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« The Calm Before The Storm | Main | AC vs LA »

July 26, 2009

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Theresa

You think George will give up Columbia? I don't think so.
And LA may build this team differently. Who wants to ride on the same time every time it goes thru a sponser change??...I mean for 15yrs??

Sara, you are right, Lance did not look comfortable on the podium. And I saw him rush over the the twins to figure out how to split the flowers for both girls!

And Carlos Sastre is a class act. But so was Denis Menchov, can you imagine how frustrated he felt?
The Tour is over, and I have to make reservations for MO, and Janann, Nikki, and I are starting the email express on info. Of course Alan and the wee one are coming (if it works out..Alan, yes, the baby, maybe!

Oh, Amy, I never sent you anything on the Tour. I'll forward some of the emails your way, and be sure to check the Tour site!!!

darren

Thanks for hosting us all Sara! Now, can I have my life back!?
As much as I'd hoped for a different podium, it was a rivetting race. And, certainly the best in a few years, IMO. To Cathy and SusieB, you both are fantastic!
I'll be happy to return to my own schedule and training now and am looking forward to 2010 chasing hope and filling my back pack up with RadioShack paraphernalia. Next stop - Leadville!

Sara Best

Theresa, I wouldn't be so sure about George. Frankie interviewed him before the stage yesterday and asked him if he'd be staying with Columbia next year. He said that it had been a wonderful team and he had some great experiences with it but that his contract was up this winter and that everything was up in the air. Frankie mentioned Lance's team and George gave a very noticeable smirk and basically said that anything is possible.

JoeB

The end of the TdF - kinda left me 'empty' this year. After reading that LA didn't participate in Astana's saturday evening celebration of the Mont Ventoux success to go meet with Radioshack ppl - I was pretty dismayed at LA's obvious poor sportsmanship. I am and always have been a big LA fan - since 1993. You add in the shitty look on the TdF podium and the Saturday night story (if true) then it is a case of a poor loser. The disbanding of a powerful talented team makes it kind of a sad conclusion.

First of all, I look forward to the Vuelta - I'm hoping Levi, Horner, Jani makeup the core team with Levi the leader.

Secondly, the Radioshack team could be 'old home week'- I think George will be on the team. My prediction is LA, Levi, Horner, Popo, George, Chechu (one more year), Jani, Egoi Martinez, maybe Rast, Morabito. Wouldn't it be cool to have Floyd on the team - WOW! But you got to have some youth to go with the elder statesmen.

I'm disappointed in LA's attitude at the end of the Tour. He showed that it was a hard pill to swallow - but more disappointingly he couldn't be happy for AC. He better get his time trialing skills tuned up and work at his acceleration - next year's tour will be well worth the price of admission. AC will be a force no matter what team and you add Andy Schleck - if LA can win with that level of competition then he is the greatest.

Go Team Radioshack!

Matt

It was an amazing tour...and I agree Joe...I think Lance should have at least ACTED thrilled for AC! Like the final outcome or not, I think in the big scheme of things he did FAR BETTER than he or anybody could have realisticly hoped for. On Ventoux, he climbed pedal-stroke for stroke with the very BEST climbers in the world! However, I think that if Andy would have stopped worrying about getting Frank on the podium we might have had a diff finish. I think he might have taken on AC, could have surely won the stage, and tho he wouldn't have gotten all his time back... had he attacked AC right from the very bottom, might have pulled back a minute or 2 (I think AC was hurting at the top and Andy looked like he had more...but thats just my opinion).

But HUGE Kudos for Andy anyway...thats what makes him so likeable...worried more about Frank than winning the stage and getting time on AC! I would imagine he will work on his TT skills like a madman over the next year, and we shall see a REAL dogfight on our hands. AC will be pn a new team, and most likely in for trouble if they have another TTT...as he will immediatly be down a minute or 2 on Lance who will reassemble the old guard (and I firmly believe George will come). And had Lance NOT broken his collarbone this spring, well...the fireworks with AC would have been something to behold I believe. Had he and AC been on diff teams this year, the time gaps would have been much less as Lance wouldn't have stayed back to keep Wiggo in check. However there's always 2 sides to every story, and it surely wasn't fair to AC to be the undisputed team leader for Le Tour, and all of a sudden Lance makes his comeback on HIS team. 2 roosters in the henhouse don't work. While I still fault AC for dropping Kloden on that climb (NO teamwork there!) I guess he's a young guy and making mistakes (like the fractured peleton early on when Lance was in front with Fabian, and AC was farther back not realizing the crosswinds and the direction change). Stuff like that is what makes a team leader, and AC may be the best rider in the world, but he's got a world of learnin' to do to be the next Lance. Tactics, trickery and smart riding just MAY outride him next year. We shall see. All I know is that it's already shaping up to be an AMAZING 2010 season! Radio Shack, hmmm. Why couldn't it have been somebody like "New Belgium Brewing Co. (Fat tire ale) or something? Columbia as a sponsor? LIKE IT! Garmin? Like it! Radio Shack? WTF?? But a sponsor's a sponsor..somebody to PAY the bills and keep the guyz racing. Trek will OBVIOUSLY be the bike sponsor.

