Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tour Talk

Holy Moley, hang onto your hats, THIS SATURDAY is the start of le TOUR! Can you believe it's here already? I can't...that means that Summer (unoficially) is almost half way over (not that I know much about summer...we get the stinkin marine layer here nearly every day, highs in the 60's or low 70's...ok for riding but gosh, I LIKE warm weather! (and speaking of warm weather, Jeannie and I are headed to Hawaii on the 15th for a week...that will put a serious damper on my tour watching for sure). I'll get to see the beginning week plus, then miss most of the middle, and be home for the last few stages...whew!

ANYWAY...who's gonna do well and who's gonna bust? Susie, I agree w/ you on your assessment of Andy Schleck (and Frank too for that matter)...neither of them has been worth much since, uhm, err....theoretically the peleton got clean. HOWEVER...Impy (wore yellow last year for 2 days) has just been busted for a masking of the new, young, clean generation (supposedly). SO maybe things haven't really changed all that much? It's hard to say...I mean, Froome has been riding like an alien for 2 years (or so) now...his numbers are off the charts into 'unreal' do I believe him (or Wiggens for that matter)?? Can't really say that I do...sure, I have no proof...and what about the REST of the guys? How on earth would we know? It's not like Lance or any of his 'crew' ever tested positive...oh, sure, we have the biological passport now...THAT ensures that nobody is cheating. NOT. Don't believe that for a second...I think they (the dopers) have just continued to refine their skill at riding the fine line of not getting caught...which may be harder than in the past but obviously still not impossible. In Talansky we seem to have an American I can believe in...he hasn't garnered any bad feelings from me, and he's riding w/ Garmin Sharp which bodes well for him I believe. He just came off a huge win, is his form still on the rise? If so then he might be able to be a GC factor...but I'd say he has a lot to prove to win a Grand Tour. How about Nibali? hard to say which guy will show up. In the past he's shown good things...but the TDF is another animal altogether, so we shall see.

With all that said, yep, I'll still be watching and rooting for....gasp....Contador for the overall win, and like Susie, hoping Talansky can show us something to believe in. Never in my wildest dreams would I think that AC would be my guy...the ol' Pistolero himself. Yep...that's what it's come down to...that he's my GC man of choice (other than Horner, but he'll be lucky to stay upright and healthy I'm afraid...don't believe he's anywhere NEAR 100%, but I sure can dream that he will be). And also like Susie, I'm NOT a fan of TJ...he's rubbed me the wrong way for quite some time now...never really been a fan....he's got some work to do to convert me. The Schlecks? No way...I just don't see either of them putting up much of a fight, though it's a real shame as this year is MUCH closer to what they would need to have any chance. One more thing I truly hope for this Tour is some NEW talent to rise to the top, much like Quintana did last year. That he's NOT here to defend (and better?) his 2nd place last year is a crime. This tour with only 1 TT would be custom made for him to de-throne Froome and Team Sky. What a shame. But he came out of the woodwork last year as a breath of fresh air. And hey...remember way back when AC did the same? So that's what I'm hoping for...another breath of fresh air.

It's pretty awesome that Jens is riding, and will be even with George's record for number of tours ridden! NICE!! Can't happen to a finer guy! I hope he can come back NEXT year and take that record and make it his own.

What else....oh, the start in the UK! If ONLY I could have arranged a work trip...we typically fly into Leeds (where Stage 1 is!) and catch a cab to Harrogate (where we rent our flats, and is the finish for Stage 1), which is only about 50 miles away! I'd have been RIGHT THERE, at a REAL TOUR STAGE, WALKING from my flat to the finish! But wasn't to be ( not that I didn't try). And yes, those roads are really something...every time I go over the first week plus I'm terrified when driving. Even 2 or so weeks later when your brain has made the 'flip' of which side you're supposed to be on, you still need to be on your A game pretty much every the roads are typically narrow, twisty, pretty high speeds, near zero shoulder (typically a rock wall or a hedgerow is just past the line)...and there's lots of sudden things happening in the road that you must QUICKLY adapt to (things like a big honkin' tree growing in the road, and a 2 lane (already narrow) road goes down to 1 for a brief  moment as it goes around the REALLY need to watch the signs and read the road paint...lots of obstacles where the 1st car there gets it, everybody else needs to yield...things like that are EVERYWHERE off of the motorways! Here in the states I drive with a coffee or soda in my cupholder all the time, don't even THINK about it's just no big deal. Not coffee sits in it's little slot getting cold as I have all my focus and attention on driving, no time to even glance down to find your drink...and both hands are pretty busy keeping from getting killed. But it IS very exciting I have to admit, especially in the dark that first week!

