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« Rest Day Two | Main | Stage Sixteen - Haven't Seen It »

July 25, 2007

Comments

susie b

I've been listening to the last 40 minutes on Eurosport's LIVE Audio feed & reading the cycling & velo news LIVE updates & no matter what happens, I'm just SO proud of Levi. When I read yesterday the he would sacrifice himself for Chicken Hawk, I almost cried. This may be his last chance at the podium & he has rode just fantastic. The pressure to live up to Lance & Floyd is so immense & the people I've read who are "disgusted" with his efforts are crazy! He's in 4th of the freakin Tour de France! He may get to that podium yet!

Ok, off I go to read what happens!

Julie

Ironic that Moreni was the testosterone positive, he was part of the rider protest this morning. If he cries foul, LNDD has really got to get it together on those T tests.

Theresa

What rider protest, Julie?

Rassmussen proved that he's consistant; and Levi attacked like crazy! I think Conti was starting to wear down. But what a great stage, and what a great finish!! I'm very impressed with Rassm's picture going over the finish line, it really is awesome!! Robobank worked their butts off!

susie b

I guess unless Chicken DOES have a sequel to 2005's Wild Ride in the final TT, he will be the winner of the 2007 Tour de France. Going by the boos reported at both the start of today's stage & the end & the remarks by the heads of UCI, ASO, & the Tour itself, it looks like I won't be the only one not celebrating for him.

Contador's not that great of a TTer, so he could drop to 3rd. And I don't think Levi can make up 56 seconds on Cadel, as I think Cadel is better than him in the TT.

I supooooose something extraordinary could happen Thurs & Fri.... And surprises COULD occur on Saturday.

But, I guess I should'nt complain TOO much. If it wasn't for the current leader, I'd be thrilled. Two of my podium picks sitting in 3rd & 4th & another favorite in surprise 2nd. I should be bangin the drum!

Instead, I've watched another of the big names in cycling thrown out of the sport for at least 2 years, I suspect the probable winner of the 2007 TDF to be a drug cheat (he IS MUCH bulkier than the last 2 years, look at the photos & videos!), & I'm wondering if this is MY last Tour.

Sorry, guys, but the joy was sucked out for me yesterday the minute I read the Vino news. I went into this year's Tour NOT being as excited as usual, but the London start was so glorious & the 1st 10 days so FABulous that I got swept up & it felt like old times. The last 7 days however, have felt like the 11 months leading up to the Tour. NOT good.

But the FUNNY thing is, while I'm getting MORE cynical & disgusted, Austin Murphy is getting the opposite. Mr Tour de Farce himself! Mr "you can not take cycling seriously"! Read his SI.com article from last night if you don't believe me! To think that I may rely on the writings of Austin Murphy, a guy I so recently gave a, um, harsh critique, would be the one person who COULD possibly save me from abandoning the sport, well, maybe anything CAN happen between now & Sunday. :)

Julie

6 French and 2 German teams sat at the start for several minutes, refusing to go as a statement to their fellow riders against doping. The other teams paused, but eventually went, and were booed by the crowd. Many of them had to work their way through the protesting riders, awkward! When the protesting riders finally rode, they got cheered by the crowd. There's good video of it at VeloNewsTV.

And now one of those protesting teams, Cofidis, is gone. Are we still allowed to say wow at this Tour? This to me is a bigger deal than Astana leaving, because Astana *was* Vino. Moreni was certainly not Cofidis, and now he's cost everyone on his team a chance at getting a Tour under their belt. Think of it, they all made it through the mountains, and now they're gone. VN says he's accepting the results. Horrible situation, but this kind of action may finally make a difference - instantly ruining a lifetime's work for your entire team.

Camille

The Tour needs to get their own version of the Betty Ford Clinic for dopers, where they can check in some time during the year and get clean.

Janann

Holy cats! I didn't know anything about the rider protest, thanks Julie. I'll have to check things out at VNews.