OK...we have our lives back..get to bed early and catch up some. Thank goodness for TIVO is all I can say! (and I LOVED the VS HD broadcast on my widescreen...it was just fantastic!)

Matt

And Susie...WE DON'T need some certain other writer (he who shall not be named)...we have YOU! Seriously here, YOU should be IN FRANCE next year with a press pass. LOVED your stage writeups!!!!!!!!! Forget that other guy....YOU are the real deal! (Maybe Cathy can get over for the entire tour, and you 2 can cruise the contry doing tour writups). Think about it...and make it happen! Kind of a Thelma & Louise thing, except a happy ending!

Matt

And finally, Thanks to Sara for hosting us all once again..kind of like old times (gosh, how many years ago was that?) Nice to have you back..even tho we know you busy you are. And now we sink totally into post-tour depression. Thankfully it's summer and the riding is GREAT! (tho I got a stupid bee-sting INSIDE my right ear yesterday on a ride...he just flew smack dab into my ear w/ a crosswind...and before I could even react, YEOWWW!! Man that burns! Bees like me for some reason..or hate me..not sure which. Thats the 2nd bee sting on a ride in the last 3 weeks!)

susie b

Awww, Matt, bees know a Sweetie when they see one! :) And thanks! Reading that ya'll get a kick our of my write-ups makes me unabashedly happy!

But, I'm exhausted just SITTING at home watching & reading all about the Tour. How those media people do it AT the race & stay sane, I've never understood. All that driving & having to fight to get quotes & "access". Those people deserve freakin medals! Even IF I often want to scream AT them. If you've ever watched the various video clips of rider/DS interviews, sound bites, & press conferences, which are now available on various legit sites plus Youtube, & then read how the "legit" press apply their own individual opinion & spin, it can make you crazy.

And how Cathy got up everyday at 3-4 AM to watch the Tour, gather all the team's quotes, & then write it all up so fast in her usual excellent fashion just stuns me!

And I want to add in my very appreciative thanks to Sara too. When I think of all the years I had NO where to go to chat & laugh & commiserate & argue about the Tour, it makes me WEEP! I did & will always miss MD's on & behind the scene Tour writing, but even in 2007, THIS blog was where we, ahem, chatted. ;) And Sara, I really liked this post & NOT just because when I saw that friggin HAT, I shouted out - SEE! SEE!!

And JoeB & others who were not so thrilled with Lance's seeming unsportsmanlike behavior : I can't lie & say I wasn't also looking for a smile let alone a handshake on the podium. And hearing he went out with his new sponsors Sat night instead of partaking in the usual team-winning bachanal, did sadden me a bit. However, even though Versus' coverage didn't show it, Lance DID at least smile on the podium (I've seen it in photos) & let's be honest - he WASN'T totally thrilled with 3rd place (he's a CHAMPION!) nor with AC. After trying to shield how tense/bad things were in that team or at least between himself & AC for 3 very long weeks, he felt he didn't have to pretend anymore. I think he was restrained - we didn't see the full antipathy he possibly feels nor did we see false hearty congrats. As for Sat night - the new sponsors most likely wanted 'face-time' & Lance would have had to do it then or in Paris & I think he wanted to spend time with his family Sunday & then get the hell home.

Go to espn.com & watch the interview he gave with Jeremy Schapp, I think Sat night or maybe Sun. There is still almost NO athlete in ANY sport that I've watched in the 40 or so freakin years I've watched sports that handles defeat & disappointment with such class. And compare his actions & words the final week AND on Sunday with Tiger Woods at the British Open or at ANY Tournament where he's not winning. if you don't believe me, read Rick Reilly's recent piece on Tiger. Lance Armstrong is not a saint. He's a COMPETITOR. And he tried with all his heart, head, & aging body to win the 2009 Tour de France. Until the Verbier, I think he thought he could & would do it. That he didn't stomp off the mt in a hiss-fit & DID talk to the media is just one of the reasons that I LIKE & respect him even MORE than in 2005.

