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« Friggin' Kick Ass Apples | Main | Quick Thoughts »

July 18, 2008

Comments

CMehl

I think Cav might be about finished. He's not going to want to go over the Alps, he looked too pooped at the end of today's stage! He sure is turning into a media darling, isn't he?!

Susie thanks for sharing the Austin link. I wrote about it on USCR today: http://uscyclingreport.com/content/ I've had some concerns over his dedication to the sport in the past but LOVE this piece.

DO NOT get discouraged about catching the dopes. So many tests are bound to catch some of the dopers. That is part of the process. And if your friends mock the sport, ask them what other sports are doing and let them chew on it. This is the cleansing period, some of the riders just haven't gotten the memo yet or don't believe in the testing methods (or are old school and think they can still fly under the radar). Kind of cracks me up that they dope and then win, guaranteeing they will be tested, which proves they think they are going about it in such a way as to not be caught. Piepoli has been around a long time and was fired for violating the team's code of ethics...perhaps he was helping Ricco learn the ways of the dark side of the sport, as he has not returned a non-negative himself that I know of.

It is what it is....and it's still an amazingly hard, beautiful and exciting sport. Onward to the Alps!!!

jessica

So I'm not alone - Cat, if you find Neal's video link, could you share? I have tried but it's usually at some awful hour like 1am and I can't think straight and my detective skills are limited.

hugs to robbie. Can't help it.

cat

First, something funny I found at Susie's other site (no, she 's not monogamous, she's too hot for that) Podium Cafe:

Ricco's Lament

Tiny by majope on Jul 17, 2008 2:29 PM EDT

Ricco's Lament (sung to the tune of "Que Sera, Sera")

When I was added to the team
I asked my teammates what lies ahead?
Can we ride cleanly, and still win a race?
Here’s what my teammates said.

Take CERA, CERA,
That shit gets you up the hill
If you don’t use it, your rivals will
Take CERA, CERA
And go in for the kill.

When I was training for the Tour
I asked my doctor, "Hey, should I dope?
Will I get tested, will I get caught?"
He smiled and just said "Nope."

Take CERA, CERA,
Invisible in the test
They’ll all think that you’re the best
Take CERA, CERA
When you line up at Brest.

Now I am thrown out on my ass
My team’s disbanded, what did I do?
Will I be employed ever again?
Will all my sponsors sue?

Blame CERA, CERA,
The Cobra they once adored
Won’t be racing anymore
Blame CERA, CERA
All done at twenty-four.

—Marlys Pearson (if you like it, feel free to pass it on--just credit me, please)


And Jessica, I can only find Neal by picking through these videos: http://velonews.tv/?articleID=2281

Neal interveiwed Big George today and addresses the "is MC arrogant?" Unfortunately he doesn't ask George what role he might have played in changing his attitude. In fact he says, well, yes he can be arrogant, but he's got the goods to back it up.

There is a second video of Greg Lemond. It's about 16 videos down (for now), between the last stage 11 posting and the one on the "Death of the UCI ProTour."

Neal reported on the ProTour teams voting not to apply for a 2009 ProTour licenses. I didn't understand the significance of that very well. Which raises a question, was do you Sara, think about that underreported development? Cathy, have you written (or read) anything on this topic?

cat

Words of wisdom, Ms Mehl.

janann

LMAO! Susie you outdid yourself with that lyrical masterpiece! Thanks for bringing that to our attention, Cat ;)

Great win AGAIN for MC! He doesn't look like he'll make it through dinner tonight, much less another fast stage in the Tour. But, who knows, maybe he'll sleep like the dead for 10 hours and give us an exciting stage again tomorrow.

Could you BELIEVE that the poor Gerolsteiner rider who hit the sign and desTROYed his bike got right back up off of the pavement??? Wow.

I read that Saunier Duval was thinking about getting out of the sport, now. Not that you can really blame them, but that would be very sad (providing the team really didn't know about the doping going on in their midst).

To get to Neal's videos I usually just go here:
http://tour-de-france.velonews.com/
and then click on Video in the top menu bar. :) He's doing a great job this year and I like the fact that he's even getting some interviews in other languages with an intrepeter so that we're not limited to the views of those who speak English. STILL really miss DZ and Horner, though!

