in the closing sprint yesterday in Stage 11, even though the referees didn't think he did anything wrong). Nice to see Cav isn't so invincible anymore! THREE wins for Kittel...that is quite amazing considering the four best sprinters in the peleton are all there this year. (I have to wonder if Cav will throw a FIT in the team bus...I don't see anybody for him to blame on this was all his to win and he was simply out-sprinted head to head).

  2. MATT! MATT! MATT! Even though today's parcours looked like a hohum-flat stage, you MUST watch tonight! I only got onto the French TV feed with about 30k to go so don't know what happened exactly but let's just say YOUR "friend" Mr Wind paid the Tour a little visit today & threw his weight around!

    I'll be back later to chat about the last couple days.

    Remember - WATCH tonight! Don't know for sure but I betcha some team may have been quoted "This Tour ain't ovuh til WE say it's ovuh!" at the Finish! Hoo-hah!

    1. Ohhhh golly goosh, I'm so excited I have GOOSE BUMPS! I'm stuck at work for the next 5 hours, but will ANXIOUSLY await viewing anything that might break up the sure-thing of this years Tour! SO glad to hear that Mr Wind (known by many other names, none suitable for printing in a PG rated environment) shows up and ply's it's invisible destruction upon somebody besides me!

  3. Crap! I just tried to copy my 3 paragraph comment to my email before posting & I CUT it by mistake! #&%*#$#@!#$%

    No time to write it all up again, damn it! Anyway, am really looking forward to tomorrow & especially Sunday, Sunday, SUNNNNN-DAAAYYY with Mt Ventoux. Hot damn! I expect that a break will stay away tomorrow, but after what happened today, who knows! Still, with Mt Doom looming the day after, I wouldn't imagine 1 of the leading GC teams to overly exert tomorrow. Which MEANS it could be a great day for a hoped-for alliance of BMC, Radio Shack & Garmin to be the Creators of Chaos. Fingers crossed! :)

  4. Great stage today - this has been the most interesting Tour in a long time. Even the flat stages are unpredictable! This has been a great Tour for illustrating just why cycling is a TEAM sport. Can't wait for the ALPS!!!

  5. Wow...2 days in a row big brother (corporate filters) have been snoozing and I'm able to get into my OWN comments section! Watched the entire stage yesterday (and suffering GREATLY for it this's 5am and I'm back at work...gonna be another LONG day..same for tomorrow). What a 'flat' stage I can remember! I love to see that the wind isn't just MY enemy...(though in some cases the wind can be your friend...especially when you have a TEAM). Ask Pistolero if the wind is HIS friend after yesterday. I was really rooting for him to pull back more than he did..but it's a start. Poor Valverde...boy the wind was HIS mortal enemy yesterday..from 2nd to what, 14th place? His tour ambitions are "Gone with the wind" (boo hiss..sorry bout that pun).

    I'm all for anything to create a closer race. Cav was quite the gentleman after Kittel nipped him at the line the other day..I was surprised! Called him "the next big thing". It does appear that Cav has lost that extra gear...he's now closer to the other sprinters I think..whether this is how it's going to be from now on or not I can't say. I liked the comparison of Kittel to Draco in the Rocky series...(he actually DOES look like Dolph Lundgreen). Seems like a good guy...his aspirations were to win ONE tour stage. Good for him and Team Argo/Shimano! And Sagan looks a whole lot more mortal this tour also...not sure what's going on. Seems like he just quits sprinting and is happy w/ 2nd/3rd place...however he DOES have a rather solid grip on the Green jersey...don't see anybody getting that from him.

    OK...back to work...(nap). Glad next week will be regular shifts (8's I hope)...I need some sleep! July is always hard in that respect, and w/ the 12's I'm working every other week it just makes it THAT much harder.

    later gaters!

  6. HATED yesterday's stage, HATED it! For a plethora of reasons! 1st, WHY did the stage have to be so blasted LONG?! Not that we got to SEE anything really before Mt Doom as my 2nd complaint is NBCSN's jamming of all the commercials. Sure, I like to see the mt action commercial-free, but come ON, every 2 minutes P2 went to commercial for the 1st 2 hours! Back to the stage length - was that really necessary?! Hell, no! What was the point?!