Anyway, even at this tardy date, I WILL write up the last 2 stages, so please indulge me. Besides, you didn't think I'd abandon before Paris?!

Matt

Ahhh...nice Susie(was hoping you WOULDN'T abandon!) And HEY! Speaking of NOT one to abaondon...don't forget about Geroge!! Look at his leadout for the Cav-train...when Garmin TRIED to take over and position Tyler...George said 'wait a minute boyz...who do you think you are? This is OUR train...remember ME? The guy you dissed a while ago and didn't let me have a night in yellow? Well..I'm BAAACCCKKKK! And it's time to PAY!!' Man was he THE MAN!! During the post race interview he had a big bag of ice on his shoulder...what a stallion of the peleton! THAT'S why he's my fav!

OK..back to work...

susie b

STAGE 20 - SAT, JUL 25 (VENTOUX)
******************************************
Theme Song of the Day :
THRILLER


SUSIE'S SWEETIES :
(1) Lance 'GLORY DAYS' Armstrong. Maybe not quite as much glory as when he left all in the dust on various mountains in previous Tours, but today was his best mountain day in THIS Tour & he was the ONLY one in the race able to stay with Andy Schleck & AC. And he did what he needed to do to stay on the podium - stick with or leave Frank & Wiggo behind. Did *I* want to see him take off & storm up that sucker like the Once & Future King of the Tour? Oh yeah, but he was not going to attack his own TEAMmate. Still, it would have been great to have seen Lance & AC together attack Andy with 5K to go & end up being 1-2. No matter, I was enthralled & yelled myself hoarse for the "Old Fart"!

(2) Andy 'ME & MY SHADOW' Schleck. The guy, with & without his brother, attacked like a banshee (7-8 times?) up that mountain, but he just couldn't get rid of his 'shadow' - AC. And even though the ASO had hoped & planned that THIS Tour stage would shake UP the GC, it merely confirmed its two strongest riders. They were both damn impressive.

(3) Bradley 'WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKENHEARTED' Wiggins. He never stopped trying & did claw his way back to the contenders a few times, but just didn't quite have the legs today. And while it must have been heartbreaking not to land on the podium, he did keep his 4th place by outriding Frank Schleck until the very end, so he should be PROUD. And it will be fascinating to see what does BECOME of Wiggo over the next few years.

(4) Andreas 'YOU REALLY GOT ME' Kloden. Yep, for someone who wasn't all that thrilled that he was even on the team, I found myself screaming for Klodi to stay up with Lance. And NOT just to help Lance, but to help himself back into 4th. I still don't know much about Kloden, but after Stage 17 & today, I'm more than willing to try & find out.

(5) Mauel Garate of Rabobank won the stage :

'AMAZING GARATE
How sweet the sound,
Who saved their wretched team.
What once seemed lost,
Is now found,
A win for all to see!'

(6) Neal 'NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP' Rogers. Well, at least as long as I get to ogle him on Velo-Tour TV!


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE LONESOME LOSERS?
(1) Frank 'PLEASE, DON'T LEAVE ME' Schleck. No, he didn't REALLY implore that to his little bro Andy 'I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER' Schleck. It could just be viewed that way. Still, Frank gave it his all & short of pushing Lance off his bike, I don't think there was ANYthing he could have done today to keep Lance off the podium. And for a guy who probably should have been suspended at least a YEAR due to his MONEY to Fuentes, I actually felt a bit sad for Frank this Tour. Despite finishing 5th last year, it seems the media could only talk about Andy. And talked TO Frank... about Andy.


THEY CALL US MR PITIFULS :
Carlos & Cadell. I'm not sure if Cattle was going to go for it today, but Sastre had been talking about Ventoux before the Tour, during the 1st week, the 2nd week, & even up to & including yesterday. He thought a win here would salvage his so-far dismal 2009 Tour. And then both got gapped by the Kazakhs & the Saxons before the peloton even got to the bottom of Ventoux. Arrrgggghhhhh. Has this year's Tour not taught EVERYone about the danger of CROSSWINDS? I am surprised we didn't see some bike tossing!

Sally

Thought this was interesting...

