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July 09, 2009

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CMehl

Hey all you parrot heads! Look who was in the team car today!

http://www.velonews.tv/?bclid=19954650001&bctid=28955963001

jessica

Its really turning into a walk of who's-who at the Astana bus and team car, isn't it? I'll take Buffet over Stiller anyday!

That theory is SO well written Sara - can't help but agree completely. Maybe his ability to compartmentalize is the key. He's a strange creature to watch;interesting in that there's not a lot of wasted action or words.

debi

i think you're right on the money with that theory, sara. and i do love the little bit of "suit-armstrong" that we're seeing on the bike. not much game face, it's all smiles and jolly hockey sticks! he actually looks like he's having fun. not so much yesterday tho. can't wait for the mountains today. showdown time!
right now i can't work out whom i'm most jealous of - jimmy buffet for being in the team car, or lance for knowing jimmy buffet. that voice just takes me back to my days of sailing the oceans. (and playing pool in antigua).
feel very sad for big tom boner this year. he seems a tad unprepared and plagued by bad luck (nerves?).

nakigrl

I think that theory about Lance sounds quite accurate - he seems to have the ability to give his all to whatever activity he is doing at that moment.

Debi - I saw hardly any of the IPL but did follow it. Pretty amazing for SA to host it at such short notice and do such a good job. Also delighted to hear you say you think the Springbok coach is a moron. I'm wondering if Rodney as fallen of the edge of the world, he just seems to have disappeared.

Last night's stage in the mountains was great - I'm always amazed how the climbers seem to just dance up the hillside. You see people like Contador cycling up with such ease that it looks easy - then you see the main peloton where people are obviously hurting.

No luck it seems at all for big Tom this year. Also no luck going the way of Cadel, he really is hamstrung by his team.

The last week of going to bed at 4am and then getting up a few hours later to go to work is starting to take its toll. Thank goodness for coffee.

cat

Cathy, thanks for the link!

susie b

Anybody know if "I" is in the Spanish word for "TEAM"? ;)

That's alright; the gloves are truly off now. (Well, except when ON the bike; guess they'd come in handy then. ;) And I'm just suuuuure Johan loves to be ignored & or defied. I actually think AC believes he can win this race ALL by himSELF. Just one MORE reason I miss Horner at the Tour - wouldn't you have loved hearing him talk about THAT on a Rider video diary? ;) ;)

Anyway, sorry I haven't been able to comment much this week. Just too much going on. I have been writing up stuff at home while watching the Tour every night & HOPE to type it all up here, maybe even tommorrow.

BTW, anyone else thinkin 'SWEEP'? Has that ever happened before in the Tour? Sure, looooong way to go & many mountains to climb & all that, but wouldn't that just kill the ASO - the team they EGREGIOUSLY barred last year SWEEPS the podium this year! Yep - PAYBACK is a BITCH.

Actually, I've been thinking : there is one TINY reason why I wouldn't be heartbroken if Lance doesn't win (& no, my $50 riding on him doesn't count). Don't you think that would fire him up for ANOTHER year? And NEXT time, it would include The Three Amigos (& friends) vs Contador & whatever team screws over the rest of their members to free up the money to hire him. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed they'll be a TTT...

janann

Gotta be quick, but just wanted to say that my husband and I were both thinking the EXACT same thing about having Chris Horner at the Tour. We'd LOVE to hear his "tell it like it is" account of what was going on with the team! Would have been a rider diary to beat all others. Definitely some tension there now....
Can't wait to see how it all pans out. The Tour and a Soap Opera combined into one event!

So happy to see CVV still hanging in there and REALLY surprised to see Wiggins there! Leading on the climb????? wow.

Loved your Lance theory, Sara. I think that the "intense" Lance is on his way back!

CMehl

Hey, did you guys notice that CVV doesn't cough after the stages anymore? Remember last year he'd be hacking away, sounded like asthma? Great that he has that under control now!

And Thor is green....take that you little upstart Cav! lol

susie b

STAGE 1, SAT, JUL 4 (TT)
********************************
Theme Songs of the Day : GET THIS PARTY STARTED
(& on personal note) : I'M SO EXCITED!