But I digress....we all know the start will be tense and hectic as always, as everybody who even THINKS they MIGHT have a shot at a podium slot will be trying to be at or near the front (along w/ their entire team)...and as always, there's only so much room up there. It should be quite interesting, that's for sure! zI don't have to be the Amazing Karnac to predict lots of crashes and carnage.

As to the sprints, I'm hoping for all out tribal warfare! There's a LOT of hungry talent with Cav, Sagan, Kittel, Griepel off the top of my head....and I'm sure I'm leaving out guys who WILL win stages. That bodes well for us fans, and maybe not so well for the carnage in the finishing kilometers of the flatter stages as all these teams will be fighting to control the finish and get their guy to the win. That Cav is now with Renshaw again bodes well for him....I think we'll see some greatness for sure from that combo. 

OK....well...TOMORROW is the Fourth of July! HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!! Woo-HOO! I hope to go for a bike ride all 3 days of this long holiday weekend (SWEET!). We're grilling burgers (turkey) tomorrow and having baked beans, corn on the cobb and red-potato salad...pretty much an all American 4th of July meal if you ask me! (and maybe we'll have A&W Root Beer floats for dessert...ok, not MAYBE, for SURE!)

Have a GREAT weekend, and lets get busy talking TOUR!!

Game ON!


  1. PART 1:
    Wow, just WOW. Stage 1 is finally in the history books, and what a stage it was. First off, were ANY of you aware CVV was now a commentator with Bobke? THAT was a breath of fresh air for sure! He's maybe a bit nervous, but I think he looks GREAT, and did GREAT! What a joy!! As to the stage, it was like going back to England for me. I've either driven or ridden almost all the roads they traveled today. The Yorkshire Dales were my primary stomping grounds 2 years ago when I had my bike out there with me. Loved reliving many of my rides as I watched the peleton on the same roads. The real difference was that I was typically alone, seeing VERY few cars and even fewer people on my rides in the Dales. Today was just off the charts awesome and insane, all those people! You got a good look at some of the narrow roads that I loved so much. And the climbs....short but STEEP typically! And did you see enough stone walls? They are EVERYWHERE! I loved the yellow sheep too, that was classy! And GREEN! That was another thing that is wonderfully strange to me (as compared to drought stricken CA). Rivers everywhere, stone bridges, stone buildings, stone walls...stones stones stones! I loved watching the peleton fight up the final cat 3 climb...I did that one heading from Reeth many times (each time I rode down into Reeth at the beginning of a ride I groaned inside realizing I had to climb that to get back to my car). On the way down after the climb there was a spot where there was a red flag flying...that is because the road goes thru a military firing range (think tanks and such, not guns). They can close that road whenever there are military things going on...I parked many times just before a super narrow bridge at the bottom of that descent (they showed's one lane only). Thankfully for the peleton they left out a few wicked climbs (one of the final big ones I did was a 25% THAT is steep!) I think it came out pretty nicely that there is very little 'flat' ground....nor very little straight least out away from the cities and villages. I was sad they totally skipped the village of Masham (20 miles from the finish). They showed it briefly from the helo (Phil said something about he 'thought' they were somewhere between Masham and some other place, when in reality they were passing thru Masham...I easily recognized the large steeple at the far end of town. Masham I frequented many times over both my's the home of BOTH my favorite beers in the world: Theakstons Old Peculiar and Black Sheep Riggwelter (the breweries are across the street from each other, and both are owned by the Theakston family. They were split over brewing issues a generation or so ago and Paul Theakston bought the brewery across the street and named it Black Sheep (referring to himself). Love going to them both! Though I didn't ride the final miles as there is scary traffic once you leave the Dales...the peleton is graced with closed roads. And riding into Harrogate...gosh...the aerial shots showed over and over the crowd on the hill..(there is a large stone memorial, looks a bit like a mini Washington Monument...that's a WWII memorial, and it's MAYBE a 5 minute walk from my flat).