Thanks for the Murphy link. That IS a nice article!

matt

So...anybody who is/has watched the live show today (Sat) knows that Barloworld is pulling out their sponsorship...wow...another major player takes their $$ and leaves...that is very sad. I hope the team can pick up a new sponsor...it's always very sad to think that one bad apple (we HOPE!) can ruin it for the rest. Saunier Duval, well...it APPEARS that it was more than one...though we don't know that for certain. But one can't help but wonder if 2 or 3 (or even more?) were doping with CERA, were they just doing it on their own? Or did the team know and turn a blind eye, thinking that they weren't testing for this yet and happy to get the wins. We will prob never know...as surely the team will cry foul and leave the riders to hang on their own...no matter what they knew.
And MC...man he is just something...you could see it in the Giro. Poor Robbie...gave it his best shot, looked like he might pull it off, and then there goes MC on his turbo boost once again. Just incredible!

susie b

SUSIE'S SWEETIES - STAGE 13 (Fri, Jul 18)

1) The Money Man. Because Cavendish is so, so "money". And because a guy who hails from the land of Peers is peerLESS among the "Fast Men" at this time & this place. Long may he reign. But the poor boy is so tired he looks barely able to verbalize his "fanks". And as much as I'd love to see him take the win on the Champs, I think he'd be doing himself, his country & his team (longterm) a disservice by trying to make it over the Alps. He needs to get home, rest up a bit & start training for the Track, so the Brits can go even more delirious when he wins Gold at Beijing. And besides, Mark, I hear all the other sprinters are chipping in BIG for your "farewell" party. ;)

2) Rocket Robbie. Because he showed he still has the legs, even after working as traffic controller on the road for the last 3 days. I ask you - WHO else could have absolutely NO road support on his team & still make it within the Top 10, let alone 2nd? The guy still has it. I predict a win before this Tour is done. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy! :)

3) Sven Krauss. Because he must have FLOWN 30 FEET after he hit that sign & his bike broke in two! And because he somehow got back on the bike & rode. Thirty feet in the air at 30-40 mph(?)& lands on asphalt. IRON MEN. Or nuts, you decide. :)

4) Gerald Ciolek. Because did you SEE that little Vs piece on him? He's a HOTTIE! Ok, a baby hottie, but still a hottie! :)

Which brings me to #5

5) Neal 'I'm feelin hot, Hot, HOT' Rogers. :) But come on, it's 90 friggin degrees there, doesn't Velo make sleeveless, muscle shirts? I'm just askin' as I'm concerned for Neal's wellbeing... ;)

susie b

As much as I'd love to have written 'Ricco's Lament', I did not. I do read some of the posts at Podium Cafe, but don't usually have time to even read the comments, let alone write there. They all just write SO much, I can't even keep up with the multiple daily posts!

It's funny, but the second I heard about CERA, I DID start composing a little ditty in my head to that very melody (natch!) & if I had not seen it later on PC, I probably would have written a version here. But I doubt I could have topped this lyricist, it's great! :)

And speaking of CERA, I read a piece last night by Patrick O'Grady & he called CERA - Cobra's Exit Right Away. I laughed for 5 minutes. :)

But, as happy as I am that Slitherin was caught & is in BIG TROUBLE NOW, I do not feel happy at all for what it means for any truly innocents on his team or for the Tour or for pro-cycling. As unfortunately, Austin is in the minute minority of ms journos & even several cycling ones as to what this means or reveals of the health/status of pro-cycling.

I did & do believe more than just Slitherin on the Red Birds doped in the Giro & the Tour. I also think once the snake sat in the French clink for 10 minutes, he gave up Piepoli faster than he rode up the Aspin & THAT'S why his team sacked Leonardo even before his own positive test was announced (& is still not as far as I know). I've read that SD is getting out of cycling immediately & that means 50-70 people are now out of jobs. And unless every single one was involved in some mass conspiracy, that is tragic.

What has made me feel even more disgust with Ricco is reading the reactions by fans AND journalists. There were several who actually thought this guy was a "breath of fresh air" & loved his "spirit" & that he backed up his mouth with his legs. Sure, I had to wonder what was WRONG with those people ( ;), but they all believed he was the real deal. To read their reactions has been heartbreaking. THIS is the true harm to the sport. Not that some asshole gets revealed to be a cheat, but that it makes people not want to believe ANYone or anything they see. Ever.

