Thursday, June 30, 2016

It's THAT time again!

What time is that you ask?


And not long after that it's SUMMER OLYMPICS time! It's gonna be one BUSY SUMMER of TV!

So...let's start with TOUR TALK. WHO is going to step up and take this years race? Will it be one of the favorites? I'd have to say that Froome is the top choice thus far, with Contador and Quintana being the other podium contenders. But there are a LOT of up and comers, and being the Tour, anything can and will happen. This year there's no prologue or opening TT to separate and calm the field, so the first week will once again be complete and utter mayhem as anybody who even THINKS they have a chance and their team will be fighting for position near the front...and we've all seen over and over the outcome of that.

I believe the first mountain stage is 7, so the first 6 will likely just be crazy, as nobody wins the tour in the first week, but you can sure lose it. One thing is for sure: it will be a wild and crazy ride so hang onto your hats!

And then the Olympics...I saw on the news last night that Michael Phelps AGAIN qualified...his 5th straight Olympics, which is a record (along with him ALREADY being the most medaled Olympian in US History). Good for maintain THAT level of fitness at this point in his life? Pretty incredible for sure. It was sad for Ryan Locte (sp?)...who was Phelps nemesis in a few races...he apparently pulled a groin muscle not long before the qualifying events and hasn't qualified in any of his races (I believe...I could be wrong as I'm not completely up on current events). I did catch some of the mens Gymnastics qualifying  last week, which was pretty incredible...those guys are just physical GODS! The stuff they do these days...just WOW!

I haven't upped my satellite package yet to get NBCSports...Jeannie said she'd do it for me tomorrow (we have to add the complete Sports package to get the one channel...and we'll be sure to cancel it at the 30 day point so we don't pay for it after the one month minimum requirement.

OK...I need to get rolling here (I'm at work in early today). Please feel free to rant and rave, and certainly express your thoughts on the Tour AND the always I love to hear your perspectives.

Game ON!



  1. Didn't ride tonight as planned (COLD, FOGGY and WINDY out at the base where I WAS going to ride) I came home and accidentally caught the Mens Olympic 200m breaststroke was won by a local kid! Josh Pernot...he's a Santa Maria Swim Club Alumni, and apparently he went to Cal Berkely after he left here...and he's GOING TO THE OLYMPICS! He JUST missed a world record too in this race! WOW!

    1. oops...spelled his name's Josh Prenot, not Pernot...sorry Josh! Go for the gold BABY!!!!

  2. One more day! I'm leaving work a bit early to go over to B&N & pick up the Velonews TDF Guide (late this year!) & then I'll be ready! I FINALLY was able to see the TV schedule for the 1st week & once again, for certain days there will NOT be a Prime-time broadcast (next Thurs-Sat for instance!) which means I won't be able to see anything except for the 1st 30-60 minutes before I leave the house in the morning for T&F. Damn NASCAR! And DAMN NBC!

    Anhyoo, SO happy that Fabian will be there after all. In the GC, I'll be rooting for Tejay, Porte & Contador. I don't hate Froome, I just am VERY skeptical of Team Sky (& all that money they spend...). I probably won't be able to take any vacation hours during the Tour as I plan to take some during the Olympics.

    I'm also hoping Cav wins at least 2 stages. Too bad Farrar didn't make the Tour team though.

    I've been watching the Swimming Trials all week. I think Prenot was a bit of an upset for the win, but I'm happy for him! You probably don't know Matt, but except for Michael & Katie (ahem, both fellow MARYLANDERS! :) :) ), there has been a HUGE 'changing of the guard' at this Trials. Many of London's gold medalists have either not made the team or just barely. I'm not shocked as they have been having issues for the past couple years - injuries or just age. I was HOPING Missy Franklin had gotten things corrected this past year after she'd taken a leave from college to concentrate on training but maybe her back injury from 2 years ago irrevocably changed something in her body. There's always upsets in these Trials where favorites are beaten but this year has seen an avalanche. Possibly a good thing as except for Legendary Ledecky, the USA did poorly at last year's World Championships. (Michael was barred from competing).

    And Matt, can you keep NBC-SN till Aug 21st?! A lot of the Olympic coverage will be on that channel too & I'd hate for you to miss it.

    My fingers are crossed for Rio. SO many things are a MESS down there right now & I'm just hoping all will be ok. I BLAME the freakin IOC! Those corrupt SOBS picked that city over Chicago & whatever happens (except Zika - can't pin that on them) is their fault!

    Have fun watching the Tour this weekend & have a great & SAFE 4th!

  3. Wow...the first 2 stages...just WOW! Two time-honored veterans with many race-wins on their resumes, neither had EVER worn yellow...two stages, two new Mellow-Johnny wearers! How cool is THAT!

    Stage 1...Cav comes thru, the Manx Missile is BACK! I didn't think we'd ever see that particular missile again...Kittle pretty much seemed to have taken over in that department. But yesterday, man to man, Cav took the CLEAR-WHEELS win over both him and Sagan! That was really something! If that wasn't a fluke and Kittle was having a bad day, then I'd say Cav will win a few more this Tour...but time will tell. He was as motivated as he's ever been, with the Yellow Jersey as a bonus prize for the winner.