SUSIE'S SWEETIES :
(1) Lance 'HELLO, IT'S ME' Armstrong. Sure, he "only" finished 10th, below 4 other teammates, BUT they're all within 20 seconds of each other with only one other main GCer (Cadel) among them. And just to see Lance in the Tour again keeps me smiling in disbelief. Lance. IN THE TOUR AGAIN! Whoooo-hoooo!

(2) Fabian 'ROCKET MAN' Cancellara. The newly crowned King of Switzerland blew EVERYone away, especially on the descent. Can you BREAK the sound barrier on a bike? ;)
And not to sound, um, crass, but Versus can keep showing slow-mo footage of Spartacus' big thighs poundin' towards the Finish for, oh I don't know, how about EVERYDAY? :)

(3) Christian 'WHATCHA SEE IS WHATCHA GET' Vande Velde. For a guy who broke 7 friggin bones a mere 2 months ago, just the fact that he is IN the race brings tears to my eyes. And, he did quite well, finishing 17th, only 30 seconds behind #2 AC. CVV's transformation was THE BEST thing in last year's Tour for me & along with Lance & Levi, he is riding this Tour with my heart.

(4) Frankie 'DO YOU BELIEVE' Andreu. On Sat AM, when Phil threw it over to the Astana bus for the 1st Lance interview & he said 'with Frankie Andreu', I said out loud, "you mean Robbie". When Frankie appeared, I literally GASPED & shouted OH MY GOD! I turned to , um, no one, since no one else was in the house ;), & said "DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?!". It appears Lance 'BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER' Armstrong himself specifically asked for Frankie to be his Versus interviewer. And I have to say, Frankie did an excellent job. GREAT to see him in the Versus gang again; it just wouldn't be the same without him & Robbie.

(5) Neal 'I'VE BEEN LOVING YOU TOO LONG TO STOP NOW' Rogers. Do I NEED a reason? :)

Honorable mention :
Andy 'HE AIN'T HEAVY, HE'S MY BROTHER' Schleck. Alhough not quite 'qualified' as an official Susie Sweetie, the wraithlike Brother from Luxembourg aquitted himself quite well. Perhaps not the surprise of AC's mystical emerging TT excellence from last year, but MUCH improvement. Way to go, Bobby J!


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE LONESOME LOSERS?
(1) All the media who keep hounding Team Astana to identify their 'LEADER OF THE PACK'. And the hoopla/insanity only intensified after the TT, although apparently many of the Euro journos declared it was "ALL OVER" for Lance. After the 1ST DAY. Do these people know nothing of cycling? Nothing of the Tour? And most of all, NOTHING of Lance Armstrong? Plus, it does not matter WHO is "designated" leader, the ROAD DECIDES ALL! (See 2007 : Levi/AC...) PLUS, if Lance is breathing & in this race, he will go for the yellow like a hound huntin' down a rabbit; it's in his DNA.

(2) The Lance Haters; especially the ones in America who will be subjected to Versus' Lance-centric coverage for the next 3 weeks. Get your earplugs ready people, as the whining, moaning, & screaming will only intensify as Lance shows himself to be a TRUE CONTENDER, something these people insist is not possible.

Note : The Lonesome Losers section is reserved for those in or around the race who either failed, had bad luck, did something STOOPID, or just made a nuisance of themselves. However, the MOST PATHETIC of the day will be singled out for the :

THEY CALL ME MR. PITIFUL Award :
Denis 'twern't no MAGIC CARPET RIDE for me' Menchov. Wow, even though I didn't think he would be a podium contender in this year's Tour after his recent winning GT effort, I did NOT expect the guy who SO dominated the Giro's UBER-TT to be sitting 53RD, more than 80 seconds behind AC. Truly, the 2nd most shocking thing of the day.

susie b

STAGE 2 - SUN, JUL 5
********************************
Theme Song of the Day : LOVE TRAIN


SUSIE'S SWEETIES :
(1) Mark 'GREASED LIGHTNIN' Cavendish. Sure, The Cartel's "Love Train" sets him up superbly, but in the last 200 meters, the guy is THE fastest man on the planet on two wheels. The thing that kills me is when you see him up on the podium with those short, stubby legs, would you think HE'D be King of the Sprinters? Apparently, biology is NOT always destiny! :)

(2) Tyler 'HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF' Farrar. Finished 2nd behind Cav. Again. But ONE of these days, the Wolf's appetite will win out & he'll devour a stage win. Just you wait!