    And then we come to Mt Ventoux & it was awful. Let me count the ways. 1) Only 2 guys attacked & one was THE guy who SHOULD have been the one attacked! And he didn't just attack. Noooooooo. No ass-swaying, dancin' on the pedals for him! More like Froome- ZOOM! How do you watch that, not once but twice, when he ZOOMED past Contador (CONTADOR!) & then Quintana & not think - THIS guy is DOPING! Or blood boosting. Not sure what is more damn pathetic - watching the zoom or reading/listening to Team Sky huffily tell the media/world that they are insulted with all this doping talk! Why of COURSE they're clean! WHO's ZOOMING WHO? 2) WHERE was everyone else? Andy & Cadel cracked within sniffing distance of the BASE. At least AC stayed with Froome-Zoom til 7k to go I think, but then he starred in a sure-to-be-you-tube classic of what it's like to be ZOOMED in the world's largest bike race. O.M.G. 3) Yes, I've complained about this for the past 6 years & I'm complaining once again - WHY can't they use Picture-in-Picture to show the mt action?! We have no idea what happened to AC in the last 100 meters as NO cameras were on him! Where did the Belkin Boyz come from as I didn't even see them til one crossed the Finish line a handful of seconds after AC. This was one of the worst TV-directed stages of the Tour I've ever seen.

    And speaking of Belkin - the old Rabobank team who didn't have a sponsor ALL year until JUST before the Tour started. Can't IMAGINE why that would be motivation to dope. It's bad enough that those 2 guys are for the 1st & only time consistently in the top MT stage finishers day after day but BOTH have suddenly become ITT masters? Helllllo, Chicken! Let's see, WHAT team was HE on again?

    Sorry, I tried, I really, really tried to keep an open mind & just enjoy the glorious spectacle, watch the suffering that ends in both victory & defeat, the human & athletic drama, & not constantly question every effort, but that was FREAKIN RIDICULOUS! And if you think a team that has a budget 2-7 TIMES that of ANY other team could not POSSIBLY be using some form or method of performance enhancement, I have some FABulous Chinese small cap stocks to unload, I mean give you the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy, buy, buy!

    1. Glad I'm not the only one who's BS detector is pegged out and clanging alarms! And yes, the commercials were coming at us so often I just FF'd thru until the final climb, couldn't STAND it any longer. And yes, it was a freaking loooooooooooooooooooooooooong stage...though at the pace the peleton ran up to it I can understand why everybody (except for a VERY few) was dead by the time they got there. The breakaway and the peleton were just INSANE with the pace they were holding, knowing what lie ahead. I think that's why nobody could attack..they were already redlined just GETTING there in the lead group.

      And Sooz, you really cracked me up with "Andy & Cadel cracked within sniffing distance of the BASE"...I'm STILL chuckling at that one...(it's way funnier than what I was going to write!) And totally agree w/ the miraculous arrival of the Belkin boyz...guess having our rose-colored-glasses forcibly ripped off our faces and stomped into shards really changes our perspective when we see superhuman performances. There's no 'benefit of the doubt' anymore. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, poops like a duck, then it's a duck. So to speak.

      And the sad part is we'll likely never know...unless they get caught somehow...but we've also learned it's not only possible, but normal for the elite few to beat the tests for an entire career. And then with the system showing Levi (and the rest of the peleton) what you get for doing "the right thing and coming clean", the omerta is still good to go in full swing. Why would anybody from here on out possibly come clean? So you can go home and look for a job? Fa-gad-abud-it. The screwed up system is alive and well I'm afraid...and until management (and yes, I'm talking about the UCI) changes, nothing will change and we'll just keep going along with blinders on. If one top guy is doping, then the rest need to follow suit if they want to have a chance. Clean peleton...HA! Don't buy it (and I'm not really interested in any Chinese small cap stocks thank you).

  7. Hey Matt - today's stage on paper had BIG BREAK staying away all the way to end with the GC bunch just having a saunter day out on their bikes. Well, just half of that stayed true... I think all the action started with only 20k or so left to go so you can FF to there tonight. :)

    I was looking at the GC standings last night & if Zoom-Zoom wasn't in the race, this final week would be AWESOME! Any one of those guys could crack bigtime in any of the 3 remaining MT stages AND/or lose major time in the mountainous ITT. And conversely, one or more could become heroes & win a stage &/or claw themselves up onto the podium. Que the music - GC Shuffle!

