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« 21 Corners to Heaven | Main | Stage 19 »

July 23, 2008

Comments

janann

OK, so it wasn't the MOST exciting stage today but the sprint at the end from the breakaway was really interesting! I don't think I've ever seen two guys start attacking so far out and then wait so long (in a ROAD race) to get their sprint going while just eyeing each other. Another great win for Columbia! They have to be ecstatic with their Tour!

Felt SO sorry for George in the VN video with his entire side in bandages. Crappy way to end the Tour and head into the Olympics.

Still miss Chris Horner....

The peloton just looked EXHAUSTED today didn't they?? Though I have no idea how they do ONE stage much less 21! Looks like the TT on Saturday is going to be THE stage again this year.

Camille

Yeah Janann, not that it was really a surprise but today was rather anticlimactic after yesterday. But those guys at the end were fun to watch, weren't they? Especially at the finish line, the Spaniard was soooo mad and the German was laughing out loud it looked like. Great. But in a way I was rooting for the underdog because his team needed something to go right according to P&P. Well, he gave it a good effort and it was fun to watch all that cat and mouse stuff.

We are FInally getting some rain here in Austin! Hooray!!

nikki

Slept in this morning. It felt good. I think it was a good stage to do so too. :-)

I watched the last part of it and the games at the end were entertaining. I loved seeing Andy go up and say - hey, I'm not giving up this white jersy so easily there bud! I love that kid. I think he is going to continue to be incredible for years to come. Crazy talent there. It's a shame he lost the minutes early on as I think he's got it to be up on the podium. Great learning year for him with a solid result and great stage efforts to show for it.

A quick note on C's cough. I've yet to read or hear anything that it's nothing more than being up in high altitidue after hard effort stages. I am not sure I wouddn't be coughing (a lot harder) after a ride up those climbs with a mic in my face right after the line. He sounds good later.

Cat (I think it was you that asked) about Point Races up in cheeseland. I didn't go to any this time. The last time home I went to Grafton and Sheboygan and met and talked to Chad Hartley from Jittery Joes. Also saw Garrett Peltonen. Took some fun pics too. Not too often I get to see races up that way. I will be at Elk Grove and Downers right here though in just a couple weeks. Already looking forward to it! Added treat to Downer's is getting to meet some of you! Can't wait!!!

I'm already nervous and excited for Saturday. I think C's and Will's blackberry's might explode soon with all the good lucks being sent. I seriously am just stoked for those guys and the team. What an amazing Tour for them. I am hoping C has the ride of his life on Saturday. I think he has a solid cushion on 6th and motivation to ride his heart out and take some chances to leave it all out there for a chance at the Podium. It's going to be tight but there's still a chance. So proud of him!

Frankie is back tonight on Vs. I like him and I'm happy to hear him talking. And I love that C is being a favorite for winning the stage on Saturday! Go C!!!

Rae

This has been the best tour since I've started (ie was able) to watch!
Got to respect the Schlecks' sacrifice of their own prospects for Carlos. I know what you mean, Camille, I hate to see a team go away empty-handed, so I was hoping for the quick-step rider even though if you'd asked me before I'd say I want Columbia to win.

I've been waiting to read all the rider's diaries and to watch Neal's videos--saving them for the long & lonely weeks when there is little racing and less coverage--I've learned that I do go through some withdrawal pains once the Tour is over!

I saw a chat online with Bruyneel, he said that there would be an announcement soon about C. Horner that would make his fans very happy--wonder WHAT!!!

Matt

Oops..just posted on yesterdays column..here is the cut and paste:

OK...here are MY predictions...Sastre, Evans, Menchov. RIDE LIKE THE WIND CARLOS!