(3) Neal 'YOU SPIN ME ROUND' Rogers. My only complaint is that there are not TWO Video Rider Diaries this year. Horner was to be the other, sniff, sniff.


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE LONESOME LOSERS?
(1) Most of the other sprinters (Boonen, Bennati, Freire,etc) who got caught in or behind a crash in the final 1K & they missed the sprint entirely. Guess THAT'LL teach those teams not to stay off the front & let The Cartel do all the work. Wait, what?

(2) The media who keep hounding Team 'WE ARE FAMILY' Astana to declare a "leader". What a bunch of wankers. 1st, to obsess over it & 2nd, no matter IF or HOW often Astana declares it's a 'NEVER ENDING SONG OF LOVE' on the team bus, there are TWO guys on there who WANT & CAN win this year's Tour, no matter what is SAID.

THEY CALL ME MS PITIFUL :
Um, that would be me - I'm still feeling sorry for myself that a certain WRITER did not get his ass over to the Tour yet. Oh well, I'll just have to 'HOLD ON' til he gets there. Meanwhile, 'THE BEAT GOES ON'.

susie b

STAGE 3 - MON, JUL 6
********************************
Theme Songs of the Day :
BLOWIN IN THE WIND & LONG TRAIN RUNNIN'


SUSIE'S SWEETIES :
(1) Team Columbia-HTC (aka The Cartel) had had ENOUGH of doing all the work to bring back the break, so with the help of the Mistal winds, they seized the day & started their
'LONG TRAIN RUNNIN' all the way to the finish line. Pretty much their entire team & about 20 others finshed 41 seconds ahead of the REST of the peloton, which resurrected Rogers & Kirchen's GC hopes AND got

(2) Mark "MR BIG STUFF' Cavendish another sprint win. His only competition?

(3) Thor 'RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME' Hushovd. Yep, unlike the rest of the dozing sprinters, Thor put himself up near the front when things started looking dicey. And even though he didn't beat Cav, he did gobble up some important Green jersey points!

(4) Lance 'RIDE CAPTAIN RIDE' Armstrong. Any coincidence that the ONLY GCer savy enough to stay up front in those conditions was The Old Dog? Oh, the Drama, Drama, Drama that ensued! While AC snit-fitted & huffed that he had no opinion of his team's tactics & for "everyone to draw their own conclusions", his teammate leapfrogged from 10th to 3rd on GC. You snooze, you lose in this sport, young grasshopper!

(5) Neal 'KISS YOU ALL OVER' Rogers. Ya know, Andrew Hood seems like a nice enough guy & is presentable, but does he HAVE to hog screen time from my beloved? Hummpfh!


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE LONESOME LOSERS?
(1) The media frenzy over the "leader" question is now deafening. I haven't laughed so much during a Tour in years! Thanks fellas!

(2) The other GC contenders. My only disappointment is that Levi & CVV weren't up there with Lance. And Garmin had actually worked hard all day along with Saxo & The Cartel, so it was doubly sad for them.

(3) All the sprinters besides Cav & Thor. Have you learned a lesson yet, boys?!


THEY CALL ME MR PITIFUL :
Bambi Menchov couldn't afford to lose more time. But, he did....

susie b

STAGE 4 - TUES, JUL 7 (TTT)
********************************
Theme Songs of the Day :
LET'S STAY TOGETHER
GROOVIN


SUSIE'S SWEETIES :
(1)Lance 'GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME' Armstrong. Seriously, just a LEETLE! Now sitting 2nd, a chin whisker away from the Yellow jersey! 22 hundredths of a second!