  2. Part 2:
    There were SO MANY people at all times...just amazing! No idea how they all got out there, where all the cars were (I did see a great number of bikes, but not nearly enough for THAT crowd).

    And tomorrow Stage 2 starts in the City of York...I spent a GREAT deal of time there being a tourist...SO much to see (and do, and eat, and drink)....I'm sure we will see some of the ancient city wall (most of it is still standing), and also the Minster say it's awesome is to degrade the's SO FREAKING HUGE and BEAUTIFUL that you can't believe it! Walking around it in person looking up in wonder at just how hard that was to build.....ahhhh...loved my time over there and hope to go back!

    OK..enough on that...great googly moogly, was I sad for Cav...I really thought he was going to do it...his team seemed to have him set up perfectly...but then Spartacus attacked, throwing the entire front into guess is that he's out with a broken collar bone (which would be horrible for Omega Pharma). If so, then Kittel and Sagan will have free reign over the sprints I'm afraid...watching the finish live I was afraid when Cav was doing the head-thing (again...he was relegated a few years back for just that same thing)...this time it ended up with him going down HARD right on his shoulder. How so FEW racers crashed into them was just a miracle considering the speed and timing of the crash.

    And so...Kittel again claims Stage 1, Jens is the KOM (Woo-HOOO! Way to GO JENS!!!!!)....and tomorrow will be a BRUTAL stage of the short but STEEP climbs...7 of them I think. I'm only familiar with the roads out to (and slightly past) Blubberhouse hill...drove past that many times when heading east to ride or go sightseeing. They'll be riding almost right by the base I worked at...(not sure if they'll show it or'll recognize it if you see a bunch of huge white 'golf balls' early in the stage...prob about 30 to 40 miles or so from York...depending on the route).

    OK..signing off for today...Viva le Tour!!!

  3. OMG! The PEOPLE! Massive, just massive! Yesterday's stage was like Alpe d'Huez had been cut up into 9 sections, lifted up by some alien entity & flung across Yorkshire! Crazy fans & tons of 'em! EVERYWHERE! And I thought England wouldn't be able to top 2007's start! The only problem is they are getting INTO THE ROAD! It's a miracle some huge fan-induced crash has not happened.

    Even the weather cooperated the 1st 2 days. Unfortunately, I just glanced at the Live blog & it was raining in London for today's finale. Don't know when that started or how hard it was. I watched on TV from 7am-8:50 when I finally couldn't put off leaving for work any longer. And a REAL bummer is that I realized on Thursday afternoon when I thought I'd try to see some of the Team presentation, that my company has now BLOCKED all the sites on cyclingfans so I can now no longer even listen to the Eurosport guys for the last 20-40K of each stage as I had the last 8 or so years. VERY upset about that.

    Of course, even more upsetting was Cav's crash! As soon as you saw him holding his shoulder, you just knew he was probably out of the Tour. I thought it was the telltale collarbone break
    signal - arm across chest/hand on shoulder, but it was just announced as a "shoulder injury". SO bummed about that! Was really looking forward to Cav going at it with Kittel & this time with a train, going back to his winning ways. I was depressed all Saturday aft & evening & even yesterday. Unless he crashes, Kittel will probably dominate ALL the sprint stages now like Cav did back in his HTC/Blue Train glory days. Sniff, sniff. It's not that I have anything against Kittel, I just wanted Cav's peak to last a few more years so he could get that TDF stage record. Damn! Still can't believe it.

