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« Bring on the Thunder | Main | Heartbreak »

July 14, 2009

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cat

Have a wonderful rest, Sara! At least you won't miss the Alps. I'm off to a little Inn in MI. Off work this week and enjoying the rest. The ICU has been incredibly grueling the past two weeks. Lot's of sad situations and drama.

Today was a bit of a yawn, no? Is it just a statemement on the feelings of the teams to ride slowly or are they perhaps also unwilling to take risks without any radio contact? I thought someone might try to take advantage of the lack of communication, but the peloton seems fairly stalwart in their effort to discourage doing radio silence again. I guess if you want to hit the bosses where it hurts, this is one way.

Matt

Hey Ya'll...I'm real busy at the moment, but thought I'd just mention that the LiveStrong ride/event this last weekend in San Jose went off spectacularly! Our team (of which I was FAttys Co-Captain) won the "Team Champion" award, and I got to give a speech. Woo-hoo...can you say NERVOUS? Only 270 guests, including the keynote speaker Carly Fioriena (the ex-CEO of Hewlet Packard, who is currently fighting cancer). My brother Greg had it videotaped and Fatty has since posted it on his site, along with OUR team picture at the start line Sunday morning. Being Team Champions meant we had front of the pack priviliges for the start. The horn went off and so did we, holding the police escort as long as we could (I dropped off finally at mile 19, having held a 22mph average speed as we zoomed thru San Jose with full police escort!) It just doesn't get much better than that! Of course, I paid for that nearly hour-long effort over the next 81 miles and 4200' of climbing. But I came across the line with a 5:44 ride time (not counting the support stops). Greg CRUSHED me with something like a 5:22...well done my brother! (is THAT how you treat your captain?)

OK..gotta run..and somehow catch up on that little event overseas that kept Lance from being there at HIS event! Stupid TDF! (just kidding! RIDE LANCE, RIDE!)

susie b

STAGE 8 - SAT, JUL 11
********************************
Theme Song of the Day :
AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH


SUSIE'S SWEETIES :
(1) LL San-chez! One of three remaining breakers & with some smart riding, he took the stage win. Anybody know if the "Ladies Love" him? :)

(2) Thor 'I'LL TELL YOU WANT I WANT, WHAT I REALLY, REALLY WANT' Hushovd. And that would be the frickin Green jersey, people! Which, he ripped offa Cav's back today thanks to some strategic moves. This is shaping up to be the quite the fascinating Green jersey battle!

(3) George 'EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY' Hincapie. And who doesn't love Big George? Perhaps he was not 'BORN TO BE WILD', but he WAS born to be a damn good bike racer! One of 4 remaining breakers til the final mountain, his early efforts in the break tired out his legs too much & fans the world over cried out 'DON'T STOP BELIEVIN! as there's surely another Tour stage win in his future.

(4) Andy 'GIM-ME SOME LOVIN' Schleck. Ok, Andy, you're now officially a Susie Sweetie! Even though his attack didn't shed any of the top guys, it did cause some excitment & showed he's definitely ONE of if not THE top non-Astana contenders. Which may not have been a good thing to reveal at THIS point, but hey, you're young & feelin' frisky & you think there's a CHANCE to put the hurt on the Dream Team, so you take it.

(5) Neal 'CAN'T KEEP MY EYES OFF OF YOU' Rogers. Can't decide whether I like the black shirt or red shirt better. If I could VOTE, I'd say NO shirt, but for some reason, Velonews doesn't have THAT poll. ;)


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE LONESOME LOSERS?
(1) Cadel 'I STARTED A JOKE' Evans. Well, maybe not a joke but it sure was curious to see him try to get in the breakaway even BEFORE the 1st mountain. I'm assuming this was caused by his own irritation at the media constantly telling him he has to "attack" or perhaps out of his own desperation &/or panic. Or maybe due to some severely stupid instructions from his DS. Even a non-expert like me knows this was not the stage to try an attack & especially at that point in the stage or in the Tour. I feel for Cattle & do believe he CAN make back some time, although his chances at the podium do look 'ALREADY GONE'. Althoooooough, stranger things have happened in the Tour!