Taken from another site after being translated from Spanish:
A Tale of solitude
http://www.diariosur.es/...ntador-20090727.html
It happened on Thursday, a few hours before the Annecy ITT. Contador came downstairs to the entrance of the Palace of Menthon, the luxurious Astana hotel. The Tour was on. He looked right, then left. Nobody, nothing. No Astana cars or helpers. Cold sweat. Quick time check. Where are they? The hotel is several kilometers from the start. There he was, the leader of the Tour, in flip-flops, bag in hand and alone. He went to the hall looking for an answer: Armstrong had ordered the helpers to go pick up his wife, kids and friends to the airport.
Contador left his room last because he was the last one starting the ITT. Armstrong had managed to take away his means of transportation. The straw that broke the camel’s back. Hot flashes, he was rabid. He called his brother Fran. He came to pick him up by car and took him to Annecy in a private vehicle. He left last and finished first. His best victory. In the ITT. In solitude. The same way he has won his second tour.
Contador’s toughest climb was not recorded in images. It was narrated by others. It was fought in the hotel and the bus: during one stage, Armstrong sat his guests at the very back of the bus, right in Contador’s usual seat. One more provocation. Armstrong to the luxury suite. Contador to sleep with Paulinho, the only ally. Same deal during the entire tour. Mouth shut, listening to Armstrong’s jabs: “It doesn’t take a Nobel prize to figure out what happens with side winds”. Contador didn’t reply in the hotel. He did on the road. He attacked in the first mountain finish in Arcalis. Without permission from Bruyneel, Armstrong’s DS. That night the Astana hotel was a funeral. Red eyes from the Texan (anger? crying? not sure). The first cyclist that stood up to him. And he did it in silence."

CMehl

I don't believe for one minute that AC was left at the hotel alone, that is pure bs. And most of the rest sounds enhanced to make a better-sounding story....but Universal Sport does have comments by AC today that LA has already responded to on twitter...I think the real battle of words has just begun! And the party was Sunday night and yes, all of them were there. There is certainly no love lost between the two, but who thought that there would be?

Rae

Too true, Cathy!

I did see another piece where the reporter left out a significant part of the comment (about Lance as a great competitor etc, but on a PERSONAL level not who he admires). When you read the original Spanish, it has a rather different meaning that the edited version. So I think that was an atempt to stir the pot! Still, hearing that someone doesn't admire him on ANY level would hurt! And isn't something that NEEDED to be said.

I respect Lance as a competitor and athlete, and it is his competitiveness that lights him up, but he HAS been snarking at AC for some time. Some of his comments in TV interviews have been quite provocative, and I felt that he was happy to foster division in the team. I guess he thinks he has the right as the "elder statesman", close friend of JB, and bringer of new attention and sponsor. Seems he has forgotten that you get what you give.

There is blame to go around here, I suppose (always is in personal relationships). Makes it more fun for us, though, doesn't it?

jessica

Thanks again for hosting Sara! I hope keeping this site up hasn't been too time consuming for you and that you have a lovely summer. Maybe you'll continue to post? I join Susie in being eternally grateful for the location to share and learn about this fantastic sport! Even got my mom to watch this year!

(I had a weird moment today -- while at the local coffee shop, to spy a man sitting outside eating and hear myself say, (in my head), "omg, it's Thor!".)

It's hard for me to pin down what is LA's motivation these days. He retired. He returned, ostensibly to promote cancer research - not to "win at all costs" apparently. And now, will return next year with new sponsor and......what? Try to win for the purpose of promoting research? I hope this won't be the downfall of a legacy of riding. He seems to be banking on the youthful mistakes of others to open his chances of winning.

I want to continue to be in his corner. And maybe this grousing is just post-tour adrenalin drop. But we're all in his corner on the fight for research. However I wonder if his motivation for returning next year is misguided.

Of course, it's his life, not mine.

OR maybe he just wants to have the unfettered season he didn't get to have this year!

Thinking about this is like trying to play pictionary by yourself!! Frustrating!! =) Especially since I so like to watch him ride!

ok - I'll shut up now. And look forward to Tour MO

susie b

To think that the Yellow-Jersey was LEFT ALONE with NO transport by his team to the final Time Trial is the biggest load of crap I've heard yet. Poor, poor Alberto, the little martyr; 'all awone' & in a hovel of a room while big bad Lance lived it up in the Presidential Suites night after night. If AC had been given a room alone, we'd all be hearing now how he was "purposedly isolated". As Paulinho was his closest ally/friend on the team, Johan probably assumed AC would WANT to room with him so they could talk/commiserate/support each other.