Regardless, the stage was UNBELIEVABLE and Levi was AWESOME!!! Rasmussen was incredibly impressive and definitely deserved that win today. I didn't WANT him to have it, about had a coronary cheering for Levi, but he COMPLETELY deserves it -- what an amazing effort. Beautiful racing with the top 4 contendors battling it out!!

Make sure you watch it tonight, Susie! I can see why these events can make you cynical, but those 4 riders were just *incredible* and made me LOVE the sport, despite the nastiness of the past couple of days. Truly!!

Camille

Y'all, Gladiator at MD's just said that Rabobank has pulled Rasmussen from the Tour!! I asked her to post the link; she said she read it on Cyclingnews but I can't find it. Can you imagine how wild that makes things if it's true!??

Sally

it's on velo news

http://www.velonews.com/

Camille

Thanks, Sally, she had said Cyclingnews but I did just find it on Velonews, too. ***WOW*** This is one crazy Tour. Well, I bet they're ecstatic at Discovery! And Cadel at #2, hooray!!!!

Camille

Okay, I'm off to get some FRIED CHICKEN to celebrate...

Janann

SERIOUSLY.....can it GET any weirder?!?!?!?!
Can't go away from the computer for an HOUR without something major happening!

OK, so maybe watching the stage today WONT make it any more difficult to be cynical about the whole dang race...

What's next?!?

Julie

Well, Disco didn't sound too happy, and I can see why. Who wants to be the winner with the asterisk? And maybe an unwarranted asterisk, because we don't know how Rasmussen would've done in the TT. But if Cadel or Levi do rippin' good TTs, their wins would seem more legit, here's hoping. Let alone the fact of how many days he wore yellow and what it does to cycling.

Yvette

C'est vraiment incroyable! When a friend called to tell me this, I thought she was mistaken and should have been referring to Vino...and then there were ?????

Julie

I'm sure Contador won't wear yellow tomorrow. I wonder if we'll even have a neutralized stage. I don't know, maybe they want to say it won't stop them, and just go neutralized for a while. Or let everyone's favorite clean guys go ahead in the break and not chase. Or everyone will race the hell out of it, to get out frustration. Man, they really need rest tonight after a tough day, but who's sleeping?

Theresa

OMG!!!!! I don't know what to think, but this is an interesting Tour....:)

Sara Best

I'm sorry guys but I feel really awful for Rasmussen.

I don't even like the guy. He seems like a real jerk to me, but he's a great bike rider. We saw that today especially. His experience and skill was more than even Levi and Contador could crack together. He deserves to be wearing that yellow jersey. He earned it.

If he had been caught doping I would be celebrating his ousting. But this feels wrong to me. And my guess is that it's going to feel a little bit wrong to whoever wins on Sunday.

cat

What is especially wrong about this Sara, is they KNEW about this for HOW LONG?? Actually, they knew about since he didn't file his schedule. He keeps saying in press conferences that it was only one time and gives odd explanations about the others that I don't quite get.

I meant to post last night but it was too late, that Millar's interview and Ras' press conference on VeloNews were pretty intense. You could see the frustration and strong feeling on both men's faces and hear it in their voices. Ras' was especially exasperated by a French female journalist's pointed questions, she just wouldn't take no for an answer.

It is all such a shame and creating such a sense of chaos. If someone comes up positive, check the B sample, do a good test, then ask him to leave. After that SHUT UP.

Perhaps they are taking the tack of a strict Calvinist parent: See this stick? Do something wrong and I'll whack you. What? (whack) You can't hear me? (Whackwhack) Don't you run away! You didn't do anything wrong? Well, that's cause I'm whacking you!! Get over here, I want to make sure you aren't doing anything!! What things? What things???!! ANYTHING! (whack) Can't you hear????

