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« Bad Apples | Main | Oops He Did It Again »

July 17, 2008

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cat

I couldn't agree more, Sara. In fact it is exciting to have someone take control of the peloton; I was worried this year would be a chaotic mess, but it shows how much I underestimate those who are there. Am I uneducated or is Columbia's performance really good, more than anticipated? I know there are good guys on the team, and they have done really well in the last year, but isn't it unusual to have a team perform so well the first year on the Tour?

I felt so bad hearing about Ricco's positive. Not specifically for him, but in general for everyone there. The press scrim at the SD bus with members trying to get in a car to drive away, pulled at my heart. I can't imaigine coming that far to face humiliation and criminal charges. My hope is the positive was isolated, but certainly it is damning to have a team leave. I think it was Phil who said if your team leader is kicked out, there is no point in staying, but I can't imagine that would be necessarily true.

I guess it will take a while to really push illegal substances use out of the race world (I don't think it will be pushed out, just farther underground) but getting there is certainly painful. I also hope the testing is reliable, though I haven't read anything about the labs upgrading, or improving or retraining their procedures after Floyd's defense.

Theresa

Okay, I just posted under Sara's 1st post of the day!!

But I'm loving Mark more and more. And George has always thought he was great!! Maybe we should pay attention to what George thinks!

susie b

SUSIE'S SWEETIES - STAGE 11 (Wed, Jul 16)

1) Craig Hummer. Because I should have given him more of a chance. Because even if I like Al's voice better, Craig has asked some really good questions on the Primetime show. It's the kind of questions that all hardcore cycling fans usually already know the answer, but I would have PAID to hear the 1st 17 years I watched this race in total mystification as to what was happening. And because I'm liking his repartee with the fellas. And either I'm getting used to him or he's getting better. And hey, because he's just killin' the guys in the Saab yellow jersey contest! :)

2) Martin Elmiger. I know, I know, he didn't win the stage, but how can you not feel for the guy when he spent the entire day off the front with the other 'apostles' & then lost by MILLImeters! Hey, Frank Schleck, go cry to Martin about your 1.3 seconds.

3) Apollo, the Sun God. Because I'm lovin' the sun, especially after that 1st horrid weather week when he was on vacation! No more July holidays for you!

4) Helicopter camera operator. Again. Because if I had not had the glorious & sunny (see above) French countryside to oogle & sigh over, I would have fallen asleep during the stage. Unless I have a fave in the break, I'm just not a huge fan of the "transitional" stages. On the other hand, it allowed me to catch up on some more Tour reading! :)

4) Neal 'It's like a HEATWAVE burnin' in my heart' Rogers. Because guess what Amazon emailed me today? An alert that I can pre-order 'PAID TO SUFFER'. By who other than Mr 'Hot & Sweet' himself. I actually pre-ordered this book LAST year but after months of delays, Amazon finally told me they didn't know when it was coming & cancelled my order. Sniff, sniff. Now, don't you be teasin' me AGAIN, Sweet Neal or I may be forced to find another to lust after/I mean appreciate for his journalistic greatness. :) :)

Rae

I am happy that MC and Columbia are doing so well, truly I am--but today I found myself rooting for Rocket Robbie--and actually tearing up when once again he didn't have it! Whether it is lack of team support, or supporting CE himself, or just the end of a long career (which I fear), I can't guess, but I miss his fireworks!

Is anyone here really sad that Ricco got caught? He wasn't just brash like MC last year, he had an more unpleasant air (I thought) which made SusieB's nickname very apt. When he wasn't going to ride the TdF, then suddenly was ready to, I started to wonder. Remember when I posted about being a medical control volunteer? The rider who was trying to get out of my sight rode for SD.

Rae

I am glad that this sport is heading in the direction of PED-free, but I am not so frustrated with these positives--culture change takes a long time, and using PEDs at one time wasn't really thought of as cheating, I think, just "natural enhancement" just like the commercial says, and pretty safe overall too--EPO and blood transfusions probably even more so than steroids. Not wanting to make excuses here, but that is why I don't get so very upset at, or think that past users or maybe users should be pilloried. I AM GLAD though when current users get caught and want the practice to be abolished ASAP!
I read that one of those caught this tour had blood bags in his suitcase, & can't figure out how that could be possible, unless they were wrapped up with dry ice? but then wouldn't there be vapor trails coming from the suitcase?

If anything good comes out of Floyd's case, I would hope it is a clean-up of the chain-of-custody and lab proceedural issues -- of course the people involved would have to 1st admit that improvements need to be made!

cat

Hey susie, you manage to hit almost everything I am thinking right on the head. My head. The idea right on the head. The nail. Jeese.

The sun. Yeeeeessss! The helicopter pilots. Yeeeeessss. Those guys get really artistic sometimes, like the shot through a gorge today. Did that last year too. Works for me. Plus I love the "color', you know, historic points along the way. Also loved it when Phil said "Paul stays up late nights searching the net for historical facts about the next stage site." I was dying for Paul to say, "I didn't have to search, I already know..." I am sure he knows a lot.

Unfortunately although I agree that Hummer is better, he doesn't do much for me. I am enjoying a more serious Bob. I love it when Chris asks a silly question and Bob delivers the goods on what one does in a race. Wouldn't it be nice if Bobke cracked some silliness now and again. Remember those wonderful ads of him "in the rain" riding naked, on a bike, ala Lance? That whole ad campaign (2005?) cracked me up.

Funny that you mentioned Robbie McEwen, Rae. I have been waiting for the same thing. MC is fast, but when they did overhead shots during past sprints and Robbie darted out of "nowhere", it always blew my mind! I can't think of anyone who produces the impression of having afterburners the way he does.