  4. Stage 2 was pretty awesome! They were showing aerial views of the Minster Cathedral in York as the riders were rolling thru town and Todd, Bobke and CVV were chatting...thankfully when it went over to Phil and Paul they went back and talked about the just can't fathom how HUGE and amazing it is until you walk up to it and look UP! Then about 30 minutes later the peleton rode right by Menwith Hill (the base I worked at)....never seen an aerial view of the place...lots of huge "golf balls" in the green countryside. Then not too much later was the 1st climb of the day: up the Cote de Blubberhouse...drove it many times, but I'd never (NEVER) ride could see how narrow the lanes were, w/ the guard rail immedietly after the line on the right lane (which is actually the downhill lane. And it wasn't readily apparent from the video where the guard rail has been repaired from crashes MANY times)...and keep in mind the speed on that "single carriageway" is 65mph!
    Anyway....what an exciting day...all those climbs! Kind of surprised that Sagan didn't win that...sneaky Nibali...(even when Nibbles went I thought for sure Sagan would jump with him..but he was waiting for the others to drag him up, which they clearly weren't going to do). Good move on Nibbles part...very astute reading of the front group.

    Also if you watched the live coverage (not sure if the other broadcasts showed it) after the race they had Jensie in the booth still wearing his polka dot jersey...he is SO awesome! Loved his line "hey, this isn't just another pretty face"...he cracked everybody up! He's such a character...I truly hope he can go ONE MORE YEAR (ie: NEXT year). And hey....Horner was up in that lead group at the end...that's pretty sweet! Seeing him right up there w/ Froome/Contador/Talansky/TJ...that really bodes well for how good he's feeling...hope that means he's gonna show the world what a 42 yr old can do in the TDF! Go CHRIS!!! (and Andrew!)

    1. Oh...and about Cav....I figure he seperated his shoulder...did that once myself (in Karate class a decade or more back...2 of us went to the floor, I landed on my shoulder much like Cav did, w/ the other guy on top of popped out and it was so painful I saw colors and could barely breath...absolutly no possible way I'd continue in a bike race...IF that's what happened then the fact that they got him on his bike to ride across the line was a testament to how tough he is...I can't imagine having done that...I just sat on the floor for a while telling everybody to get away from me, don't touch me. It was the most painful thing I've ever done to myself.

      And now that he's out, I'm afraid it will be open season for Kittel...can't take anything away from him though, he's the real deal...but the world was pretty excited for their big TDF showdown and now that is gone. A true loss for the cycling world not to get that this year. Sure others will sneak a sprint here and there, but he will come away with a LOT of wins this year w/ no Cav to split them up. Rats. I thought it was also cool he apologized to the Aussie (Gerrans I think?) admitting it was his fault...I kind of thought it was obvious and the crew (Todd, Bobke and even CVV) were all tap-dancing around it w/ out saying it. Cav knew...and Gerrans was a TOTAL class act about it....wasn't crying and bemoaning about the lost opportunity (keep in mind that he also was positioned for a shot at the win and a HUGE day in the Mellow Johnny). I hope he wins a few for Orica this year.

  5. Damn! Just as I was about to post again, I hit something by accident & it went POOF!

    Anyway, I was happy for Jensie on Saturday! The very 1st day/very 1st break & there's old Jensie! Of course, part of me worried if that was smart as even Jens 'SHUT UP LEGS' Voight can't hold off Father Time forever & I worried that his efforts would be too exhaustive to get thru the REST of the Tour. Still, it looks like the efforts of Jens & Spartacus & maybe Haimar in a GC top 10 will be the only way for Team Trek to get any good results in this race. Frank finished in the 2nd group back yesterday (16 seconds) & Andy was more than 1 MINUTE behind. Argh. I guess Andy is trying to impress that he is NOT a GC threat so the peloton will let him go in at least 1 big mt stage break? This just MYSTIFIES me! He's ANDY SCHLECK! It's been two YEARS since that injury, Frankie is back with him, he's at the PEAK age for a stage racer & he's just a shell of his former self! WHY?! This has to be psychological or emotional, don't you think? We know he has the physical ability! He needs a new trainer/coach. Or SOMEthing. I've read an interview & he SAYS he wants to ride & get back to the way he was, but why hasn't it happened? It would be a damn shame if his career just peters out like this. Breaks my heart!

    Anyway, Talanksy & Tejay rode great yesterday & happy for Nibbles, what a PERFECTLY timed move! Horner seems to be doing ok. I think he's just there to be Costa's main mt helper, but I'm just thrilled he's healthy, IN the Tour, & we can see him ride.