(2) The rest of Team 'AIN'T NO STOPPIN US NOW' Astana. Their dominance in this event put all the other pre-Tour top contenders in deep holes. It was true 'POETRY IN MOTION'.

(3) Team 'WE'RE AN AMERICAN BAND!' Garmin. Unfreakinbelievable. They lose about half their guys with HALF the course yet to go, have one member just trying to hang on & these guys finish 2ND! Without the media's frenzy over Lance vs AC, this would & SHOULD have gotten a lot more attention. At least I & all the 'Argyle' fans will never forget it. Plus, CVV is now in 12th & Wiggo in 6th. Way to go, boys!

(4) Fabian 'LEAN ON ME' Cancellara. Dragged his entire team around that course like a man possessed. Anybody who wants to see what the Yellow jersey means to these guys should look at what Spartacus did today.

(5) Neal 'PIECE OF MY HEART' Rogers. Seriously, isn't he dreamy? :)


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE LONESOME LOSERS?
(1) Cadel 'TIRED OF WAITING FOR YOU' Evans. Yes, Cattle pulled AWAY from all but one other teammate in the final 100 meters, most likely out of pure frustration & panic, but, uh, that didn't help his 5th man get across any faster, now did it? This sub-par effort lost Cuddles ANOTHER 2.5 minutes to the top 4 Astana boys. Plus, now almost ALL the other GC contenders are ahead of him. The true offender here is SLotto's team management & cheap sponsors. What do they "have" on Cadel to keep him on this team? Incriminating photos with his dog or what?!

(2) Carlos 'DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY' Sastre. Yep, despite losing 1'37 to the Astana boys, Carlos is "happy". Well, when he compares himself to Cadel & Bambi, I guess he realizes it could have been a LOT worse. Bottom line is he's now 2'44 behind Lance. On the bright side, at the stage- winners' press conference, Lance 'WHY CAN'T WE BE FRIENDS' Armstrong apologized to both Carlos & CVV for some unkind remarks made last summer. Which "satisfied" Carlos & sent the Lance-as-Machiavelli believers into a tizy & where rumour has it - brought down at least a few blog/chat rooms. ;)


THEY CALL ME MR PITIFUL :
Denis 'ONLY YOU KNOW & I KNOW' Menchov. Actually, Bambi, we DON'T know why you no longer seem able to stay upright on your TT bike! And how can a guy all (except MOI) of the cycling 'experts' predicted would be on the podium be sitting now almost 4 MINUTES back in 72 (72ND!) place? Were you 'BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN'?

susie b

STAGE 5 - WED, JUL 8
********************************
Theme Song of the Day :
TURN, TURN, TURN, TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON


SUSIE'S SWEETIES :
(1) Thomas Voeckler, whose "season" seems to be every 5 years. Good for him - he was the stage winner via a breakaway. Last time he was a 'real presence' at the Tour was when Lance was riding. Looks like I won't be the only one 'WISHIN & A HOPIN' for an encore visit!

(2) Robbie 'YOU LOOK MAHVELOUS' Ventura. Seriously, don't you just want to squeeze his cheeks, he's so damn cute? And as frisky as a puppy. Tap that guy's energy & our dependence on Big Oil is OVUH! PLus, with his improvements over the years, he's truly a TV pro now. If he is ever not on the Versus Tour team, I will be verklempt. And btw, has he found the Fountain of Youth?!!

(3) Poor Robert 'SO LONG IT'S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YOU' Gesink of Rabobank. Sure, he should probably be on the LL list, but the guy crashed, broke his wrist, somehow finished the stage, & only THEN abandoned the Tour. See ya next year, Robert.

(4) Neal 'SOMETHING'S GOT A HOLD ON ME' Rogers. Am *I* the only one wanting more screen time for Mr Rogers?!


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE LONESOME LOSERS?
(1) All the sprinter teams. What a bunch of wankers. Have you that little faith in your own fast men? Shame on you. At least give them a CHANCE to beat Cav! Sure it must be demoralizing to see the same ass ahead of you crossing the line 1st, but every dog has his day! Get in the friggin hunt!