(2) Mark 'IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN' Cavendish. I actually feel a bit sorry for Cav. On paper, it looked like he could possibly win 6-7 stages in this year's Tour. And thanks to the equivalent of being treated like a homerun hitter forced to 'walk', he probably won't even get the chance. I don't care if it's good "tactics", I'm calling out most of the other sprint teams as LOSERS. Why doesn't the ASO fine this? They have stoopid fines for everything else!


THEY CALL ME MR. PITIFUL :
Oscar 'AND ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST' Pereiro. Abandoned the Tour during the stage due to "mental fatigue". Um, ok. I DO still feel sorry for his horrific crash in last year's Tour, but I'll just never, NEVER forgive him for his actions & incessant whining after the 2006 Tour. Where he should have just kept his damn mouth SHUT as the luckiest guy on the planet for even being within SNIFFING distance of the podium. 30 MINUTES DOWN. The one thing I have a hard time forgiving Floyd for is letting THAT idiot make up all that time on the WORST Tour Saturday I can remember. And one more thing - Oscar Whiner is NOT & NEVER will be the freakin winner of the 2006 Tour.

JeffK

You're telling us you're going to a cottage in the middle of the Tour when eight seconds separate the top three riders? A cottage without a satellite dish and a 46" flat screen?

Sorry. No sale. You're in jail, aren't you? It's ok to ask for help, sweetie....

nakigrl

But it's only for a "few days", so my guess is that she is going to rehab.

I think after July I shall be looking for a support group called Cycling Fans Anonymous.

cat

PMP&LOMAO!!! You guys are so funny! This is a form of family rehab I am sure. In my case, Hubby is patient, to a point, with Le Tour "All Day All Night, MaryAnn," at our house, but my concession of giving up two days (before the Alps, but what does he need to know about that?) to sip wine and read a few good books, was enough to restore his faith. i can't get him to watch with any regularity. I've explained the bones of the deal, as I understand them, answered questions about why someone does or doesn't attack, how the points for the green, polka-dot and white (I don't really know much about that one other than it is for the under 25 riders) jerseys work. Sorta. Well, pretty good anyway....but he doesn't get into it! You'd think someone who has a brain that understands the obtuse rules of American Football would easily grasp cycling, but I suppose it's just a matter of passion more than anything else. He's (I shudder to admit this since it makes him sound like all those other silly Americans some of us tease about)---only interested in Lance. Oh, and Floyd!! (whew, he's saved from the stereotype since he knows more about his drug test than most anyone not into cycling, Thanks to Trust but Verify-bless their little hearts, you saved my marriage!) If Floyd was riding, against Lance, well, he said THEN he'd be interested!

Is Floyd riding in Leadville? Is it televised? I don't remember seeing it anywhere except in snippets on You Tube. Hubby might watch that; it's individual mano e mano stuff. Hey, can you believe Lance actually told (was it Neal Rogers?) that the Tour was preparation for Leadville? Yeah, I am sure everyone believes that.

debi

susieb - one word. BRILLIANT! absofriggenlutely wonderful posts. thank you.

hey matt - chapeau dude.

gee, there're some amazing people here at the IA.

anyone else think that the announcement about contador possibly going to alonzo's team next year plays RIGHT into lance's hands? my money says team "LOVE DON"T LIVE HERE ANYMORE" are more likely to put their backs into it for lance than conti.

i must make a confession here. i completely loved the radio ban stage. i loved seeing all the guys riding "piano". i loved seeing the map coming out and being consulted, the whole peloton talking to each other.
what i didn't like was kurt's crash. that hurt.

Theresa

Right on, guys! debi, kurt was really in pain...and had to finish the stage. Riding without radios...saw more conversation with the riders and everyone was all mixed up, instead of riding in little team bunches!
I hope that made sense!