    And Matt, I think Movistar wanted to give Valverde one last shot at the Tour. Plus, they probably thought it would be good to let Quintana be the GC head of a less world-wide media intense Grand Tour like the Giro to get his feet wet & actually win it, which he did. So, he got experience AND has a GT win under his belt. Plus, one need only look back at 2009 Astana, 2011 Sky & 2012 BMC to see how a 2-headed GC team is NOT conducive to a stress-free July for Tour directors.

    Speaking of Sky - I'm hardly a Wiggo fan, but DAMN, is he ever being screwed by "his" team! There's the 2011 Tour de France champion, THE guy that made that team a "force" in the peloton, and a BRIT no less, & he's not on the TDF Start line in his HOME country! He should have left the team after last year. It's not like he hadn't forced his way off a team before! Of course, some would say 'KARMA' baby!

    And, no, I did NOT know CVV would be part of the NBC show! He was on the ToC coverage, but I hadn't read anything, so was surprised. The 1st day, he was VERY nervous, but he actually got better as the coverage went on & was even better yesterday. He does have this weird choppy way of speaking sometimes & he needs to work on correcting that, but I'm happy to see him & think he's adding great insight. In fact, I've been wondering how ALL the previous generation cycling guys are supporting themselves these days. George wrote a book & is in the hotel business I think, but I have no idea what Levi or DZ are doing. Didn't know what CVV was doing either till he showed up on the ToC show. I'm still LIVID at how they & everyone else in cycling tried to dump ALL the doping blame onto Lance & Johan (yeah, who knew Lance "knew" Impey......), but I still love all those guys. (EXCEPT Floyd 'PIECE OF SHIT' Landis!). Unlike America's Big 3 sports where those athletes often make enough money in their careers to last a lifetime (IF they don't waste it all!), I doubt one can support themselves & their families for 40-60 years on what they made as a cyclist unless maybe they were one of the HANDful of top guys (AC, Spartacus,etc).

  6. And Matt - I saw the place with the big "golf ball" thingies! You must be tripping to see the Tour over your old stomping ground! Love reading what you have to say about the areas! Keep it coming, please. :)

    And Gerrans WAS really classy about the way he handled the crash. Unfortunately, the TV coverage didn't show much of them BEFORE Cav leaned his head into Gerrans. What caused Cav to do that? I won't be able to read til tonight any of the stuff I printed out this morning. If Cav had not been injured & had stayed in the race, I imagine cycling fans would be arguing still today over how the race orgs handled it - relegation or not, etc. Unless one could see footage of Cav for the 100 meters until he did the head lean, I don't think any punishment could have been determined. Did Gerrans come over onto Cav's line? Maybe Gerrans was pushed that way by the guy along the barrier? Well, since Cav is out, the question is moot. Damn, I STILL can't believe he won't be there for the rest of the Tour!

    Hey Janann - have you gotten either of your kids into the Tour yet? Bribery has gotten a bad rap is all I'm saying. :) :) And did your friend get to England? How long will she be following the Tour? Hope she has a fantastic time! Every time I watch, I always want to both BE there AND watch on TV! I would imagine in person, you drive, drive, drive, get lost, get stuck in traffic, swear words you didn't even think you knew, can't get close to the action unless in place DAYS in advance, & even if you do, you see...a blur. Maybe multiple blurs. Still, one of these days, would love to go on one of those official Tour trips - let them drive me/bus group around & take care of everything. You get MUCH closer than the roadside fans (into the pre-race area like the journos). And the thing that really clinched it - a few years ago I read the itinerary of 1 of those trips & for an extra $500, you could ride in a team car behind a rider in the final TT! Sure, sure, I have to do a little thing call winning the lottery 1st, but soon as I do, I'll waive from the car, my peeps! I'll even wear a bright yellow t-shirt emblazoned with 'INANE ASYLUM' across the front & 'DAY PASS' on the back! :) :)

  7. To me the biggest surprise thus far was the crowds! Up in Yorkshire on the tiny roads in the middle of nowhere, where on earth did all the cars get put? There were tens of thousands of people....some of those little hillsides looked like Woodstock! I can only imagine MANY of them parked a LONG ways away and walked or rode bikes. Seriously, after riding those roads I just can't fathom how that many people got out there (and how long they were there before the stage came thru).