(2) Team Cursed, i.e., Rabobank. With their top GC contender so far down he can't see up, they then lose their only other CG possibilty, who was also to be a mountain helper for Bambi. Repeat after me boys : 'WE SHALL OVERCOME'.


THEY CALL ME MR. PITIFUL :
Alexander Wolff of SI. What was the point of his article? Old news & misleading news that didn't explain if or how anything has changed in cycling & it's 'War on Drugs' in the last two DECADES. Plus, INACCURACIES abounded. LeMond "faithfully rode in support of..Hinault's 1985 Tour victory"? I DON'T THINK SO. That the guy was supposedly covering the Tour at the time makes his errors even more unacceptable. Hey, Alex - it was 1989, NOT 87, that GL beat Fignon in the final TT & won the Tour by 8 seconds. Were YOU on dope at the time & that's why you don't remember what year it was? And of course, once again, we hear the same old crap that Europeans just shrug, expect,& accept doping in cycling while the know-nothing Pollyana Americans have a tizzy-fit. Really? REALLY? Why is it the SWISS are still hounding Ullrich three YEARS after the man retired? Why is it that the GERMAN TV networks pulled out DURING the 2007 Tour over Chicken & Vino? Why is it that the EUROPEAN newspapers ALL shrilled "The Tour is DEAD! The Tour is DEAD!" that year? That article was a POS - Piece of Shit. BTW, with all the proclamations & 'evidence' that "EVERYone' doped back in the day, WHEN will some so-called journalist take down Saint Greg? I'M WAITING.

susie b

STAGE 6 - THURS, JUL 9
********************************
Theme Song of the Day : SLIPPERY WHEN WET

(newsflash - We've all been lied to! The Rain in Spain does NOT Stay Mainly on the freakin Plain!)

SUSIE'S SWEETIES :
(1) David 'LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY' Millar. What an effort! From a 3-man breakaway & then a solo surge with 30K to go, he made it all the way to the end BUT for the final 1K. It was torture to keep from yellng out while listening & sneaking peaks here at work. Oh, the heartache when he was passed by the thundering peloton. But, at least he got to experience all those PEOPLE shouting & cheering for HIM! Reminded me of the Masters' leaders walking up to the 18th green on countless Sundays. Just a deluge of sound. It was truly an impressive effort & it almost didn't matter that he didn't cross the line 1st.

(2) Thor. Fitting that the God Of Thunder won on a day with torrential rain. He is now just one point behind Cav in the quest for the Green jersey.

(3) Will Frischkorn. No, I'm not hallucinating, I know he's not there this year. But, on his Rider Diary last year he used a phrase that I couldn't wait to swing out on the appropriate day : the roads were "SNOT-SLICK". Yes, they were! Love that. :) :) Miss you, Will.

(4) Neal 'YOU'RE ON MY HEART JUST LIKE A TATOO' Rogers.


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE LONESOME LOSERS?
(1)Most of the peloton as crashes, crashes, & more crashes had their effect today; you were just lucky to get through unscathed.

(2) Mick 'SUMMERTIME BLUES' Rogers. Had a bad crash & I worried the whole stage if he even finished as there was no news until FINALLY 13 minutes after the winner, they mentioned he crossed the Finish Line. I like him a bunch & hope he can heal up & continue. 'BABY, HOLD ON'!

(3) Daniele 'YOU'RE SO BEAUTIFUL' Bennati. I see his name on the GC list every day, but seriously, is he IN this race?


THEY CALL ME MR. PITIFUL (tie!) :
(1) Tom RipSNORTIN Boonen. Crashed hard within the last 6K, so out of sprint contention. Again. Is he perhaps a bit embarassed over what he DID off the bike (for the 3RD time) AND for what it took to get him IN the race, that he doesn't want to call more attention?

(2) Menchov finished ANOTHER MINUTE down. Oh, Bambi, sing it with me - "SOMETIMES YOU'RE THE WINDSHIELD, SOMETIMES YOU'RE THE BUG".

