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« Stage Fifteen - Haven't Seen It | Main | Stage Sixteen - Seen It »

July 23, 2007



Thanks Sara, hope you have time to watch the sun rise, your kids sleep, and the steam from your coffee coil and swirl in the early morning mist.


Holy Hand-Grenades Batman! (I JUST finished watching Stage 15 and finally read the 'seen it'..guess I missed the Party ONCE AGAIN! But anyway...VINO! VINO! VINO! Dang...that guy is like a bad check (just keeps coming back to haunt you!) He's the Fav to win, no, he's toast, wait..he's BACK! Wait..he's complete crispy toast. BUT WAIT! Here he is AGAIN! And to all who had mentioned this, I also was thinking it as he zoomed the downhill...what an AWESOME comeback after such a COMPLETE collapse yesterday, aka-FLOYD! So..Mr Pound, are you gonna go after VINO like you did Floyd? He did go up the last climb like he was on a gosh darn harley! Or just MAYBE, athlete DOESN'T have to be cheating to have an awesome day?? Hmm...what a thought, eh DICK??? Give it a bit..maybe it will sink in. Or not...probably the latter. Onward....Levi..for whatever reason, has missed the boat (a few days ago actually)...barring an utter collapse by the Chicken AND Conti, I think he's "played it safe" right into 4th place. I think if I was DC manager on Weds stage, I'd have a similar setup like today w/ the boyz up front, only instead of Popo going for a break (which Rabobank let go, as they should have) on the climbs, it would be LEVI attacking! Yes, LEVI! his top podium slot has been taken away by's time he becomes the super-domestique and earns his pay! The Chicken would ABSOLUTLY HAVE to respond...and then levi backs it down when he does, but then attacks again, and AGAIN, much like Conti did today! Let Rabobank defend THIS! and after multiple attacks (Predictor Lotto would prob want to get into this action also), Conti hangs back where Levi has been, w/ Geroge and Popo protecting him...and after Levi and Cadel have plucked and marinated The Chicken at every turn, Conti does what he has shown us he can do: sprint away from everybody! The chicken would be FRIED! DEEP FRIED! EXTRA CRISPY! And then yellow going into the flats would be on AC/DC! (sorry..a bit of ROCK humor there!)

As much as I am glad to see Vino pull the win today, when I saw Geroge in the break I REALLY had my fingers crossed for him! BUT, that said, the look on Vino's face when he crossed...surely brings a tear to the eye. Oh..been meaning to ask this: does ANYBODY else out there think the specialized helmets of Astana look like they are wearing a 'Pope' hat when they put their head down (and viewed from behind?) I guess I'm I think strange things like this..and EVERY TIME I see one of them this tour, I think "POPE HAT!" (too bad DC isn't wearing them, then it could be "Pope'O'vitch" (OUCH!!)

OK..enoguh oh man, can this race GET any better? (answer: YES! See below!) And to all the Chicken haters out there, I have to say that putting aside all the 'other' (and probably IMPENDING) stuff that is going on about his past, he's not my Fav real good reason. But he just 'doesn't seem' like a TDF WINNER to me. BUT..he is and has been doing the about a LONGSHOT! His TEAM doesnt' even really think he's a winner..but here is, day after day, doing what is needed to WIN the Mellow Johnny in Paris! I HAVE to give him kudos for that. He has taken the race by the handlebars and made it HIS to win or lose. Everybody else is fighting for an outside CHANCE to win. The last MT stage after rest day will be HUGE HUGE HUGE! If Conti, Cadel and Levi (the only true contenders left by my count) can't hurt him and get some/most of their time back, then the race will be the Chickens to win (or lose) in the final TT.

dang this got long..but SO MUCH TO SAY, SO FEW STAGES LEFT! WHAT A RACE! I'm gonna be in withdrawl for a MONTH!


Oh..and Sara, WHERE do you get these pics? I LOVE the BRAND SPANKKIN' NEW show of Vino today! gosh, what a fighter! you just have to love that guy! Talk about NEVER SAY DIE! I think Susie said it (if I'm wrong I apologize to the author) but I would certainly buy a wristband that says "what would VINO do" ...for when troubles and hard times comes-a-callin! RIDE VINO RIDE!