And you know, maybe David Millar is really a jerk, I don't know, but I am liking him more & more when I see him answer the NONSTOP harassing horde of journos that follow him around like he's a beefsteak & they're ravenous dogs. And then there's the last 2 pieces he wrote on his Tour Diary. They were great. In the one dated 7/17, he wrote about Ricco, Cavendish, & Christian Vande Velde. The following is why I won't be calling Millar "St David" anymore :

"Christian deserves everybody's trust & support & belief. He has spent many years being doubted & forgotten, & who gets feted, the Riccos, that's who....If you're close to giving up on cycling, I can understand that, I almost did after all. But please don't give up on us. And when I say us, I mean them, because I am an ex-doper, I have to earn my right to be believed & trusted. But there are many who don't. They need to be believed in. Christian is going to need every ounce of his being to pass the Alps, I believe he will do it, I hope you believe he can and will and that he is doing it with our dreams in his hands. Vive le Tour."

If you can read that & not get the least bit emotional &/or give Millar some slack, then I don't know how you're a cycling fan.

matt

Nice Susie...I hadn't read that (the Millar diaries)...it does bring a slight tear to the eye...not that I needed any other reason to root for VDV! I'm hoping he kicks serious honest ass in the alps! Looking at the profiles (on velo news) for stages 15, 16 and 17 gives me the willies...they are HUGE HUGE HUGE! How can anybody climb them, letalone RACE them? Damn it is just plain incredible! I hope VDV is right in the mix after the Alps, and I will be rooting him on with every fiber of my being! The world we live in is a strange and mysterious place in many ways...so much we don't know...what is energy? What are thoughts? Can one person SEND energy to another? If so, he will be getting some of mine, I can promise you! RIDE VDV, RIDE! (and Big George will be getting a bit too...would LOVE a repeat of his win from a few years back on the queen stage!)

I'm at work (again) on sat...another 10 hour day...and monday head back up to Sunnyvale for 3 more weeks...so won't be having access to my beloved TIVO for the rest of the tour. The withdrawl symptoms will be horrible! However I have a 'sling box' that lets me access my home satellite feed over the internet..even though it's a smallish picture on my laptop, it's better than nothing! (the hotel doesn't have VS). Have a great weekend everybody!

kathleen

If I were an olympic cyclist knowing I was slated to compete in Manxman's events I would be quaking in my carbon soles right about now. Can you imagine watching this on tv thinking "he's coming..."?! Crowds will part for MC at the Games.

I do feel a little sad watching Rocket Robbie - my raving fave - getting eclipsed by the young blood. I should think it must be weird winning sprints from here on in with Cav out of the field.

It would be fun to see Cadel take it 'cause I have a soft spot for the Aussie, but that slight one second advantage makes me nervous for him!

Of course it would be spectacular if CV emerged from his cozy hiding place in 3rd to smoke 'em all in the eleventh hour...

That's why we love the tour. It's as if lifetimes are lived, wars won and lost, reversals of fortune and cruel twists of fate all in the space of three weeks.

p.s. if you have Facebook, go and befriend Danny Pate (Chipotle). It's really him manning the page and he sends photos and fun comments right from the tour bus and you can post your encouragements on his "wall".

janann

Susie, those lyrics are so "you" that I can't believe you didn't write that LOL! Glad you shared it with us anyway, Cat.

I too hope that MC heads for home now -- the poor boy can barely stand up at this point. He is so young! Rest up and head for China, Mark (don't forget your breathing mask, though).

I was really happy for Freire today, but I wish he was on my fantasy team. I went with Robbie and Thor for the sprints and I'm not doing so hot. I'm rooting for Robbie on the day into Paris!!

Matt, I hope that you get to see those stages next week! What an inopportune time to be leaving your VS and TIVO behind. I think we are going to see a THRILLING race in the alps this year. I'm also sending my positive thoughts over to CVV. It is so great to see him really enjoying himself and his new position as team leader during the Tour while he remains relaxed and confident. Go CVV!!!