    So CVV was commentating at the ToC...ahhh...didn't know that (didnt' get to see ANY of the coverage as I was on travel). Yes, watching it on TV is honestly much better....but being there has it's own rewards...mostly I think it's just a huge party (especially the middle of nowhere people w/ no giant TV screen to keep them updated).

    As to the Cav crash, my 2 cents is that as things heated up and the final sprint was spooling up, Cav's window out from behind all the leadout men had mostly closed and he was pushing/fighting to open a lane that wasn't there to get out. Kittel was out in front of that by then and had a clear lane, as did Sagan. Cav and Gerrans were over to the left side, and there was another guy (in the dark green jersey, ended up taking 3 or 4th I recall, can't remember his name just now) and then the barricade...Cav was trying to push them both over so he could get out. But if you don't have an opening you're just stuck until one don't get to just 'make one'. It was simply unlucky positioning on his part...that stuff happens real fast and you react to the moment...using what you have and what you 'think' you'll have a few more seconds...I'd imagine much like race car drivers, only if you screw up you get to "jump out of a car wearing only your underwear at 40mph" (either Bobke or CVV said that about cycling crashes).

  8. I know how those MASSIVE CROWDS mysteriously appeared on all the hillsides! It's the Yorkshire version of BRIGADOON! Once the fog/mist rolled in last night, they all disappeared whence they came. And unlike the Scottish version, they won't have to wait a century for another emergence. Just 7 years for the ASO to bring the TDF back to England! :)

    Tour mania is.... Almost Like Being In Love! :)

  9. Andy was involved in a crash yesterday & was not able to start today! Unfrickinbelievable. After such an AWESOME start, this Tour is quickly spiraling downward for me. 1st, Cav & now, poor Andy. And before I left the house this morning, I heard Phil say the weatherguys are predicting RAIN for the next week! I HATE rain at the Tour! It makes things even more dangerous & scary for the riders & for the viewers - well, we can barely see the raindrop-splashed footage. Sigh. After last year's very unsatisfying Tour, I was really hoping for a great one this year. The only stage I really loved last year was the one with the cross winds & Contador, Cav & about 10 other guys took off & put some time into Froome & everyone else. THAT was fantastic! Unfortunately, the mt stages were not. Especially the last two. I had hoped AC & other GCers would really attack Froome on those stages & nobody did nuthin! If I remember correctly, I think part of the blame was the weather, but it was still frustrating. I got so depressed, I didn't even come here to chat those final days. Sigh. Well, it's only Day 4, we (ok, I) need to BELIEVE this will be an awesome Tour! If the soccerheads can do it, so can we! :)

    Also, I reread what I wrote last night & I saw a mistake with two of the year references above when talking about the difficulties of a two-headed GC team - it was 2012 Sky & 2013 BMC! Was right with 2009 Astana though! Not sure if we can EVER forget that year! :)

    Hope Rae & Barbara are watching & will come here to chat soon. I miss all the chatter! Hey, Matt - when you are in Hawaii, will you still be able to watch & write here? Would MISS you terribly here if you can't. What time would the TDF be on TV over/down there? I've never been to Hawaii so don't know the time difference.

    Later gators!

    1. I saw Andy's crash yesterday, and I noticed that for a moment he sat there like he was really hurt...then got up and took off. Didn't get to see any of today's stage yet, so wasn't aware he didn't start...that is just un-freaking-believable!

      As to whether this willl be a great tour or not, I think looking at the GC list after yesterday (yes, there's only been 3 stages I realize) and seeing Nibbles, Contador, Froome, TJ & Talansky all sitting there in the top few spots as a really good omen. Things will really start to heat up soon though I'd imagine...but realisticly none of the top contenders will want to take the yellow this long as they all remain very close then it's a wide open race. We'll see how long the top 5 GC guys can stay w/in a few seconds of each other. The longer they do that the more exciting it will be.

    2. I'd think Nibbles and Astana would LOVE to rid themselves of the Yellow jersey at this point...hoping/praying for a good breakaway w/ nobody important that they can let slip away and not quite catch...let some of the non-GC teams hold it and the responsibility for a week or more. It won't happen today, nor on any day the sprinters think they have a shot...I haven't looked ahead at the route....when do they get to the alps?