Good discussion on yesterdays ride everybody. I have to add though that Cadel wasn't as alone as it appeared in these stages. He may not have had teammates, but he had allies helping him whether it was intentional or not. VDV helped him GET the yellow jersey a while back, and yesterday Kohl was doing a lot of the pulling and setting tempo...Cadel just hung in there, and sure he had to resond to attacks, but all he had to do is stay with them. I'm not saying that's easy, but he's not out front setting tempo along into the wind. He was wheel-sucking the entire way (no disrespect..it's good tactics)... Yesterday it was Carlos out in front on his own, doing it in style! And VDV has helped Cadel on multiple occasions (I"m guessing purely unintentional, as he was just looking out for himself and it just happened to benefit Cadel).

I think that the race has taken its toll on all the riders, but each rider reacts differently. I think Cadel is declining in his overall performance (again no disrespect intended...just a cold hard look from my eyes), while Carlos is getting better and stronger in comparison to his rivals. Whether it's the pressure of being the #1 contender all along, having yellow those 5 days or so, or the multi-pronged viscious attacks by Team CSC...it's all taking it's toll. Like body punches in a boxing match. No outright damage, no knockout, but in a long fight they add up. This is surely a 21 round heavyweight title fight. And the body blows are working. I think Carlos (who has had AWESOME team support, almost NO media pressure, and just been hanging back waiting for his time to attack) will pull off his personal best TT. Cadel will do well, knowing what is on the line, but he is tired and it won't be as good of a TT as it would be under other circumstances.

Carlos will hold his jersey, Cadel will move ahead of Frank and Bernard to 2nd, and Denis will also move ahead of Frank and Bernard to 3rd. VDV will do AWESOME, but no way he can take back OVER 3 minutes on Cadel. He MIGHT be able to get close to Denis (and I admit I'm HOPING against hope that he can actually get his 2 minutes he needs and take 3rd overall!)

So thats my take (or dream) on how things play out. Now here's the kicker, which I touched on last night. WHAT IF there is only a few seconds diff going into Paris between 1 & 2 (whoever they are)? It's a very real possiblity, and I think it would result in game-on in the streets of Paris..which would be a total street fight on those laps on the cobbles. Total carnage on what would normally be a champagne sipping, toasting your teammates day, smiling for the cameras and generally enjoying the day type or ride. I'm greedy, I want to see it! I'm not yet done with this tour! I want ONE MORE Knife fight! Hand to hand combat! Winner take all! Sorry riders of the TDF....you can sleep on Monday!

OK..dinner time..had a 12 hour day today, so no bike ride...just now starting to watch todays stage (internet is back up here at the moment...YESSSSSSS!)

Rae

Well, Matt, wasn't it only 8 secs last year--& not contested? And really, it seems to me so difficult to get even a 1 second gap on a stage like the final one, 8 secs would have been too hard! It has seemed to me on a few stages that the judges awarded the same time to finishers that seemed to me more than 2 secs apart!

It would surely be cool to see it come down to that final sprint, though!

Matt

I don't recall any 'game on' final days in recent history, but I'm quite sure that it has happened in the Tour's history (need to look that one up). I wasn't really too keen on some of the things the organizers did this year (removing stage-win time bonuses for one)..but I have to agree that it has made for a nail-biting race! (I STILL think that winning a stage should get you some small time bounus though!) THAT would make it less likely to win without winning a stage. Imagine if Carlos would have gotten 15 seconds for his win yesterday? (or some amount)...I think the time bonuses rewards bravado and such, which we ALL like to see! And the GC guys can't just hang back and watch, knowing each stage in the mtns is giving somebody time off the clock..especially if it's contenders. I think it forces a better race. Just my 2 cents worth.

I HATE to say it, but I have to agree w/ Cathy yesterday that it is VERY unlikely to see game-on in stage 21...(but just IMAGINE a 1 or 2 second diff between 1st and 2nd after the TT!) How many days this tour did we have 1 sec between #'s 1 and 2?? It could happen!