Aaaahhh...another rest day, just in time as my VAT return is due in tomorrow and i haven't yet reconciled my cash book!! i've just realised that i've been doing this posting thing all wrong - like posting comments in old sections etc, but it doesn't help that we're out of whack chronologically, so when i'm waking up, you're off to bed!

anyway, all i wanted to say is i LOVE contador - he's so enthusiastic and fresh faced. like sara (and everyone else), i am in awe of anyone who can ride a bike like these guys can - but i just can't warm to "the yellow spaghetti". and although he's got quite a mean sense of humour, he's just so....bleached, um....and oh god, i wish he'd shave properly.


Here I am up late -- and how nice to find a new post here :) LOL - maybe THAT is what has been driving me crazy about him Debi -- the bad shave! It is something (petty admittedly) that I notice every time he's on the podium.

Great post, Matt. You communicate your enthusiasm so well! The Astana helmets have been driving me crazy every time I see them from the back, but the "Pope hat" comparison hadn't struck me. I'm sure it will NOW ;)
I'll be is SERIOUS withdrawl after this Tour is over, too!


Debi, I agree, Rasmussen's long body, and fair(bleached)complexion, makes that facial hair look like he needs to wipe his face off!
I swear I have not been able to keep up on the comments on MD, and read all the other blogs too, so I stick close to home, here at Sara's. It'll be bittersweet when the Tour is over; it'll be nice to have some of my time back to do things, like make sure my checkbook is balanced, etc.
Has anyone thought about the negative talk, having an affect on Rassmussen, like Lance used to deal with?? He may just be that much more determined. One comment I was reading, the guy said that he wanted him to win, to make the UCI and the ASO squirm!!
I respect the yellow jersey, no matter who is wearing it. And I never thought I'd turn into such a Vino supporter after 2005; he drove me crazy, he was so aggressive against his own teammates. Now I love that about him!! So you never know how your feelings might change towards a rider, after you've read some stuff about him.
And I do want to remind everyone that Lance was bashed by everybody, from the beginning to the end,when he was winning the Tour, even tho' we(american fans) loved him...or a lot of us did. There were US Lance-haters even then.


I agree, Theresa... we fans can be *rather* fickle and hard to please. Nit-picky probably wouldn't be an overstatement. I read over on MDs today where Eric Hillebrand was saying how Vino was essentially selfish and self-serving to have gone for the stage win instead of helping Kloden move up on the GC. Someone quoted Cadel as saying that Astana rode stupidly. Hmmm. Well, Kloden isn't necessarily out of the running at least for the podium, but yeah, it didn't help him. I know as a Vino fan I absolutely LOVED what Vino did. So I'm not sure what to think. I guess anyone could second-guess what anyone else did until the cows come home. Which reminds me of the Chicken (MOOOOO!!!) Sorry. :) But Theresa, you're right that getting and keeping the yellow jersey is quite a feat. Probably the less I say on that the better, because I'm not as objective about it as I ought to be.

I'm already sorry it's a rest day and I have to do real-life procrastinated things :)


Vino tests positive!!!

Holy shit.....what is the world coming to?


Vino positive, there goes the Tour:


Team Astana has completely withdrawn from the Tour according to VeloNews.


On this note...(WOW)...I think I will just go on and move Claire's stuff out of her apartment...

I'm actually chuckling to myself. I am a sap.

I guess he just wanted one last BLOW-OUT experience before he bowed out for good. Consequences be damned.

(and of course there's always the possibility that LNDD struck again...)


susie b

Why didn't all you real-time watchers TELL ME yesterday that the CHICKEN HAWK not only had been sighted but had swooped into action & his name is Alberto Contador!! Attack, attack, attack, attack! The Chicken Hawk was on the HUNT! Loved it!

Just wish Levi could have stayed closer. I have not given up on Levi getting to the podium. I SOOOOO want him on there! Levi & the other Disco Boys may have somethin' up their sleeves for tomorrow! Plus, Chicken could have a bad day tomorrow or a horrendous TT & the podium could completely shift around. Heck, not even spectacular-bad as in 2005, just his usual sucky job in the TT. Or somebody could crash! Look at that guy that was 9 MINUTES ahead of The Cannibal, crashed & then another guy crashed ON him & he's out of the race! Sometimes I just think my heart can't take it. Especially on the final TT. Last year, I almost bit through my hand watching Floyd! Y'know, it's funny, but I almost never worried when Lance rode. I just ALWAYS figured he'd 'do it'! The very few times he didn't (like that one TT, I forget which year, but I think 2003), I was so shocked, it was like somebody slapped me!