    And I know Andy just doesn't seem to have the form, but I would love to see him do something fabtastic on Alpe du Huez. He's so far back he would be allowed into an early break & for him to win there like his brother would be great for his confidence & emotional state. I know he's had a rough coupla years what with the shotgun wedding of Leopard & RS, the jettisoning of the DS who the Schlecks went to be with at Leo in the 1st place, the seeming incompatibilty with Johann, the lack of early results last year & then the bad crash & injury which ended his season, THEN the doping test & conviction of big bro, & finally his own long recovery. So, I'm giving him mostly a free pass this year BUT if he doesn't change his training & hunker down physically, mentally & emotionally, his career will be over! Which is unbelievable when just 3 years ago we all thought we'd be seeing the Alberto & Andy show at the Tour for at LEAST 5-7 years! Don't they have sports psychologists in Europe?!

    BTW, speaking of 'form', since when is it not suspicious that a cyclist can be on great form for 6 weeks (if not 4 months) straight? 1st, Wiggins & now Zoom-Zoom. Hmmmmmm. Must be the "special water" Team Sky drinks on all those weeks of team training in Mallorca. Or perhaps the isle is known for its beef cattle. Anyone?

  8. It's so pointless to watch and immediately suspect and condemn someone because they have good form and win. Someone has to win every day! Everyone who jumps on the 'everyone is doping' bandwagon should just find another sport to support. It would do all of us working in the sport a huge favor. It's tiresome, boring, unfair to the rider and casts such a negative mood over a glorious Tour. Was proud of AC in his press conference yesterday saying he'd take two doping questions and then no more as well as Sky DS Brailsford telling the press to get together and tell him what he can do to make them happy instead of continually asking the same questions over and over. Boring. Boring. Boring. Change the channel if cycling doesn't work for you. There are plenty of other exciting sports to support.

  9. And, I have to say that the Dutch riders Mollema and Ten Dam haven't "come out of nowhere" (neither has Quintana). They've been steadily improving over the past 2-3 years, and that is why I have Mollema on my fantasy team (one of my few good choices! Wish someone would explain to me why I keep picking Gesink). Quintana has been winning stages and races already in the past year, too.

    But, I do understand and agree that it is hard to quell the suspicions when one rider is so dominant, especially over top notch contenders.

    I am most disappointed, though, in again seeming to have the race decided so early on by such a dominating performance. I really feel so sad for Cadel!Still, there has been really excellent racing and interesting stages -- The green jersey competition has been fun -- overall, it is a good tour!


  10. Part 1: (this got kind'a long):

    Cathy, I can understand your feelings being part of the sport. But after being totally trusting for so long and then finding out that pretty much all of it was a lie for the past 20+ years was devastating beyond comprehension (and obviously I'm not the only one who feels that way). We learned a LOT. Top of that list is that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Sure everybody involved is sick and tired of having it brought up again and again and again...but you know what? They're going to have to get used to it. The fans have been burned BAD. Forgiveness takes time, and trust. I'd like to think that 95% of the peleton is clean...and maybe it is. Maybe it's the cleanest it's been in ages. I hope so...but that's not good enough. Part of our trust being dashed to the rocks is having to live with suspicion, and I can't say how long this new era of disbelief and mistrust will last.

    As to what Brailsford said asking what he can do, well...that's a joke. He (and Team Sky) had a chance a while back (a week before the tour even started to be exact) to help allay suspicion on Froome by releasing his power data as requested by Bike Pure (here's a link to the article):

    Oh sure, Brailsford's got lots of good reasons for not releasing the data. And guess what? This is what they are going to get because of it. I'll buy some of his reasons, but not all, and in the end, knowing Froome's power numbers on the big climbs would go a LONG ways in quelling the suspicion if he's truly riding clean.