Have fun Sara! And Matt; you are one awesome dude!!!!

susie b

Thanks to everyone for letting me go on (& on :) & even appreciating it! I do get a kick of writing that stuff up & it makes me feel so good that SOMEone else likes it. :) When I watch the stages at night, or live on the weekends, those song titles just keep busting into my thought processing of it all!

Anyway, today I am so LIVID at the "race referees" I could SCREAM! I do NOT understand why there was not a race protest THIS morning! I do not care what ANYone else says, that 15 freakin second docking was PAYBACK to the teams for all the squawking over the radio ban & for the slow-down yesterday. And most EPSPECIALLY, it was a 'fuck-you' to Johan, who ring-led the petition against the radio-ban. They saw one of Johan's top guys (Levi) in the middle of the pack & thought OH BOY, we're gonna screw 'em now! I watched the last 5K live yesterday on Versus.com & again last night & it was the SAME as on EVERY frickin sprint finish. There was no real GAP! In fact, REAL gaps are seen on ALL the other stage finishes & they didn't take seconds from any of them unless they were WAY behind! I mean 20-30 FEET.

That 15 seconds could keep Levi off the podium. I am IRATE. For the huge majority of the peloton, at least those behind 20th place, it means nothing, but for all those 20th & up, it is huge. Shit like this is why I sometimes question my interest in this sport. All the politics & paybacks, it makes me sick.


Also, does anyone know what's up with Danny Pate? Is he sick or injured? I can't find anything out, but EVERYday, he just BARELY finishes. Even on flat stages, he's in the last 10 to cross the line, often minutes behind. I'm worried as I'm afraid he'll miss the cut on one of the Alp stages. So, have any of you heard anything? I was so hoping he'd be able to try another breakaway this year.

And Matt - I'm SO impressed. Congrats for all your hard work. And NOW, we want to see you HERE for the rest of the Tour! We miss your comments! So, rest up for, well, you've had enough already (;), & get back here!

cat

What the...I missed the 15 second thing. Please 'splain it to me?

Ooops, gotta get goin with Hubby to MI!! Ketcha Friday evening!

cat

Forgot to congratulate Ms T on the ToM funds being released! WooHoo!!! I know that must make you happy!

darren

Susie B,
This just in; Levi was put back in 4th on GC after race jury decision from stage 10 (from Team Astana update.

susie b

So, apparently, voodoo works quite well across the ocean. ;) ;) Yep, the race jury came to their senses & decided NOT to dock those people the 15 seconds. OR some team managers had a "little talk" with them & encouraged them to see the IDIOCY of that original decision. I still believe they did that as payback to the teams & especially Johan. Who knows, they may have planned to give the seconds back the next day all along & just wanted to cause them grief.

Also, good news - Danny was interviewed by my OTL today & he seems fine. He did say he had a hard time in the Pyrenees. I was able to listen to the last hour today on versus.com & heard Danny's name being mentioned as helping Tyler, so I'm so glad he's ok!

BTW, last week I asked ya'll about the commercials barging in & I now know it is my local cable provider - stinkin COMCAST. I have called them twice to complain/scream. The fellas will be talking right TO THE FREAKIN CAMERA & boom, there's a commercial. They'll be doing a special segment or Frankie & Robbie will be interviewing someone & boom, commercical. By the time it comes back, the interviews are over, or I hear the last question. I am FURIOUS. I stayed home last Friday morning to watch that day's racing live & on that day PLUS Sat & Sun when the "30 minute commercial-FREE" segments were announced, guess what happened between 7-15 minutes in? Yep, COMMERCIALS barged in. Same thing during the Prime Time shows supposed "commercial-free" segments. I've watched the Tour on Versus since 2003 & it has never been like this. I am so angry about it as it's almost ruining the Tour me. OH & often, these damn commercials will happen within a single MINUTE of Versus going to or coming back from a REGULARLY scheduled commercial. I'm going to complain to Versus next & see if they even know it's happening.