    And then today on Stage 2...that was a nail-biter. I'd have thought Fabian would have been up near the front in case the catch of the lone breakaway rider happened so he could contest for the win...but he wasn't anywhere in sight. Though I can't be unhappy for Sagan...that was a HUGE win for him, also netting him the Yellow...and it also erases a WHOLE STRING of ALMOST-WON's in recent years. And doing it while wearing the rainbow stripes is just icing on the cake...doing that particular highly-coveted jersey proud for sure!

    And then the GC battle for survival...Contador and Ritchie were the losers today. VERY sad to see Alberto lose that much time...barring disaster for Froome and Quintana, he's sadly out of the hunt for the top podium spot. But he can fight for third...he's been counted out before and then been THE race-animator in the big mountains, forcing the other GC guys to match him. I still have no love at all for Froome, and also sadly just CAN NOT put my wagons behind TJ...he still rubs me the wrong way as he always has.

    So once again, I'm going all out for Quintana to finally knock off a very talented and quite strong Froome. But I do want to see a battle in the I'm hoping all the GC guys remain healthy (and that Alberto heals fast and has no further 'bad luck' and can get himself back in the race near the end).

    Ahhh...July...a magical time for sure!

    Happy 4th of July everybody!

    Viva le Tour!

  4. Stage 3, CAV AGAIN, WOW!!! This one a photo-finish w/ Griepel...but still, GO CAV!! I guess his strength/speed training he's been doing recently are paying off HUGE! Head to head w/ the best of them...and he still took it! (and Kittel was NO WHERE IN SIGHT!) And Sagan...can't take anything away from that man...missed third by about the same distance Cav nipped a 4th today and more points towards the green in Paris for Sagan, I'd think he would be quite happy with that. Boy what a HO HUM stage for the first 150k...wasn't until Voeckler got tired of the anemic pace and took a flyer over a 6 minute gap did the peleton start to ramp it up a bit. Good stage for a nice LOOOOONNNNNGGGGG warm-up today to help him towards being ready for the mountains.

    Sadly it's back to work tomorrow, so stage-watching gets quite hard during the week (I have to FF thru a lot of it, no possible way to watch 5 hours of Tour on weeknights). Viva le Tour!

  5. SO HAPPY FOR CAV! Whatever he did in training for the Olympics track, he should keep doing as it has brought back his closing speed! Of course, with sprints, SO many things have to go right for you & your team in the final 1-3K, but in Cavs 2 straight-up wins, ESCPECIALLY that opening flat one, he really proved he is not yet past his prime!

    And on the flip side, OMG - poor Contador & Porte! Do you know how AC lost so much time on Stage 2? I'd thought he was with the bunch until I saw him cross the finish 45 seconds back. I printed some articles today & hopefully, I'll find out something there.

    The 1st week of the Tour is ALWAYS a crap shoot! Which makes Lance's 7 straight wins even MORE remarkable!

    And speaking of "doping", I know you're a Dubs fan, Matt (sort of), but Kevin Durant joining that team is the SAME AS DOPING in my opinion! He & the Warriors are CHEATING their way to a championship. I find it DISGUSTING.

  6. Wow, what a finish to stage-4...millimeters! I was actually rooting for the little French sprinter Coquard...he came out of NOWHERE and caught right up to the full-gas was SO close! Nothing against Kittel, he sure needed a win...I'm betting his team and management weren't too happy with him losing out the first 3 stages. Today's stage 5 should be interesting...who will go into the break is the question.

  7. I was happy for Kittel because the pressure for him to win ASAP was immense. For all those top sprinter guys - especially if they had won at the TDF in the last few years, like Kittel, Greipel, & Cav. Not a fan of Coquard after reading today that he said HE should now be "counted among the greats". Is he KIDDING?! What an ass! He has not yet even won ONE stage at the Tour & he considers himself a GREAT? My god, not even Cav said that during his 1st couple obnoxious years!

    I believe there was some good action today. Can't wait to see it tonight.

    BTW, I laughed every time the riders & TV guys kept saying how that sloooow stage on Monday was such an aberration. NOT true! At least until about 5-6 years ago, there was always at least one slow stage for whatever reason - riders just tired of fighting or just tired. Yes, the last 5 years had been different & we heard/read about it constantly, that the TDF was just fight,fight,fight every day for position & go "full gas". I read Jensie's Tour blog on Bicycling his last 3 years & he mentioned it almost every day. I kinda like ONE slow day in the 1st week so I don't have to worry so much that my faves will crash out any second! Gosh, remember last year? Spartacus gone after Stage 3?