Julie

Sara - no, we don't have proof, but it's a long-time practice to do untoward things the month before a big race. And he lied about where he was, and he was reportedly with a doctor in Italy. So I don't know how well-earned his jersey is. I take no pleasure in his departure, but it's not at all clear that he was winning clean. And he didn't seem to have a friend anywhere protesting his innocence.

Cat - they only found out today that he was in Italy. When this whereabouts story came out, and it was learned that he was supposed to be in Mexico in June, an Italian reporter remembered seeing him in Italy in June.

Janann

Don't you think that the sponsor (Rabobank) must have some other information that would make them decide that removing their race-winning (probably) leader at this time would be LESS bad publicity than letting him WIN the race? I keep thinking that there MUST be more information that we don't know yet. Its almost impossible to believe otherwise that a sponsor would remove a guy who is going to win the biggest bike race in the world for them. Guess we'll have to wait and see...

I read somewhere tonight that Predictor-Lotto was going to sue Astana for 10 million euros for loss of publicity (for Cadel in the TT). Wow.....the repercussions of the actions of presumably (hopefully) a few riders could really be astounding both from a race strategy/success viewpoint as well as a sponsorship viewpoint.

...and Phil says the entire Rabobank team is out
http://www.versus.com/tdf

Julie

VeloNews was saying the Rabobank riders would have a choice to ride or not. The latest story there says the decision will be made in the morning.

God bless Phil, but Contador was attached to OP for a week, and rode for Liberty Seguros/Astana, so I'd limit my squeaky-clean comments to Levi and Cadel.

Theresa

Johan, said in the rest day press conference that Alberto's name was included by mistake. But that has been bugging me. But you'd think they checked that out throughly.
And civil suit by the team that suffered the finiacial loss, will cause some people to sit up and take notice.
Moreni(?) the Confidis rider admitted to using testosterone cream, and waved his right to his B test. That took courage to just say, yes I did it, and I'm sorry. But the damage is done, for his team.

And Camille, I really don't know how you could eat fried chicken tonight!! blaaaak....

Cadel is down by 1:23 or :53 on Contador and Levi is :23 sec back. Do you think they could actually make the time up in the TT for them (either or) to by 1st and 2nd, and Contador to drop to 3rd?? That's the only way he is going to lose time, unless he crashes, and I don't want that....any ideas??

Theresa

Do you think we can figure out how to arrange the podium the way we want it??? Do you think they'll listen to us???lol

Camille

Theresa, to answer your question above, yes I sure DO think it's possible for either Cadel or Levi to make up the time against Contador in the time trial. It's DEFinitely possible but I wouldn't say probable.

Julie, after reading your wonderful last blog piece I see how once again I'm just not getting anywhere near the gravity of the consequences of all this for the various teams... all I could think of was that I was glad to see Rasmussen gone, but I feel sorry for any clean Cofidis riders now and any others who got sent home if they were clean. Still, it can't HELP but set an example that if you know your teammate is doping it's up to you to make sure they don't start the Tour with the team, or they could cause you to go home even late in the Tour just like happened to Cofidis.

I hope today will be a good stage. Must be a weird vibe in the peloton though. Susie, I wonder if any of them will be singing "I'm Still Standin'"? I would think some of them might have survivor's guilt.

susie b

For once, I take no joy in having such vaunted "precog" abilities... Sorry, that's the best joke I can do. :(

Rabobank DID start today, which I am happy about, but one of the main riders just abandoned. I feel TERRIBLE for all the riders on the teams that had nothing to do with doping & had been gutting themselves the last 2.5 weeks trying to make it to Paris & are now OUT. Talk about a cage match. Put some of those guys in the ring with Vino, Moreni, & Ras. BLOODbath...how fitting.

As for the TT. I think Cadel might get to that top podium step. Contador is not that great of a TTer & Cadel is. I'd be satisfied either way. The fact that Levi looks like HE will be on the podium too makes me very,very happy. At a time when it's needed.

I can NOT believe the 1st 10 days of this race are connected to what's been happening in the last 9. Doesn't seem possible.

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