And what's REALLY aggravating is that my voodoo magic has had no effect! ;)

And hey darren, are you Ripcurl or a different darren? Either way, great to have you here & thanks for the heads up.

Cat - I haven't read anywhere about Floyd & Leadville this year but Lance said he & Levi will both be there. It's not been televised over the past years, but WHEN Lance wins the Tour this year, you'd think SOME network would figure out a way to cover it as it could be Lance's "celebratory parade" of sorts. Plus, the only place Americans can see him compete til next Feb. And he was joking to Neal about the Tour just being prep for Leadville! :) However, he does REALLY want to beat Dave W - I think that killed him last year!

Darren

It's me, rip, susie b. As for Leadville. Check out superhumanmag.com. They had some of the best publicly available coverage last year. Leadville's a bit of a strange place to expect to get great coverage. I rode it last year until a mechanical doused my hopes. (exploded fr. dérailleur and broken chain). didn't make the time cut at mile 40 w/ my single gear. Anyhow, Wiens said he's not training any more or less this year. But yeah, Lance was disappointed but a pretty good sport. Wiens is a first class act.

Darren

Oh and Floyd's pretty devoted to Rory Sutherland and OUCH Maxxis. I'm not thinking Leadville's somewhere he either wants to be or will be allowed by his team

Barbara

Welcome back, Rip! Saw your name yesterday and hoped it was you.

And didn't Lance help Wiens shave something like an hour off his Leadville time? Just by riding with him and pushing him?

Susie, you have given me one more reason to be glad I have FIOS and not to listen to people who try to sell me Comcast. That is just WRONG.

darren

Barbara,

Thx for the welcome mat.  Speaking of Matts... Congrats on LS Challenge with Fatty and your speech! Awesome! Well done!

Back to Wiens & Lance working together: They definitely crushed to former best time.  Much more than even when Floyd was in hot pursuit. I cheered them on as they came flying past me down the fire road at their mile seventy. (It was my mile 30. I was bringing up the race rear - having spent an hour getting eaten alive by mosquitoes while trying to dislodge a link of my broken chain from my rear derailleur cage and convert my bike to a single gear just to continue. From their, my own pace was steady on the climbs and lethargic on the flats due to my itty bitty gear.) When they came by I hollered "Go Lance" and noticed his yellow #7 race number at the front of his bike.  Dave's was #1 in the customary red on white.  I sheepishly regretted not including Dave in my cheer. And hated the embarassment of being the last ass on the trail.  Hopefully, they didn't take notice.  Apparently, after riding up the Powerline climb(first time not pushing the bike up it for Dave) and driving the pace together back up from Turquoise Lake, at mile ninety, Lance admitted to Dave that he was gassed and told him to push on ahead.  That didn't mean Lance stopped chasing.  If fact, Lance overbaked a turn and took a spill in the dirt near the run in to the finish.  Wiens came in on a squishy rear tire, but knew he couldn't stop and had to keep going to stay in front.  Lance disappeared from the finish for a bit and then returned to composed and was very congratulatory in post race interviews. The were both great speaking before the race and afterward at the awards presentation.  Dave remarked that this wasn't the same Lance that won 7 tours implying the beating this Lance was not to be confused with that Lance.  Wiens is the hometown (close enough) guy and huge local favorite. Humble, classy, approachable and a legend in his own right.  As for Levi and Lance riding this year, it'll be great if it happens.  With the benefit of more horsepower, it's not too technical, they could certainly go faster.  Us Earthlings, not so much, but those guys, sure.  It's a helluva race between 10,000 and 12,500 ft.

As for TV coverage of Leadville, that's a tough nut to crack once they leave the paved road. It'd be fun to see somebody with the resources try  for sure.

susie b

Rip/Darren! GREAT to hear from you! It's been far, FAR too long (over year & a half I think). And I loved your Leadville write-up. Too bad about your own bike though. Will you try again?