    All the top times of the iconic climbs have been done by those who were juiced, and their power numbers are known. Hate to say it, but anybody who matches those numbers anytime soon surely would be under HUGE suspicion. I'd like to believe Froome is riding clean, but by not releasing his data it appears he's hiding something. I'd compare it to being a suspect in a crime and not taking a polygraph. Sure, it's his right, but it also just throws MORE suspicion his way. Obviously we've learned it's impossible to PROVE you are clean...but by being wide open with your training and race data would go a long way towards closing that door. As it stands, he just throws fuel on the fire EVERY time he rides away from the rest. We've heard that song before. If he IS clean then I and everybody else who is suspicious owes him a HUGE apology. How do we know if/when that is due?

  11. Part 2

    Personally I'd love to have his power data on the climbs (you know, the ones where he crushes ALL the very-best in the business?) and have it analyzed by pro's...they are out there (and that includes Porte's data too btw). It doesn't even have to be released publicly...just have an independent organization do it and release their findings. It also doesn't help that the group that collected data over 30 years of all the top riders and analyzed their power data into 4 groups (normal, suspicious, miraculous and mutant (I posted on this article back in June, here's a link):

    Froome and his times from last year came under the "suspicious" category...and quite honestly he's riding like he's from another planet this year. What can I's WAAAAY suspicious.

    Also I'd like to add one final thought: for one thing, I in no-way believe "everyone is doping". I personally think it's down to a few...hopefully VERY few. But IF one of those few is at or near the top end (or possibly winning?), then THAT just brings us full circle to the argument that the rest need to dope if they want to have a chance at winning, and there you go...right back where we were. And IF all the disheartened fans were to actually leave the sport (and take their money with them), well...that could very well be the end of it. Pro sports only exists because there is MONEY in it. That MONEY all derives from the fans who pay for TV, buy the advertised goods, and show up at races spending money. If the fans move on with their money, then the sponsors will shift their dollars elsewhere and Pro Cycling would truly be dead. No fans, no sport, it's that simple. The sport can't exist without it's fans. And right now I'm not alone by ANY MEANS in wanting to be able to believe, but not quite being able to. I've had my ability to believe in magic ripped away, and the skeptic is all that's left, at least for now.

  12. Hello all!

    Was out of town all weekend and just caught up with the stages - so had to stay off the internet until I was caught up!

    Gotta say that I agree with you, Matt. I dearly love the sport and will stick with it, but it is extremely difficult not to be suspicious and I think only natural at this point that we are. I try not to be accusatory, but I can't keep those persistent doubts from entering into my mind while watching performances that seem too good to be true. It struck me also how much the statements from Sky were like the ones that used to come from USPS. I am hoping that they are as squeaky clean as they claim to be, truly I do, but there will be suspicions in my mind nonetheless. That's just where we are. It will take awhile to move on and to believe in the "cleaning of the peloton" wholeheartedly.

  13. Hmmmm.......I see that only my first paragraph published. Let me see if I can copy the rest here...

    Nope. Dang. Another 1/2 hour wasted. I thought I had copied it all to my clipboard, but its not there. That is infuriating. Shoot - I'd really spent a lot of time on that.

    Twitter version #2:
    Skeptical but hopeful for Belkin - keep racing boys
    Still can't get behind Sky - not sure why? personality? Too much like the Yankees?
    LOVED the stage on Friday. Great aggressive riding - awesome Belkin, Quickstep and Saxo!
    Awesome race for podium
    Seems like Andy, Cadel, and Tejay have really been left behind. Sad
    Hoping Martin and Talansky can keep improving and do something fun in the Alps

    Cathy, I'll be thinking about your son. The tragedy in AZ brings tears to my each time I think about it.

    Susie, my kids think we spend too much time watching bike racing! They were a bit interested when Christian was still riding because I have a great autographed pic of us together that is framed and the kids feel like they "know" him. They do ask questions about the different jerseys, what sprinters and climbers are, etc - but would much rather be at the pool where we've been spending a lot of our time during this heat wave ;)

    On to the Alps!

  14. True, I'm not a paid flack for a pro cycling team but this is my 30th (THIRTIETH) straight year watching the Tour de France on TV. And

    You know you make me wanna (SHOUT!)
    Kick my heels up and (SHOUT!)
    Throw my hands up and (SHOUT!)
    Throw my head back and (SHOUT!)
    Come on now (SHOUT!)"