I've been feeling the same way about David Millar, Susie, and thanks for giving us that quote (which is a gem). He really rubbed me the wrong way with his preachy style when he came back to the sport, but he seems to be quite sincere in what he believes and absolutely doesn't expect to be given respect & trust until he earns it. I think he's handled himself extremely adeptly during the melee that develops around him every time there is any talk of a doping positive and speaks from his heart (though the reporters have to clean up his language from time to time). His diaries at Bicyling have been very interesting and down to earth as well this year. I saw at TBV yesterday that they've also agreed to refrain from as many "Saint David" references (and the like) after a prod from an emailer. Maybe it just took awhile for me to believe in his sincerity or maybe his tone has changed - or both - but I'm cheering for his success now for sure.

Nice list Suse! We need to email Neal to take a look ;)

susie b

SUSIE'S SWEETIES - STAGE 14 (Sat, Jul 19)

1) Oscar Freire. Sure, you think it's because he won today's stage. But did anyone else notice that TODAY Oscar FINALLY stopped committing that 'my eyes-my eyes' sartorial offense of pairing the lime Green Jersey with the orange & blue Rabobank shorts? Coinkydink that he won? I think not! I'm thinkin' we won't be seeing those orange Rabo shorts again as long as Oscar's sportin' the Green Jersey. Ok, I'm HOPIN'! :)

2) The fans, French & other. Because they're out there in 90 degree heat cheering on a blur of color & sound unless they hiked it up a mountain. And maybe I'm mistaken, but I could swear on many of the flat stages there are MORE fans along the roads than during the last 3 years. (Except in England last year with fans lining almost the entire Stage 1, THAT was awesome!) And btw, if London wanted the Tour back before, how much do you think they're gonna want it now with a bonafide superstar to possibly win a stage on fair Britania?!

3) Neal 'Gimme, Gimme, Gimme this man after midnight' Rogers. Because I'm doing a little homage to the 'Mamma Mia' movie that opened this weekend & I won't be able to see as I'm enclosed in the Tour Tomb. Really, that's all. What? What do you MEAN you don't believe me? :)

cat

Oh...Ms...TEEEEEeeeee! JD says it's time to call Neal (baby) and tell him to check out susie's refrain's. I am sure he is too darn busy to read them, but it would be a hoot anyway.

I think I stopped minding Millar last summer when he did a piece on what he feels doping does to cycling. He seemed very reflective and insightful. He never bothered me the way the name High Road did. That seemed a bit too much. I'm glad they have a sponsor name to put out front instead.

Question; how can a rider, even a pro, go from the TdF to the Olympics? It all seems too much. And, is there a problem with abandoning the Tour so you won't be toast for the Olympics? Will the sponsors gripe? Will other riders think him a weenie? I am sure more than one person would remark (true or not) that they could get stage wins like that if they shot the bolt instead of pacing themselves for the three week stretch. I guess part of me does question the legitimacy of leaving for that reason.

But gosh, he is a marvel this Tour, and really cute too.

susie b

Just a couple more things & then I have to get some work done before I leave. :)

Matt - I can't BELIEVE I'm saying this, but is there a Hooters in Sunnyvale? That's where Camille was able to watch the Tour until she got Versus. I'll clear it with your wife. :) Seriously, the next 3 Stages are CRUCIAL to watch! I'm taking vacation hours Wed morning so I can see Stage 17 Live. And just like you & Janann & I'm sure everybody else here, I'm sending my energy to CVV! And I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that Big George somehow wins Stage 17. Come on, Baby Huey? It's FATE! :)

Kathleen - loved your description of the Tour. So true, so true! And I agree, if I was a track cyclist & watched any of The Money Man's 4 wins, I'd be feeling more than a wee bit nauseous. :)

Janann - I KNOW! When I saw 'Ricco's Lament' late Thursday, I thought - how did I type that & not remember?! The 1st verse that I had composed in my head IS eerily like this one. Spoooooky! :) And what you said about Millar is exactly how I felt. But I started to look at him differently when I watched that video of him answering the journo horde's questions after Triki's positive was announced. I watched it 7-8 times as I was trying to write down the words to tell you all & I hadn't seen it written up anywhere yet. And his Tour Diary entries, especially the last 2 cinched it. You know, he & DZ were supposed to be the big stars on this team, so I had been wondering how he took to not being able to ride for himself on any more of the stages. That whole team originally thought they'd be trying for breakaways (well, except CVV :) every day & now that's out the window as they need to protect & support their GC man. So, to see him write so passionately about Christian has made me see him in a new light. That last sentence - about believing Christian will pass the Alps (strong) with "our dreams in his hands". Man, call me a crier, but how do you not get choked up at that?