The only Leadville video footage I've ever seen has been personal footage on Fatty's, I think. Maybe TBV had links to something back when Floyd raced it in 2007, but I can't remember. I do think it's a shame that one of the sports networks don't cover it. But then, that would take precious air time away from freakin POKER! Sorry, it's just one of my pet peeves. Poker is NOT a sport, NOT A SPORT! OK, breathe in, breathe out... ;)

Anyway, great to hear from you Darren. How's the family? Are you still in Minnesota? What's your prediction for the rest of the Tour?

susie b

STAGE 9 - SUN, JUL 12
********************************
Theme Song of the Day :
BALL OF CONFUSION


SUSIE'S SWEETIES :
(1) Phil & Paul. One of these years, one or both of these guys won't be doing our Tour play-by-play & I start hyperventilating at the thought. And luckily for those of us who can't see every stage live at home, we can listen in/sneak peeks on versus.com this year! When I compare them to that bore from many of Universal's Giro stages or the Eurosport guys, well, it's not even a contest : P2 win going away!

(2) Bobke & Hummer. Unlike some cycling fans, I enjoy BOTH the live coverage by P2 AND the Prime Time edition with these two fellas. You can tell they really get along AND 'get' each other, which has made their commentary even better than last year. My only complaint with the evening show (besides COMCAST's evilness) is not with Bob & Craig but that there are TOO many 'special segments'. I don't mean the visits by Frankie & Robbie, as I love those (hey, why can't we SEE them this year?!), but the other stuff. Sure, on some of the flat stages, they'd be welcome, but Versus has shoehorned them in every friggin night. Just too much.

(3) The cycling fans on the Tourmalet today. Apparently, no one told them that the mountain wouldn't matter this year, as they were out in FORCE! And thanks to them, I ALMOST forgot the ASO's questionable course design this year & just enjoyed the sunny day, the gorgeous scenery, the impressive athletes, AND ALL the screaming people.

(4) Neal 'WHAT DOES IT TAKE (TO WIN YOUR LOVE)' Rogers. Seriously, I'm askin'. :)


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE LONESOME LOSERS?
(1) Cycling fans not actually AT the Tourmalet today. I know, I know, not every mountain stage can end with a mt-top finish & with such a hard 3rd week, you don't want to tire out ALL the riders too early. AND yes, you WANT the Tour to be exciting & not decided til as close to the end as possible. But, BUT, these 3 days in the Pyrenees were a joke. Especially today. Here you have one of cycling's MYTHIC mountains & it's castrated! And I ask you - have you EVER seen THAT big of a "GC group" on the Tourmalet? As I sat staring at the TV, I was literally a 'ball of confusion'.

(2) Poor Franco 'HAIR, HAIR, GIMME A HEAD WITH HAIR' Pellizotti. One of the two remaining breakers who makes it ALL the way to the end only to be nipped at the line by the French guy Fedrigo. While this result was cause for celebration in France as it was three, count 'em, THREE stage wins for the home 'team', an event which hadn't been achieved in over a decade, Franco's only solace is that he racked up some KOM points. That & the knowledge he could join the cast of HAIR if this cycling gig gets boring.


THEY CALL ME MR. PITIFUL :
The ASO for designing a course that is SO backloaded that without Lance in the race, they couldn't have PAID anyone but we hardcore cycling fanatics to watch most of the 1st two weeks.

susie b

STAGE 10 - MON, JUL 13
********************************
Theme Songs of the Day :
SLOW RIDE
STOP, HEY WHAT'S THAT SOUND?


SUSIE'S SWEETIES :
(1) Mark 'I'LL TAKE YOU THERE' Renshaw. This King of the Lead-out Men was described as an "artist' by a DS on his team - Columbia. And I agree. No one TAKES their sprinter to the exact right position any better than he & even if Cav is a demon on wheels, even he knows that without such a perfect leadout, he probably wouldn't be putting quite so many 'kill' stickers on his bike. Plus, he's cute & got that adorable Aussie accent. What's not to love?!