    About a certain rider or team or the entire damn sport DOPING, I WILL. As for Brailsford, you can NOT be serious! This sport has dug its own grave & it's up to THEM to get back out. Not the fans. In fact, those in the sport should get down on their skinny, knobby knees & THANK the fans that still give a damn.

    As I mentioned here at the start of the TDF, I HAVE stayed away from the sport, both viewing & reading & was unsure if I'd even watch this year. I, for one, am STILL LIVID what the PEOPLE in this sport have done to their sport & the past participants. And the HYPOCRISY is sickening. Everywhere you look there's another oldtimer who was up to his ASS in doping/facilitating doping/financing doping & they have the sheer disgusting audacity to even TRY to dump ALL the blame on Lance Armstrong while pretending THEY are squeaky clean? BULLSHIT.

    BTW, I've been skimming back thru some cycling site articles & saw the ones about Johann LENDING Becca 1 MILLION Euro last year to keep the team going/pay salaries. And the bastard wouldn't pay Johann back so he had to SUE. Let's see, what did I say when Radio Shack merged with Leopard 2 years ago? I said I didn't trust that Becca guy at all & worried it would end even worse than with the Astana mobsters. Ding, ding, ding, we have a WINNUH!!

  15. It's ridiculous to take it all so seriously, like it's life or death or even matters at all. It's sport. It's entertainment. Finding out later that some performance was enhanced doesn't take away from my enjoyment at the moment I viewed it. Floyd's ride on stage 17 in 2006 still rings epic in my mind - it was a hoot to watch it unfold and I'll never forget it.

    Want to take something seriously? Take a look at my son who became a firefighter just over a month ago and has already attended a memorial service (Monday night) for one of the Arizona 19 because he went to high school with him. Try to find ways to comfort someone and explain that life isn't always fair but that it's always interesting and worth living.

    That's something worth worry over. A cheater is a bike race is not.

  16. Hey Matt - you can FF to about 65k to go for today's stage. Some good news is that even though the final ascent up AdH is commercial-free, NBCSN actually showed more than 2 minutes at a time of the 1st 3 hours. I actually stayed home in the AM to watch LIVE. Don't want to give away too much & perhaps my expectations were too high (TOURNADO!) but I was disappointed. There are some great moments & some movement on GC, just not the 'TOURNADO!' I was giddily hoping for. (Anybody else hear about or view SyFy's annual INANE monster-mahem mashup TV movie last week? It was AWESOME if you love to laugh so hard you keep falling off the sofa! Honestly, I worried if I was going to pull a muscle from the laughing! )

    BTW, I read yesterday that Cadel's ITT effort (slower than Cav!) was intended. The team has decided to just go for stage wins so he needed to lose time & save energy. Too bad P2 didn't read the same info.

    And also, FYI to all - Sunday's stage doesn't start on TV til 11:30 or noon (eastern time). The stage finishes at NIGHT on the Champ! I also read that this year they will ride AROUND the Arc de Triomphe on their circuit! Should be awesome.

    Can't stay home tomorriow but will see the 1st 2.5 hrs before I leave the house. I stay hopeful. For chaos if not TOURNADO! :)

    And just because this amuses me no end - I clicked back & forth to CNBC this AM (as I do most mornings) & included among the bottom scrawl was a mention of a coming "onslught". Don't know what was coming as I could stop howling about "ONSLUGHT". On CNBC. It went by at least 2 times. This was almost as good as Nike's recent production of Panther-NC t-shirts that feature a picture of SOUTH Carolina.

  17. Wasn't able to comment last night (after the Alp stage). WOW. FINALLY a chink in the armor of superman! However Porte seems to have taken up the cape and Froome's position from last year. He destroyed himself on the final climb, only to come BACK and lead to the top, having to slow for Froome on several occasions. THAT was interesting. I was sad that Contador fell away so soon, I was really rooting for him to continue to attack and light up the stage the entire way like they did on the VERY FIRST climb..however that wasn't to be. It was great to see Andy Schleck FINALLY out of his funk and up there with the leaders, rekindling memories of the Andy/Alberto war a few years back. Hopefully this is what he needed to realize that he can still climb with the best. Also I was really jazzed that TJ was out front putting in a huge effort to win the day, only to be caught 1k from the top. There was no doubt he had maxed out his efforts and finished completly wiped out. And in the end, Froome added to his lead. Oh well. At least 2nd thru 5th are quite a battle!