One more thing. (Yeah, yeah...;) I must say I feel a bit sorry for SLotto having to hear how crappy of a team they are. For the past 4 days straight. But if this doesn't fire them up, then Cadel will actually have a legit reason to whine a bit. However, WHERE were they the other day at the end of that one stage? Cadel was completely by himself! They haven't done that since & maybe they just weren't used to protecting the yellow jersey, but that was bad. Don't think HORNER would have let that happen! And how cheap is SLotto that they couldn't pay for Popo AND Chris? If Cadel loses this Tour, perhaps SLotto will have no one but their cheap wallet to blame.

cat

Ah susieb, you make my heart go pitter pat with all your writings. thank you,

I want to see Mamma Mia too! Let's all go!!

Me Mum is leaving at 0600 tomorrow morning and I am very sad. It was a really fun week. Hangin' out, fixing the house - painting, hanging pictures, having guests for dinner, resale shopping, and 'splainin' Le Tour (sorry, mixing my idioms). When your parents reach elder stateshood you really start to appreciate them and count the time you have together.

cat

Crappy rain and nasty falls but what an exciting race!! I think Phil is correct in saying Danny Pate will be excited later on by his performance, even if he was disappointed today. How amazing is it that he kept up with three more experienced climbers. Since I got up at 0500 to see my mom off, I fell asleep and missed when they dropped the rider out of the break. I hope Pate didn't keep doing the mount of work he did in the beginning-34% at one point? I worried he would use to much of his energy that way and fall off the back when he ran out of gas.

I know this is probably basic info, but why do guys like Denis Menchov do little breaks in the mountains like he did today, "to break up the peloton," as P2 said. I understand trying to intimidate those who are a threat to you, but is there something inherently advantageous to dividing the peloton? Is it to prevent those who are tiring or weaker from sheltering within a larger group? Or is that too simplistic?

When Gerrans crossed the finish, he looked soooo happy; like a big kid. Watching him smile, I wondered what was wrong with his teeth; they looked funny. Well, on the podium I saw what it was. He IS a big kid...he has braces!!

Although I am sure Cadel Evans is feeling shitty after today, but won't it be good for him and is team to be able to rest a bit? Let someone else worry about controlling things for a day? Or so? Certainly the top three guys will have to keep a very close eye on each other with the small time differences they have.

Matt, let us know if you check out the Hooter-cam for TdF. Might be fun to be with a crowd doing some cheering instead of sitting on the couch alone, like me.

I'm glad tomorrow is a rest day, 'cause I am back to work! Won't have to worry about missing part of the stage by working late.

cat

OK, another dumb question. Did Menchov (and others) attack mostly to put pressure on Silence-Lotto and Evans?

I'm also amazed by that the top 6 riders are less than a minute apart. It seems the few years I have been watching that has happened only in the top three or so. Am I wrong?

Camille

Susie, for the record, I only went to Hooters for Stage 17. :D But Matt could watch the whole Tour there and no one would look at him funny like they were looking at me. ha

Theresa

Kathleen, Thank you for the facebook link!!! I sent Danny a request to be his friend, and told him how great he is!!!

MAMMA MIA!!!! I saw it yesterday afternoon, ran out and got the soundtrack at Target, and they were all out of ABBA cds! I forgot how MUCH I LOVED their music!! The movie is so much FUN!!! I laughed out loud, which I haven't done at a movie for a very long time! Of course, I haven't gone to any movies for a long time!

I have softened my feeling for DM also. And when he was so honest about how tough it was to try and stay in the GC, and he wanted to hunt stages, I felt for him.
I think the team plan was to pull MC out before the Alps anyway. Olympics or not. Stapleton said you can't leave a youngster in The Tour for 3 weeks, you start by getting their feet wet.
And I have all the respect in the world for Popo; BUT I agree CH would have been there for Cadel! But I loved seeing CSC pulling on the front, and peeling off, one at a time as they Frank got his second, and CVV was right there all the time!!
And Danny was soooo disapointed, just like Will. And I was thrilled for him! He did give a little smile at the end of the interview.

SUSIE!!! Your daily "sweeties" are right on!!! We need to get you a job with Versus!!