    And poor Contador. STILL can't believe he crashed on the 1ST day! Which do you think is worse for him - that he caused it himself or if it had been someone else' fault? Either way, with losing time (SPOILER ALERT - a little more today), his hopes are dwindling by the hour. Man, I thought his bad luck Tour was 2 (or was it 3 when he broke the scapula or something & had to abandon not quite halfway?) years ago. I really hoped THIS year we'd see AC & Froome fighting it out till the end. Sigh.

    I'm thinking Cav might not stay till the end since he REALLY wants to win a Gold at the Olympics & this may be his year for that. I'm thinking he drops out after Stage 11, one of the few true sprint stages left. I would LOVE to see Cav win on the Champs again but his team should be ecstatic either way. Also, I laugh every time I think of Quick Step's LeFevre steaming that Cav beat his guy twice when he wasn't able to dominate like that when riding for him. Too bad he doesn't realize that MAYBE Cav felt too much pressure on QS & having to listen to LeFevre constantly criticize him was NOT the right motivational tactic.

  8. Hey, did you hear Tinkoff may not sell the team after all? Crap, I WANT him to go! I couldn't believe that Bobke actually said he thought that jerk was good for cycling! Either way, I'd imagine both Contador & Sagan want to ESCAPE from him ASAP.

  9. Wow....stage SIX already! After tomorrows stage 7, we will be 1/3 thru the Tour!! (starting to panic already!!!) What a FANTASTIC breakaway yesterday...those 3 guys that broke off the break were AMAZING! And Van Avermaet really drilled it going off solo for the final climbs, maintaining a pretty significant gap and not only getting an amazing stage-win, but the Yellow! Now we'll see how long he can hold it.

    I have to say, I am SO not a fan of TJ...he just annoys me, every single time they talk to him I almost have to mute the sound...and I don't really know WHY he annoy's me so...but he does. And I know I SHOULD be rooting for him as the only American w/ a GC hope...but I just don't see it...he has folded time and time again in the BIG-TIME...and I will just be surprised if he doesn't fold in the big mountains. I'm rooting for Nairo...would LOVE to see him take this Tour...but Froome is quite strong with a great team...but hey...Movistar is ready too, and w/ Valverde totally onboard w/ helping Nairo, it should be interesting!!

    And about the fact that as of this morning, ZERO dropouts from this years race! The much dreaded yet totally expected carnage of the first week hasn't really materialized...not sure why...surely there have been the same opportunities for massive crashes, if not more...but it's great to see! And sounds like today's sprint stage has lots of opportunity for disaster I the final few k....let's just keep our fingers crossed for another safe stage. Would LOVE to see Cav pull it out...but Griepel is quite hungry...and now that Kittel has got the monkey off his back, he will be tough too. We'll know soon enough.

  10. Hey Matt - what did Tejay say that annoyed you so much? I've been impressed this year with his continuing evolution, especially when dealing with the press. But, I understand when you just don't like a guy. It took me a LONG time to get on the Sagan bandwagon because I just cannot STAND his voice! But his continual exploits at the Tour the past 2 years won me over, especially last year when he kept racking up the Second places & took a lot of crap from the media, but NEVER quit & just kept racking up points on his way to his 4th straight Green jersey. Plus, that he basically pissed on Tinkoff after the ass ranted to the media that he wanted out of Sagan's contract, that Sagan was basically a failure, well that made me a fan instantly! :) HOW Sagan doesn't want to punch him every damn day is a wonder to me!

    What did you think about poor Contador yesterday? I was SHOCKED that he was BY HIMSELF on the last hill! Where the hell were his helpers?! And that Bobke & CVV barely mentioned it after the race shocked me almost as much! They FINALLY talked about it this morning on the pre-race show. That Kreuzinger was only about 20 seconds ahead means either he disobeyed team orders to wait & help AC OR the team has written off Contador's chances entirely. Very sad to see!

    And I just can't root that much for Quintana - he's a 'black hole' to me - don't know much about him & since he still doesn't speak English (I think), I feel even more disconnected from him.

    I was really happy for GV yesterday until I read a quote he gave after the stage. The interviewer must have asked him about helping Tejay & Ritchie & he says "oh, I DON'T WANT to do that, there are OTHER guys on the team for that'... WHAT?! This is a GC team! Every freakin rider on the team should be working for the GC guys! (At least until the podium is no longer possible). So, apparently he's at the Tour for himself. Wonder if the team management realized that.

    Speaking of team effort & tactics, I've always thought having Sagan & AC on the same TDF team would mean it would be next to impossible for Contador to win it all again. How can you successfully split the team's efforts? In fact, I think Cav wasted some of his peak years on Team Sky when they were strictly there for Wiggins & Froome. That he won stages at all then just proved how dominant he was at the time.

    Well, gotta get going. I'm also hoping for Cav to win again today. I feel for Greipel as the pressure for him to win a stage NOW is at the breaking point, especially as he was THE GUY at last year's Tour, but I still keep hoping Cav will one day break Eddy's stage record & that means Cav needs to win at least 3 stages a year for the next 2 years.

    And yes, I'm THRILLED there hadn't been any dropouts up to now, although poor AC's situation is almost as bad. :(