And hey, does anybody out there know the fly2thefinish code words (from the broadcast) for yesterday and today? I don't have them..somehow missed it on todays broadcast, and haven't seen more than the last 15 minutes of yesterdays. Any ONE of them could be a winner (yea, right!) I just counted up..I"ve spun the dang thing 49 times THIS tour...and NOTHING! Not even a blasted water bottle! If I get skunked again....grrrrr!

Camille

Matt, I'm thinking today's was "Green Jersey" maybe? Can't remember yesterday's, maybe someone else will know... I think it was one word, does that help?! :)

jessica

Those are some interesting observations on Cadel, Janann & Matt. I think I broke-up my viewing by running in & out of the room and missed some of the flow of the "story". There is something satisfying about watching a rider that seizes the moment and tacks off on their own - even if they don't win the stage. We do love bravado.

Glad you got some rain in Austin Camille - would love a rainy day excuse to make a pot of homemade mac & cheese!

Oh and we all discussed at length how to pronounce Chipotle. Now I've always wondered, how to pronounce Janann?! =) Is it Yah NAN?

susie b

SUSIE'S SWEETIES - STAGE 18 (Thurs, Jul 24)

1) Big George Hincapie. Because as sad as it was not to see George win Stage 16, when he was oh-so-close, I almost cried to see him all bandaged up today, like an extra from the new 'Mummy' sequel, due to a bad crash in Stage 17. But worst of all was to see/hear his Video Diary with Neal at the start of today's stage. George was so down, so in pain, that he wasn't even sure he could make it to Paris! Hopefully, today's result will perk him up & set him on the fast track road to recovery! :)

2) Marcus Burghardt. Sure, some say it's an embarrassment of riches & others say TC are just 'greedy SOBs'. I'm just happy someone from either Columbia or Garmin were in the break or I would have nodded off. Plus, I love to see guys get their 1st Tour stage win as their joy makes ME happy. And because after trying to figure out what he looked like from watching him pull on the front for the 1st 2 weeks, I could finally see him with his helmet off! Nice looking big guy! Now, if I can just see Hansen. :)

3) Damiano Cunego. Because even if I've never liked him & don't think he'll ever win the Tour, I did feel for the guy who was performing so far below the hyper expectations of the Italian press & tifosi. And THEN he crashes hard today. Into a CEMENT barrier. But instead of abandoning, as apparently his team managers pleaded, he gets STICHED UP on the side of the road, throws his leg over the bike, gets 4 of his teammates to help & they ride on. All the way to the finish where they somehow make the time cut. To read that he had to drop out of the race later due to the severity of his injuries was truly sad. And if this wasn't enough for me to stop thinking of Cunego as nothing but an arrogant twit, I read he & Slitherin are enemies. And how can you hate a guy like that? :)

4) Robbie & Frankie. Because thank GOD they were back on the Primetime show! I like Johan, especially since he's finally started to smile & is no doing that thousand yard stare into the camera as if it's the guillotine, but R & F bring energy to the set & I sorely missed their contributions the days they weren't there. BTW, have ya'll been listening to Frankie's podcasts on Active? And Robbie's blog posts/video & audio podcasts on Versus? Love them. These guys are a hoot. :)

5) Neal 'Voulez Vous' Rogers. Because I'm still giving a shout-out to 'Mamma Mia'. Really. :)

Theresa

I am on the correct stage, right? Today is the 25th, so this must be Stage 18/
Loved seeing Chavenel win today!!! He gave the other youngster a chance, he didn't want him riding his wheel, and pulling out! It was like George's win in 05; all the years, all the work, and you finally get your stage win!!

What's this about Chris???
I do miss him terribly, and DZ too!
But Julian's got some life to him, must be because he's from the other hemisphere.

I haven't had time to watch the last couple days videos. But I did a quick read of Will's diary, and those men where suffering out there. Thank God it's over; they can take the TT easy...except for a few guys!
And I think the big crit in Paris is enough blood and guts for you Matt!!! Those sprinters feel cheated; and Robbie hasn't won a stage.
Last year's gap was 32 or 38 seconds, wasn't it? Or was that the top 3?

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