    Gotta calls!

  18. OH...and speaking of Andy...15th in the last ITT?? (he was momentarily 3rd at the time of his finish). Yes, there are apparently snowballs in hell... ANDY did a great TT! Is this the NEW Andy Shcleck? Has he really been working on that particular skill this last year or so (while he's rather sucked out on the road)? Is there more to this story than we the trusting fans know? I'm at a loss...I just always figured that would never be his forte.

    Oh..and speaking of a snowballs chance in hell...(specificly the hell part) I see almost the entire country is at or near record-breaking high temps. Well, that would be the entire country EXCEPT for here. We're freezing. In late July. For my Tuesday after work ride this week I wore arm warmers AND my wind vest, and was still cold. I had planned to ride last night (Thurs) but it was SO cold, foggy and windy that I easily talked myself out of it. Well..there was added reasoning: I had a call from my boss right at the end of the day that I needed to work a 12 hr shift today, Saturday and Sunday (it's not my week to cover, so this was quite unexpected). That means I needed to hit the sack early, and wanted plenty of time to watch the BIG Alp d'Huez stage without having to FF thru too much of it. No idea what's happening today...but it's getting short...the party's almost over (boo hoo). Paris on Sunday. Can't belive this race is pretty much history already. But good timing...cuz I'll be on 12's all next week, and the Tour kills me during the long weeks (as I don't get much sleep). later gaters...and happy Friday!

  19. I was very happy for Andy in the TT! However, that was not a 'regular' TT, it featured 2 mts. Still, was great to see he was still in there trying. Tejay rode a great TT too which actually made me surprised to see he went in the early break yesterday.

    I was trying not to give too much away yesterday! Going up Alpe d'Huez not once but TWICE was insane-great but I want to smack about half those indiots along or should say IN the road! And if you're an American cycling fan, it was just gut-wrenching/heart-breaking to see TVG get caught with just 2K (TWO K!) to go!. Ohhhh Noooooooooooo! Riblon did a great ride, but poor Tejay & BMC have had such a terrible Tour that to win the 100th TDF's AdH stage would have been more than AWESOME!

    And I just don't understand all of Saxo's tactics. But, since AC was having a 'bad day' (according to him) , there was only so much they could do. Thank god the storms they were calling for held off til today or the AdH & that CRAZY descent could have been tragic.

    I can't WAIT til tomorrow! A MAJOR MT stage on the final Saturday! Whoo-hoo! Maybe I'll get my much desired TOURNADO! Hopefully, the rain will be GONE & we'll see some WILD attacks, hopefully from the get-go! Remember 2011?! If AC attacked at the flag, would Sky let him go? OR, he sends 1 or 2 of his guys at the flag drop & he attacks on the 1st or 2nd mt. I hope Radio Shack gets into the break as they have a good shot at winning the Team GC. Maybe Klodi & JB again? Or Andy & Maxime?

    The problem for AC is that Movistar will now be attacking HIM instead of Zoom-Zoom as they feel the YJ is not realistic but supplanting AC from the 2nd step is. So, Sky & Movistar are now allies. Hmmmm, what team could benefit by working with AC? If Saxo would sacrifice the team GC, I bet Radio Shack would!

  20. I loved that they did the Alp twice in one day...but yes, the crowds seemed stupieder than usual. I swear if I was a rider I'd want to have a small bat and be able to "whack-a-mole" on more than a few 'noggins' of the worst idiot offenders.

    As to TJ and his 2nd climb, it was looking good but then you started to see the cracks. And Riblon came out of NOWHERE...I hadn't given him a thought since the last time he was dropped. Gotta really take your hat off to him...THAT was an inspired piece of riding...and that was a stage for the ages that will be talked about FOREVER. As TJ was slowing and Riblon was gaining I was WILLING him energy...but you could see the pain he was in. Can't take anything away from him was a wicked-awesome attempt, and 2nd place on that particular stage is something to be REALLY proud of!