As for Eric on MDs. I think that guy has stick up his ass. He ticked me off last week by calling me "melodramatic". Hmmmmmphhhh! I was just my usual enthusiastic self! I decided to joke it off, but the guy is starting to irritate me! At least now, he's dumping on Marty. 1st off, Astana appears to believe Kloden can NOT win, so they're gonna go for every Stage win they can, which is considered VERY prestigious by the riders & the sponsors, MUCH more than finishing 4th overall. And 2nd, the quote *I* read from Cadel is that he said RABOBANK was stupid for riding so hard on the front, NOT Astana.

Awwww SHIT! Just saw your comment Juie. DAMN it! Sorry, Vino, but IF those tests are true, I hope you are NEVER allowed back into this race & you are thrown OUT of cycling. This may kill the Tour! THIS year of ALL years, it needed to be squeeky clean! This may just kill pro-cycling entirely! DAMN him! And y'know what?! I don't give a frak if the guy was shattered & desperate after his crash & that this was his last freakin chance at the Tour! DAMN HIM! Well, at least I have someone else to HATE besides John Lelangue now....

And NOW, Austin can rightfully call it "Tour de Farce". I am devastated.


Camille - I am chuckling too, I often do that in reaction to bad news, glad I'm not the only one. :-) But really, it's just soooo stupid the only thing I can do is laugh and shake my head. More than feeling anything towards Vino, I just feel so bad for the other riders in the peloton, I can't imagine that frustration.


Julie, I have gotten uncontrollable silent giggles on more than one occasion at funerals. I think it has to do with being a big fan of absurdity. (L'Absurde, as they call it in existentialism. And this latest development is nothing if not absurd. Wow. Wowee wow Wow...

Have a great day, everybody! LOL


Wow...WOW! I don't even have words to describe what I"m feeling right now...VINO CHEATED! Damn Damn DAMN! Talk about a story to overshadow the rest of the race! (kind of like yesterdays stage...the media was ALL OVER Vino's stage win, THEN they got back to the fight for #1). I wonder how the Tour deals with this? (and the UCI)? Hate to make the comparison, but if Vino cheated, who is NOT succeptable? A few days ago I would have said you were NUTS if you think he would. That wall has come crashing down. I guess the pressure to WIN is too much...even for the best in the world (or more likely, ESPECIALLY for the best in the world...they have SO MUCH farther to fall than 'peleton joe' who nobody knows). I bet Dick is just wringing his hands in glee, giggling to himself saying "I TOLD YOU SO!" to anybody who will listen. Yes, the tour must go on, but to what purpose? EVERYBODY who does well is under suspicion. Maybe we NEED these amazing performances. We NEED Conti and Ras duking it out on the high climbs, leaving everybody else in the dust. Sports without heroic performances is just plain boring, meaning NO $ coming in! And sports is all about $ in this day and age. Not necessarily for the athletes, but surely for the media and fans. No heroic performances, no TV ratings and coverage. Maybe thats what the sport of cycling needs...lose most if not all of it's sponsorship and TV coverage...and let it sink back into an elite amateaur sport with almost NO $ for awhile, where the athletes ride at the top of their game for the love of riding and competition, not the fame and $ that we have now (this could be said for ALL pro sports). Where do they go from here? Gosh, to think NO MORE POPE HATS this race...I"m DEVASTATED!


Vino vino could you??? After everything we've been through in the last year.

Poor David Millar broke down in tears in a press conference.
That shows that Vino was really to good to be true on the TT. I was thinking about his injuries....he was desperate, but I wonder who helped him with this???
A year's salary, suspension, and disgrace, how could he do it to himself and the sport?? I guess he really did think this was his last chance for the Last Hurrah. Makes Patrick Sinkewitz look angelic doesn't it?




Oh, and I was going to tell you guys that Petacchi has been cleared. This makes his problems look like nothing...


I'm speechless. Kind of wish I hadn't watched Stage 15 four times. Innocent until proven guilty....? Sigh.

susie b

I guess we know what they were looking for in the team buses yesterday....

I, for one, am DEFINITELY NOT chuckling. This is an absolute nuclear bomb not just for the Tour but pro-cycling. If Discovery couldn't find a sponsor before, what chance is there now? Oh yeah, I'm a company CEO, I fer SURE want to have MY company's name associated with doping cheaters. Yeah, the public just loves BOTH.