'Sometimes it all comes together
Sometimes you're gonna lose it all.'

susie b

STAGE 7 - FRI, JUL 10
********************************
Theme Songs of the Day :
WHAT'S GOIN' ON?
YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET


SUSIE'S SWEETIES :
(1)Lance 'HOLDIN BACK THE YEARS' Armstrong continues to defy some people's expectations, defy detractors, & even defy Old Man Time, as there he was, in the lead group all day & then marking his TEAM'S rivals on the final mountain while a supposed teamMATE defied something, or more specifically, someONE else....

(2) Team 'LOVE DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE' Astana. Well, despite things not going to PLAN, the bottom line is that Team Dysfunction is sitting 2,3,4 on GC, where #1 (Nocentini) is possibly the happiest & most shocked guy on the planet. Who said there are NO GIFTS in this sport? ;)

(3) Christian 'ALL RIGHT NOW' Vande Velde & Bradley 'WHO....ARE YOU' Wiggins. Both stayed up with the contenders all day & are now sitting 8th & 5th. I'm not sure who is the bigger surprise : CVV, the Miracle Man, who's supposed to just be happy to be there after his Giro injuries, or Wiggo, a guy who couldn't even get over a mountain a few years ago. On any other team, I'd look askance at Wiggo, but I believe the transformation is due to his new devotion to the Road (& not Track) & well, do they have Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem in Great Britain? Wiggo - I see a payday coming your way! Anyway, I'm thrilled CVV has more mountain help this year & ecstatic that he's still a podium contender! And Brad, you 'KEEP ON KEEPIN ON'!

(4) Brice, Brice, Baby! LIKE A VIRGIN', in his 1st Pro year & in his 1st Tour de France, Brice Feillu didn't just win his 1st Tour stage win but his 1st pro win of ANY kind! I'm not sure who was happier - he or his big bro Roman, last seen slapping palms on his own final 20 meters to the line & tearily telling one & all he knew his little brother could do it. And for those counting, this is France's 2ND stage win in the SAME Tour!

(5) Neal 'OOOH, BABY, BABY' Rogers.


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE LONESOME LOSERS?
(1) Fabian 'IT'S A HEARTACHE' Cancellara. Yes, nothin but a heartache for me to see a cracked Spartacus on the final mountain. Of course, those TWO flat tires didn't help him any today! At least we all got to see Sunshine Superman for 6 straight days. He'll rest up now & do team-support for Andy until the final TT. Plus, you never know, if Andy falls out of podium contention, Riis may give the greenlight to get in a break. And THAT, my friends, would be FIERCE! :)


THEY CALL ME MR.PITIFUL :
Boonen crashed AGAIN. Ok, it this court-mandated?

cat

Sorry to interupt, and my apologies for not reading your wonderful stage reports just yet susieb, but, BUT BUTTTTT

Did you guys read FAtty's today? Didja see the video of our own sweet Matt? GO LOOK!!!!

http://www.fatcyclist.com/

cat

susieb, just for this alone (and your adulation of Neal "Brown eyes" Rogers who is as cu-ooote and approachable in person as on TV) I love you to death:

"Were YOU on dope at the time & that's why you don't remember what year it was?"

cat

Plus, didja get my email that "he who must not be named" posted on his site? He didn't say he bought a ticket, but said he's agoin'. Let's hope he manages to do that before the tour ends!

cat

Great reports, susieb!!!!

When ARE you going to start your own blog?

jessica

susieb

I. Just. Peed. My. Pants. Or, if I was a Tweeter or a texter, it would be

IJPMP

FANtastic!! And the perfect antidote to an off-day!! Now we all have pitch-perfect music to go with the riders.

Now I have to check out Matt; I emailed him to wish him luck and am picturing him blinking his way around work today, shocked at what an amazing day he probably had on Sun.

janann

Oh my Susie! LOL!! Thanks for the laughs and my faves are:

" Brice, Brice, Baby!"
&
"What do they "have" on Cadel to keep him on this team? Incriminating photos with his dog or what?!"

IJPMP too ;)

HOORAY for our boy Matt!!!!

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