Not to get depressing (but I am) how the heck do you think the 4 Barloworld riders are feeling right now? LONELY AS HELL. I can't decide if they are tough to stay or masochists. What happens to teams like that? Do they forge sideline alliances with other riders? Just kick back and "enjoy the ride?" Seems like they would have to do something to keep the sponsors excited enough to keep supporting them, though I imagine they have a contract that has to run it's course.

Barbara

And cutie MC (love that smile!) did a great job of giving credit to his team tonight. When did he crash? Just noticed the bandages (or as he would say, the plaster) on his arm.

Susie, as usual, I have nothing to add to your fun post. The sun and the views have been stunning!

cat

I wondered about the plasters too Barbara, but thought I had missed yet another piece of the race! I've missed every special they have done, like on Lance, and my mom (the neophyte) has seen three Lance spots. I guess I just pick the wrong times to go shower, or whatever.

Lot of guys are wearing bandages...

matt

Boy has MC turned into everybodys favorite lovable sprinter! He just can't lavish enough praise on his team (you've learned well, young skywalker). And now we will be able to root for him in the Olympics too! I'm actually rooting for Robbie today though...he has had a tough tour...no leadout, as the entire team is for Cadel this year...(though I would think he could sneak around near the finish and get in a good spot behind the other leadouts...seems like he used to do that)...maybe he's just whipped after helping Cadel all day. But I haven't discounted him yet...hoping he will still win one!

susie b

SUSIE'S SWEETIES - STAGE 12 (Thurs, Jul 17)

1) Mark Cavendish. Because the little man from the Isle of Man will henceforth be known as "The Money Man". (And let's hope TC has him on a nice long contract or Bob may once again need to open his own wallet to keep him on the Blue Train :). And because as ya'll mentioned, he's so cute when he goes around "fanking" his team. And because I totally agree with Janann - that it's NOT just because he's winning EVERY sprint & making a mockery of the other sprinters being called "fast men". No, it's because he realizes that even if he IS the "fastest man in the last 50 meters", he can't get there without the efforts of his whole team & because he is NOT the BOY he was last year. And because he was soooo tired after the win, (partly due to his crash in the 1st Pyrenees stage, where he finished dead last), you just wanted to reach thru the TV & give him a hug. And because on a day that despite the mild weather, started oh-so gloomy, he was a ray of sunshine & joy. (Well, maybe not so much joy for the other sprinters ;).

2) Robbie McEwen. Because I agree with Rae & am on the verge of tears that we have yet to see Rocket Robbie darting thru holes no one else sees & into the win. And because even though the early road minutes aren't broadcast on the Primetime show (& thus I haven't seen), Janann & others have mentioned how Robbie was the "Lt" on the road during the last 2 stages for his GC-leading man (Cadel in 'The Full Yellow'). And because I'm never going to count the Rocket out. Fingers are crossed for Friday!

3) Austin Murphy. Because even though I'm breaking my 1st rule again, you NEED to read his current piece on SI.com. Too bad ALL mainstream journos AND cycling press don't have his clear vision. Go read before you scoff, as the 'Farce Man' is no more. No, it appears last June's foray into the Dark Side is over & he is back now amongst the believers. And because I don't give up hope easily & I hope he & his old carbuddy will still get their fine asses over to France. That neither of these men who both have such unique way with words is over there to chronicle Christian's Cinderfella story is not a farce, it's a freakin tragedy!

4) Neal 'I can't keep my eyes off of you' Rogers. Because I'm thanking the sun god once again as it means Neal has ditched the jacket. Whoo-hoo! :)

kathleen

4!!!!

How d'ya like them apples?

jessica

holy heck??!! 4? I had to leave the house at 7k to the finish....darn IT!

Theresa

And we have MC again!!! With Robbie right on his wheel!!
But Mark is getting tired...even he says day by day. If Robbie hadn't had gotten boxed in and had to pull himself to the line by himself, it would have been a drag race! But the new young race horse and the older master, ONE TWO!

Mark is so cute when he goes back thru the crowd seeking out his teammates; and they are soooo proud of him!

cat

*sigh* yes, MC sure is a happy, happy boy now. He did look dog tired at the end, he could barely lift his hand with one finger up at the win. And I agree, I love it when the whole team gets excited. Seeing them beaming and hugging is really heartwarming. I wish VS would show all the teams after a stage win, but they seem to be entirely focused on the US teams. Too bad, I'd love to see some others.

My Mom came running in to see why I was yelling at the sprint. I was howling for McEwen. Straight on it looked like he was on the tail of MC, but from above, MC was a bike length or so in front, wasn't he? And talk about tired, McEwen was breathing so hard when VS interviewed him, he could hardly speak in full sentences. They must have grabbed him 50 feet from the finish line!!

Now off to search for Austin. And I know I'm slow, but I can't seem to find Neal's videos this year....

cat

Here's Austin's link:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/austin_murphy/07/17/tour.12th/index.html

Here's Austin's comment regarding MC's fall we were wondering about (I didn't see it):
"The word going into today's stage was that Cavendish, 23 and riding in his second Tour, was knackered from the Pyrenees, and still bruised by a scary spill in Stage 10 that left him in a ditch. (A spectator's soccer ball had ended up amidst the wheels of the bunch: Cavendish nailed it, and went down)."

cat

And in other news:

"Phinney takes third in world junior TT"
By VeloNews.com
Posted Jul. 18, 2008

"Taylor Phinney wrapped up the his world junior world championship run Friday with a third-place finish in the individual time trial, 8 seconds off the winning pace of Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski."

"Phinney won gold in the 3,000-meter individual pursuit on the track last Saturday."

"Entering the race as the defending world champion, Phinney recorded a time of 36 minutes, 29.15 seconds over the 26.8-kilometer course."

http://www.velonews.com/article/80342/phinney-takes-third-in-world-junior-tt

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