Y'know, I gave this guy a HUGE benefit of doubt the past 12 months. He was on Liberty, the team associated with Saiz (sp?), up to his eyeballs in doping in this sport. I was Chicken Little until last year about the doping, but even *I* knew about him. Still, I felt soooo sorry when Vino couldn't do the Tour last year! And then this year, with all the stuff coming out about the old Telekom, currently T-Mobile, & Vino & Kloden were on those teams for quite a few years....

DAMN IT! I read somewhere in the last month an article that said the pros were STILL doping just as much as they ever were, just going to different places & people & going even more underground.

But, it is a JOKE to think the Astana team "management" did not know what Vino was doing. He IS that team! He put it together! He got the sponsors!

The amount of devastation this will do to pro-cycling is off the charts. It makes Floyd's situation pale in comparison, as it is DURING the marquee event.

Am I completely shocked? No, especially with the Time Trial. Where DID that come from? He killed EVERYONE when he could barely pedal a few days before. But, then I really thought, STUPID, STUPID person that I am, that NO ONE would TRY to dope at THIS Tour! Not THIS year! So I let myself be happy for him. Convinced myself that this was an example where strength of WILL can overcome weakness of body.

Sorry, all you Vino Lovers, but I will NEVER forgive what this guy apparently did. Not THIS year. Not when pro-cycling was ALREADY in the freakin ICU.

And if that article is correct & they really are "all still doping", then cycling has to decide once & for all : take off the controls, let 'em have at it, or get even more ruthless. The problem of course with the latter, is that the tests & the people performing them are NOT infallible. I really do worry that sports like this, pure racing types, is in jeopardy of being killed off.

THERESA! Tell me something good! Tell me it's all gonna be ok, 'cause I NEED it.


I'm with the damn damn DAMN camp. Haven't found the giggles yet but I am doing alot of head shaking. I get the absurdity, the Shakesperean moment!

But it really is a horrible thing for the other riders, it's their lives and livelihood, it's their "points" and standings that get manipulated by the doping. For every person who "wins", someone else "loses".

OK - So Camille, on Deathly Hallows, I will NOT spoil a thing for you but just know, you will feel JK sitting next to you while reading it. I certainly did. She was in every intelligent, twisting storyline word! It is an amazing world she created.

Sara Best

Susie, let me take a crack at it.

I don't think that this is worse for cycling than the Floyd situation. That was the winner of the Tour de France getting accused of doping. This is just one of the pack.

I know that we all know who he is and know that he was the favourite going it, etc, etc. But no one else in the world has ever heard of the guy. My guess is that this story won't get nearly the same amount of press out in the real world as Floyd's story did.

I agree that it's going to make it tough for a team like Discovery to get a new sponsor. But, if Contador can win the Tour (and not test positive), he and guys like Linus over at T-Mobile, they represent the future of the sport and there may well be a company out there, with a little guts, that wants to have their name associated with them and the youth and vitality that they represent.

This looks like the end of the world right now. But give it some time and it will blow over. Cycling will survive.

And, I know there are a lot of angry people over here right now and you are all justified in your feelings of betrayal and disbelief. I don't feel the same way about watching those two stage wins of Vino's now either. However, let's remember that just because you inject yourself with some nice, fresh, oxygenated blood, it doesn't give you super powers. He's still a world-class bike racer and it's still the best sport in the world and the guys that can ride it and race it are amazing athletes - even when they do bad things and get a little boost that they're not supposed to get.

That's just my two cents. Don't hang me.


Hey Jessica, I'm another HP reader, so for sure keep it on the down-low until I can get to it!

OK, I'm probably grasping at straws here...looking for something positive (other than a positive test!)...but maybe, just maybe (my husband's laughing at me for the suggestion) the *reason* Levi doesn't ever seem to have the extra *oomph,* the extra push, edge, whatever is because he's CLEAN?! I'm just throwing that out there, just's probably another thought out of my naive little head, but everything else is wacky these days anyway. And nothing is surprising anymore...


yvette, i think you may have hit the nail on the head...levi's clean and pales in comparison with the two-blood riders

supper's on the table and the family are waiting for me, but i had to just peek my head in your door to voice my extreme disappointment, feelings of betrayal, my complete incredulity at how anyone can be such a fecking eejit to dope on THIS tour. (we just had a newsflash on the telly, which is how i found out about it)
g'night y'all - i hope you don't have needle nightmares.


sorry....i'm the one going to bed soon ---- i hope I don't have needle nightmares!!

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