Theresa

And, for a cherry on top, BRAD HUFF, has finished the 10 day stage in China, Lake something!! And he got a decent amount of points, too. Tyler Hamilton won. I think he is over the moon.

I'm so proud of my Brad, and Team Jelly Belly, too!!!

Matt

What a stage today! I was chewing on my fingers the entire last few K...and Christian....oh my...I SO wanted him to jump out there when Kohl made his move with a 1K to go...but he once again stayed back w/ Cadel...WHY oh WHY?? At the end he did get back 7 seconds or so on Evans..but lost his 3rd place spot, and I think it will be VERY HARD FIGHTING in the top 5 from here on out. I am happy for Frank Schleck though...and CSC....they have surely done the work and deserve yellow for a few days. Whether they can keep it into Paris is another story. WHO will win this tour? WOW, it's gonna be a GREAT finish!!! How UTTERLY Exciting! (tempered by the fact that we KNOW that Alberto and Levi would be in the hunt with the others, which makes me sad at the same time I that I am totally enjoying the awesome racing going on). But I can't change that, so we live with what IS, not what might have been...as Astana are surely doing. ASO really missed out by the disinvite..imagine how exciting it would be with SEVEN guys within a minute of the lead instead of 5! I'd say it was their (ASO'es) loss but that wouldn't be true..it's OUR loss, along w/ Astana. OK..enough crying over spil't milk...move on.

The hooters thing..I hadn't thought of that...I have to admit that I don't even know if there is one..I would assume so, but how close to the hotel? It's not like I could go to a hooters and not have a beer or 2...but there IS an awesome microbrew place about 2 miles from my hotel (the Faultline)...at the bar they always have a tv on some sporting event...maybe I can talk them into Vs?? Hmmmm...anyway, they have at least 7 or 8 diff microbrews on tap, including one Cask ale all the time...any REAL beer lovers out there know about cask ales...MMMMMMMMM! No better beer on the face of the planet!

I'm sad that tomorrow is a rest day...as I could have watched that stage from home before heading north...and I do have my Slingbox hooked up, so I can watch a small version of the stages on my laptop via the internet (cool little device!), and NOT have to drive anywhere in case I've had a pint or 3. I will just see how things play out. I'm not much for hanging out in bars, but if the reason is right (such as stages 16 and 17), it would be worth it...at least it's all non-smoking here in CA...thats a relief! I can't stand hanging out in smoke filled rooms...yuk!!!

One final thing: I have to give Sastre credit..I have always considered him 'always the bridesmaid, never the bride' type of TDF rider...just don't see him on top of the podium, but today he showed some real spunk and tenacity. I was impressed! And Kohl..well, I tell you, I wouldn't mind seeing HIM up on top...he did today what I want my TDF winner to do: take charge in the decisive moment, attack and beat all the other GC contenders...(very lance-like!) Cadel couldn't hang on today, he looked really beat as he finished...I also place him more with Sastre overall in my GC view of things...I don't believe he would beat Alberto. He is a podium finisher but I don't see him on the top. But we shall see how the next 2 big stages go. It's truly anybodys race to win (or lose). And oh, don't want to forget Danny Pate...what an awesome day he had..though he isn't much of an interview...he will have to work on that. Still a great ride, and hopefully he will see thru the 'loss' and realize the awesomeness of what he did today!

OK, have a great rest of the weekend to all. And RIDE VDV, RIDE!!!

nikki

Hi gang :-) Busy past several days. Went up to WI for a few days to visit a friend and recover a bit (away from the house) once I got the clearance of no blood clot. What a mess.

Fun few days away though. Saw Mamma Mia and must agreee - good movie to see for some laughs. Got a tattoo. Went for a good bike ride. Had my g/f's 3 year old sweetheart ask everynight if we could "watch bikes" before bed (and after reading like a dozen books). It was so cute. She was cheering for C and Will and kept asking if the bike rider on tv was my friend. Cute stuff.

Got home late last night and I've been trying to catch up on reading and blogs. I've got so much to finish with updates on mine. I live at another one that I've finally caught up reading on. And then a few more including this one. Tour following is a lot of work but so much fun.