And let me guess - Lance somehow was in cahoots with the Tour officials & is responsible for the Danish anthem playing for his Paris podium ceremony? Yeah, everybody knows how Lance is likethis with those guys...

Maybe one day, someone will write a book on what really took place on the bus & behind the scenes in this year's Tour. But the thing is - it will change NO one's opinion of either. Throughout the Tour, I constantly chuckled &/or seethed how the exact same quotes/actions were viewed completely differently by the observers' own prejudices. Mine included. Sort of an extension of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

I'm not exactly sure why Lance came out of retirement but I do know it DID help further the Livestrong message & raised a ton of money. And I LOVED seeing him in the peloton again, even if he didn't crush all his rivals as I once LOVED. I do think he will have even more pressure on him next year. Even though he'll be another year older, he will also have that year of training & racing in his legs. And the new Tour team will be built solely for him to WIN & not just get on the podium. And hopefully, there will be no crashes/injuries or birthin' of babies to get in the way of his goal. :)

I personally think if Lance had come back last year, even at this year's ability, he would have won. With or without Alberto on the team. If they had been on the team together & AC had not gone to the Giro & won (& later the Vuelta), I think AC would have been much more intimidated & would at the very least, have listened to Johan. I'm not sure what Lance expected; whether he thought AC would stifle his ambitions for him or maybe he just didn't think AC was that superior yet in both climbing & TT. But after AC won 3 straight Grand Tours & consequently was surrounded for the past two years by 'supporters' (i.e. ass-kissers) & others telling him that HE was the NEW champion & that LA was the OLD, etc, etc, it's actually kind of surprising we did NOT see all out war. All involved should be congratulated that this did not happen.

BTW, I've read garbage that Lance AND Johan did not want AC to win & supposedly did things to make that happen. Ha. Cycling is a team sport & Johan was in control of that team; he COULD have made it impossible for AC to win & we all saw that is not what happened. In fact, AC put in his own win in jeopardy because of his insecurity & jealousy of Lance. If he had lost, he would have had no one to blame but himself.

CMehl

This is all too much drama for me so I am going on VACATION! yay, maybe in the next week I can catch up on my sleep and clear my head of all things TdF. I don't really enjoy drama or confrontation, it swims around in my head too much and distracts me from more important things, so I hope post-Tour bantering settles down while I'm on my vacation in PA sans computer.

Be sure to watch next two weeks of SYTYCD if you love dancing, though--the remaining contestants will bring it for sure. Best season ever--super special dancing going on!

See ya in a week, kids. Play nice! xxoo

Theresa

Okay, I'm giving Lance a "pass" on that Sat night thing....business in France during the Tour..new sponser and new team???

But I remember Floyd's interview with someone, saying he wanted to ride in Europe in 2010....and while reading your posts it just hit me!! Floyd's having a tough year his first yr back. I think he's having fun with his team. But I don't think he wants to ride the NRC. If George and Floyd, with Levi and Chris all are on the new team, I'm there!! I still love the guys on Garmin, and Mark Cav is super..no one in the world like him!

Sally

Susie b, I agree with you! Everyone has their own feelings, and any situation is going to be seen as positive/negative depending on what your feelings are (ie: Lance hater, AC hater, etc).

I've also read more things that ACs translations may be getting screwed up and making his words sound harsh when that was not the intent.

I liked MD as well, he used to write more about the inside scoop (who was pissed at what, etc). But I guess now with Twitter, we already know how some of the riders think cuz they are writing for themselves.

It might be drama, but it adds to the race (ie: Hincapie missing yellow and the last sprint of the tour).

Sally

janann

Another Tour over.....*sigh*

I join with everyone who have expressed their thanks, Sara. You have such a great "atmosphere" here and I've loved being able to chat about the Tour again this year!

I agree girls - we do bring our own prejudices and opinions to the stories and articles we read - I know that I have. I was surprised by Lance's behavior on the podium, too, but could somewhat understand his reaction. Tough situation all around. I was wishing again that Horner had been in France. Wouldn't you have LOVED to hear about things from his point of view???

I'm really excited now, like the rest of you, to hear how the new Radioshack team shapes up. Can't wait to see who the riders are!

Looking forward to the Tour of MO again! Anyone else planning on attending besides Nikki, T, and me this year?

Happy vacation Cathy!

Matt is right Susie -- you should be writing for us more often!

Amy

I think I may come for at least the first couple of stages, Janann. Keep me in the email loop... :)

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