  10. Hey Matt - tomorrow should be CHAOS as they venture forth onto the cobbles like back in 2010. However, I think there aren't as many as last time. I would imagine that Nibbles will probably lose the Yellow Jersey tomorrow. I think Spartacus is too far back to take it if he wins the stage but I'm still hoping for him to win the day. It's always awesome to see Fab being FAB on the cobbles.

    Another question - did Greipel have a crash or something earlier this year? So far he has looked nothing like he did the past 2 years at the Tour. Too bad as the sprints need competition with Kittel. Thanks to NBC basically giving up on cycling except for the Tour, I've barely seen any cycling this year & only being able to casually read the cycling sites has meant I know very little this year compared to the past about riders, race results, etc. I'm still not even sure about each team's jerseys! Except there is TOO much BLACK! Too many teams look alike! Not really a fan of Saxo's DAY-GLO outfits but heck they sure do stand out! Really easy to spot them from the heli & from the moto-cameras.

    BTW, except for Jensie's Wild Day Out on the Bike, Spartacus' mad dash at the end of that stage & Andy's crash yesterday, I haven't seen ANY of the Trek guys in the peloton. I KNOW they're in there but the cameras never seem to show them.

    SPOILER ALERT! Something happened at the Tour today before I even left for work & it didn't look THAT bad but it will make Stage 5 even harder for Sky. I don't like that team or Froome, but man, I feel a bit sorry for him. At least for tomorrow. Can't imagine riding on cobbles when I'm feeling AWESOME let alone banged up, especially in the wrist. All that jarring up through the hand, wrist, & arm will be a nightmare, I think.

    BTW, Matt - what are those golf ball thingies for? Are they buildings that people actually work in, for storage, or something else? I've seen sphere buildings in this country, just not quite like that.

    Still thinking back on the 1st 2 days - except for Cav's demise & some stupid selfie-taking nitwits, it really was just AWESOME! My previous fave Grand Departe had been England in 2007 & this actually topped it. Imagine if you were a rider & this was your FIRST Tour! If must have blown their minds! Heck, it must have blown ALL the riders' minds! Alpe d'Huez flung across Yorkshire!

    Also, I think they are in the Alps Sat-Mon. I plan to take vacation time Mon & come in to work after the stage. Will "take more time" in the Pyrenees, where I hope Contador & Talansky do the same (but different). :)

  11. Hi everyone, it's Barbara! I have been so full of work that I have been watching with my laptop on my lap, doing work. UGH. Susie, as usual you have said a lot of what I want to say.
    - Loving the crowds in England - except the evil selfie-ers in the middle of the road - and the routes were amazing!
    - SO disappointed in Cav's crash and Andy's - would have loved to see something from both of them. Andy and Contador in the mountains are pure poetry - Froome can climb, but he doesn't look pretty doing it.
    - I want Jensie to live forever! What a fun interview on Monday Sunday night! He looked so cute in polka dots. Good interview with the Bicycling mag guys before the start too.
    - CVV is doing a great job (talk about a pretty face!) - good insight and stories. Saw him on the ToC and thought he was really nervous, stumbling over his words, but seemed to have potential. He's always been a good interview (but not as much fun as Horner). Nice to have him. I have always liked Bobke - he can explain things SO well. CVV brings a different vibe but fits in well, I think.
    - They have finally dispensed with the "who's going to win" passing of the "yellow jersey" among the broadcast team. Yawn.
    - Notice how they are showing the whole damn neutral start? (This on the live show in the morning, which I DVR.) I have always liked watching the roll-out, but then let's cut to the flag and get going!
    - If anyone has NOT read Jill Homer's books, DO SO! She is a gifted writer and she is an adventurer going out and doing things that she doesn't really have native talent for, but she has spunk enough to make up for it. The only thing missing from her books is the incredible photos she pastes all over her blog.
    - My TV just blinked off - thunderstorm. We need the rain, although not as much as you do, Matt. Great cycling spring/summer here (Philly) - we have had NINE beautiful low-humidity weekends in a row. Rain after 9pm is fine with me.
    - Back to work. Nice to be inane for a bit!