Can't wait for Tuesday. I have been sending serious juju vibes to C pretty much daily. Talked to his dad Friday and sent hugs and good lucks to the guys. So happy and so excited. Regardless of the outcome, I am super proud and happy for C and the entire team. They've been amazing and the whole team to boot. Julian's been top 10 in sprints. Breakaways have gone to the line. Big kudo's!

cat

Hey Nikki, glad you are feeling better, and very glad to hear there was not clot. Big prob after surgery! Your visit sounds delightful. Aren't little guys the best?

Did you get to see any of the Point Classic while you were in WI, or was your visit during the Evanston leg? I didn't volunteer this year as planned because of my mother's visit. I must admit, unlike Ms T, I don't know the guys who are coming up the ranks, so the race means less to me that way. They don't even list who is participating so you can look them up! One of my criticisms of local racing.

susie b

SUSIE'S SWEETIES - STAGE 15 (Sun, Jul 20)

1) Cadel Evans. Because now I truly understand why so many hated US Postal. Watching this stage was like watching Rocky get pummeled by Apollo. Except there are 3 of him. And they're wearing red, white & black. "Oooh, oooh, oh no, oooh, get off the mat, oooh, come on, go the distance!" I haven't heard or seen any post-stage interviews with Cadel, so I don't know how he answered the obvious questions. But, what can he say? "I did the best I could & I'm still here & I'm not, no, I'm NEVER giving up, so bring it on!" is what I'm hoping. Let people like ME wonder where the hell Popo was. How much are they paying him? And I'm so glad none of you here (at least yet) are slobbering over Riis' "genius tactics". Genius, my ass. It's called watching Disco do the exact same thing in 2007 & thinking "ahhhhhh, it's better if you have at least TWO GC threats!" Wherever Cadel or Menchov or Christian or Kohl finishes in this Tour, it will be better than CSC UNLESS they win the whole thing. If they don't, it'll be like the Patriots losing the Super Bowl. Come ON, THREE guys on the final mountain? As much as I adore Fab, Jens & Stuey, I'm now kinda like those old anti-Postal fans, who rooted for ANYone other than Lance because the Blue Train just didn't seem "fair". BTW, is it true if you add SLotto & Gerolsteiner's budgets & multiply times 2, it still won't match CSC's? ;) But you know what? I STILL don't see Frank Schleck or Sastre on the top step in Paris. And if you remember, in the middle of last year's football season, I said I wanted the Pats to go ahead & win all the regular season & then LOSE in the Super Bowl.... ;)

2) Danny Pate. Because he was off the front in the 4-man break almost all day & because I agree, when a guy gets in a break, especially his 1st time in the Tour, & goes alllll day & comes so close to winning a stage. In. the. Tour. de. France. It kills him that he didn't win, but later he will hopefully realize how thrilled his sponsor was to see their name for 5-6 HOURS on WORLDWIDE TV & because now people all over the US & the world will know his own name. And mostly because he WAS a "contenduh". :)

3) Christian Vande Velde. Because I find myself wanting Christian somewhere on that final podium as much as I wanted Floyd to win & just like back then, am sitting on the sofa, biting my hand, wanting so much for Christian to keep showing the world & himself that this is where he belongs. And because maybe the cycling bigshots will realize they DON'T know everything about someone's potential. (Yeah, Johan & Riis - I'm talkin to you). Because it's a CINDERELLA story & it had me at "Once upon a time". Because his Dad had a small part in the movie & I WANT, I NEED to see the headline in Sports Illustrated : 'Christian Vande Velde - Breaking Away'. And because I want CVV to really BELIEVE he not just belongs but can be better on a given day than the other top fivers & then maybe next time, he won't just stay back with Cadel, but go up the road with the strongest guy at the end, whoever that is, even if & especially if it is himSELF. (Seriously, as much as I love Lance & Floyd, this "storyline" is giving me goosebumps. You almost don't want to believe it's happening for fear that it WON'T have the happy ending. But, you'd be WRONG! Because just like Rocky, proving to himself that he CAN "go the distance" is as great as winning the "title". Eye of the Tiger, Christian! :)

4) Neal 'Ring my bell' Rogers. Because, WORK with me people, I'm keeping with the whole "boxing" theme today. :)

CMehl

Be sure to keep checking Bruce's daily blog from the Tour. He has great insight and posts personal photos. Even has one of Thor's parents! Where else will you see that?!
http://community.active.com/blogs/BruceHildenbrand

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