    And what did you think of that ascent/descent on the back-side after the Alp peak the first time? I thought immedietly of many of the roads I rode over in England last year up in the Yorkshire Dales area...super-narrow, green, rocky, no trees, no guardrails...the weather forcast was sure gloom and doom...think everybody breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when they all got past that part and back on the 2nd climb w/ no real rain. That downhill would have been quite scary.

    Oh...and as to Froome's comments from the other day (when Alberto was 'taking chances' on the descent and he critisized it) LAME is that! Seriously?? ALL the riders take chances every time they put a foot over the top-tube and cleat-in for a race! Maybe Froome isn't quite the descender Alberto is...I guess it's only natural to label anybody faster as a "maniac" (how I feel about most of the club people I ride with...they DEMOLISH me on the descents, and I feel like they all have a deathwish). I feel like I'm going as fast as is humanly possible, and they will go by me like I've stopped to change a flat! I assume the same levels of descent speed apply to the pro's as well. Anyway, I just thought it poor taste to critisize someone trying to regain time on the leader...nobody said Froome had to follow..THAT was his choice. Just my 2 cents.

  21.'s all over but for the crying. The last mountain stage is over, and shy of a meteor wiping out Team Sky, Froome will be crowned in Paris tonight. I have to say it was a heck of a race for 2nd thru 5th, which wasn't decided until the finish yesterday. Sad to see Contador and Schleck both riding as shadows of their former selves...I kept waiting to see either/both of them surge out of the pack...but it wasn't to be. Nice to see Rodriguez and Quintero up there at the front pushing Froome, and re-arranging the podium by their strong climb. It will be interesting to see how today's (tonights?) stage evening finish in Paris...don't recall that it's ever been done before. Hard to believe it's pretty much over.. but that's good as I need some SLEEP! Have a great day and enjoy the finale!

  22. Yes, the Tour hasn't finished at night before so this is special to celebrate the 100th Tour. And I'll be curious to see how they use the Arc de Triomphe on the route because it is usually the turn-around spot at the top of the boulevard. This time it will be part of the course, but I haven't read if the riders will go right around it in the roundabout or a little beyond it and then turn to come back by it again. At any rate, nighttime in Paris is always spectacular so bringing the Tour home should be fantastic.

    Also for my team, we bring home all nine of our riders, two of them competing in their first Tours. We won a stage, wore yellow for two days, held team GC for one, took second and third on stage 19 and we have the oldest rider in the race who is saying farewell to the Tour after this. Disappointment from and for Andy, for sure, but still 3 riders in top 20, plus next year an American company holds the license. All of this equals satisfying success for RSLT. Vive le Tour! And congratulations to Chris Froome - when the Tour starts in Yorkshire next year and he's wearing the #1 on his back, all of England will raise up a joyous shout.

  23. Cathy, thanks for your perspective. I hope Andy is indeed on the road back. And I have so loved watching Jens and reading his blog. He is an inspiration! Re-sign him!

    I am in your camp on choosing not to be cynical, despite evidence that could make anyone cynical. I have been saying all along that I can't go back and "un-enjoy" watching Lance all those years, or Floyd on his comeback climb. I have really enjoyed watching the Tour this year. I was actually a bit sad that they brought up all the 5-time winners (who were not all lily-white either) when I believe Lance won on a level playing field against people who were also doping. (I am less forgiving of his being an ass.) It's like Pete Rose not being in the Hall of Fame.

    So glad I've been watching via DVR so I can skip all the awful commercials, although I seem to have seen my share. Some were amusing ONCE... the worst ones are the anti-cable ones (for Dish, maybe?) and that damn "complicated, diverse sort of man" - WHAT?

    Can't understand why they don't put more barriers up on the Alpe... fans are crazy. Amazing stage. Can't imagine climbing it twice in one day.

    Loved the pomp and circumstance in Paris this year (although some of the light show on the Arc de Triomphe went on a bit long for me). Love Paris at night. They outdid themselves as the "city of light" this year!

    Vive le Tour!!!

    Now what do I do when I get home from work tomorrow?

    Vive le Inane Asylum!