(2) Bonnie D. 'MY GIRL' Ford. Unlike a few OTHER Tour writers of the last decade, OUR girl Bonnie has been on location since the beginning. Plus, she's a veritable multi-media princess; she does excellent almost-daily 'print' pieces on ESPN.com, audio call-ins to the Sports Center hosts & then also some video summaries of the day's events. Plus, she did one of if not the best pre-Tour interviews with Lance. (See it on ESPN.com). I've read pretty much EVERY article ANYwhere since he announced his Comeback & her recent piece was one of the best.

(3) Neal 'BROWN-EYED HANDSOME MAN' Rogers. If Neal can actually play the guitar like Chuck, I may have to MOVE to Boulder. ;)


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE LONESOME LOSERS?
(1) The French teams & cyclists as despite a banner Tour already, they just couldn't win one on Bastille Day. But, at least they tried!

(2) Marty 'BORN TO RUN' Dugard. The Tour is half over & he's STILL not there. When he finally does arrive, his dispatches better FLY ME TO THE MOON or I will be the QUEEN of DISENCHANTMENT.


THEY CALL ME MR. PITIFUL :
Originally, I had written up the Tour commisaires for assessing a 15 second penalty on half the peloton for a phantom 'gap' at the Finish. But, they reconsidered the next day & gave back the seconds, so instead we have our 1st repeat offenders - the ASO. For making us all take a 'spin' in the 'Wayback Machine'. I understand the thinking against the radios, but if a GC contender has a mechanical or crash & the team car either doesn't know or can't get to him as fast, it would be a ridiculous way to lose the Tour in the 21st century.

darren

My tour prediction. The BOSS is back. If he has the legs, he's going to crush everyone in the mountains and the the time trial. The best thing for AC's career and future would be to ride in support. He may have pissed that all away already. The guy can climb like a kite but he'll be left dangling if he won't come to heel. I'd like it to get good and nasty this week and see who's truly the best. Hinnault doing his best to incite a no holds barred tour. If AC has the ego and lack of vision I think has, were in for a big treat. Don't discount the mayhem to come when Garmin sends Wiggo and VV into it along with Schleck, Sastre, and Cadel. Astana's gonna need cajones the size of TEXAS to do this thing right, or at least ONE, and they got the right Texan for that! Oh and Levi, keep the rubber side down! FreeLance all you want, but Free Lance up that mountain!

jessica

NAKIGIRL

ARE YOU OK?

darren

Why does all the weird stuff happen over night? Woke up to learn Levi's out???

Amy

Ugh. Levi being out kind of changes things for Lance too, doesn't it? How disappointing for both of them... and for us too!!

susie b

OHHHH NOOOOOOO! I'm SO upset! I was able to see that last 10K yesterday on versus.com & when I saw the LITTLE bit they had on Levi & Cadel's crash, I was worried the rest of the day. I kept checking every cycling site for info & I checked Levi's twitter incessantly, but all seemed ok! Still, I worried all night long anyway, as I had flashbacks to Horner in the Giro. Maybe I'm psychic!

I'm so upset for Levi & for Lance. I truly expected them BOTH to be on the podium. Now, I lose one of my favorite riders from the Tour AND Lance looses his TOP Lt. It's blood in the water over there now, those other teams will be like piranhas!

I blame Dugard! He finally, FINALLY gets his ass over there & within a few hours, Levi's out of the Tour & Lance's chances take a hit! ;) ;)

Anyway, loved your prediction, Darren. "FreeLance all you want, but Free Lance up that mountain". Loved that! If ONLY it could have come true. Sniff, sniff.

And, um, I must have had a brain freeze yesterday, as Stage 10 was on TUESDAY, Jul 14. Sorry for any confusion. :)

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