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« Stage 19 | Main | Stage 21 »

July 23, 2008

Comments

susie b

Just FYI :

In last year's 55K Final Time Trial, Levi finished 1st & Cadel was 2nd, 51 seconds back. Sastre was 16th, 3.24 minutes behind Levi.

This year it is 53K.

Is Cadel feeling weaker & Carlos feeling stronger at the end of these three weeks? Based on the fact that Cadel was without helpers in the mountains, holding off attacks & Carlos was one of THREE teammates, NOT being attacked, it would not be a shock. I just won't believe it til I see it.

I think both these guys realize THIS could be their best, their ONLY chance to win the Tour de France & will ride as if their lives depend on it. How they deal with that pressure will be as important as physical strength.

Whomever dubbed this event "the race of truth" nailed it. And speaking of nails, I'm not usually a biter, but tomorrow, I'll be chomping on mine! :)

Theresa

Susie, the course is hilly which will help Carlos. I can't remember last years. If it was flatter, Carlos would have done worse last year. And better this year.

Theresa

Susie, these comments should be under Stage 19!!! Not 20!!
right????

nikki

It is so late and I should sooooo be in bed getting some sleep. I just had to stop by and say....
GO C!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is a good article by Bonnie Ford on him on ESPN if want to take a read:
http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/tdf2008/columns/story?id=3505351

Catch you all after the stage! It should be a great one!

cat

Hello?

It's Saturday, and the race has been over a while now....

Hello?

I only have dumb things to say, so I was waiting for you guys to post some pithy observations....

Sastre raced very well. Evans not so well. I am sure it is for the reasons mentioned by others, but I am bummed. God, Evans looked beat to shit when he hit the line.

Although it was disappointing to not see Christian racing, it was still cool to being the car every now and again.

I loved the people who organized a "wave" every time a rider went by...

Another silly question (my forte) what is the packet you see under the jersey on the backs of some riders? A cooling packet? Something to change the way the wind runs off the back?

Finally, I was so glad to see that Kohl wasn't seriously injured when he rolled off the entry to the start ramp. Do you think it effected his time? It had to be incredibly unnerving, not to mention he kept shaking his wrist afterwards.

susie b

SUSIE'S SWEETIES - STAGE 20 (Sat, Jul 26)

1) Christian Vande Velde. Because even though he "just" finished 4th (4TH!!:) in the TT, he BEAT all the other GC contenders by a MINIMUM of 50 seconds (Menchov) & is now 5th, FIFTH in the Tour de France! What a ride! (Too bad we couldn't SEE it, thanks freakin french TV!) And I know, "if only's" are a waste of time, but do you realize that even counting the 35 seconds from the cracking on Stage 16, if he had not lost the additional 2 minutes from the crash on the descent, he would be on the podium, AT LEAST in 3rd! And I thought Top TEN was the dream! A pipedream even! Nikki, I am so happy for you! And for all American cycling fans. "We got two contenders, we got two contenders, we got two contenders!!!!" (And I know that's atrocious grammar, but it 'singsongs' better this way! :)

2) Cadel Evans. Because my heart ached. As his strength finally gave out & CSC beat him. NOT Sastre (sorry J & M, but I am NOT happy Sastre is considered the winner of the Tour - a guy who looks like he's smelling sour milk every damn time he's up on the podium), but it took the entire team of CSC to beat this one man. (Yes, I know, that's pretty much what the Tour always is - 20 teams against one man, but this was different). I am not disappointed IN Cadel but FOR him. On a Tour course stacked against him, on a team of NO help in the mountains as he tried to defend against the never-before-seen THREE HEADED monster, with a team manager that did NOT have his back in interviews (maybe, just MAYBE, if they were more supportive after Stage 17, he'd have won the damn thing!), as the pre-race favorite & all the pressure it entails, to finish 2nd in the hardest sporting event in the world, for the 2nd year in a row, he should be PROUD & so should all his fans & country. And if I were him, I'd get the hell off that team. And so should Robbie.

3) Fabulous Fabian. Because after exhausting himself for the past 10 days for his team, after helping to pull the peloton over not one, but TWO HC mountains in Stage 17, he still SOMEhow had enough energy to almost win the final TT. And because did you SEE his leg muscles in that white skinsuit as he was pounding towards the Finish? Ooooohheeeee. :)

4) Neal 'I'm already missing you' Rogers. Awww, don't make me start sniffling.

Theresa

Cat, GarMEN, has "cooling socks" that Allen Lim developed, and that's what CVV had under his jersey. But other riders started doing as soon as they noticed it.

I'm sorry, Susie. I like Cadel I really do. I love Aussies!! But we all know, Chris did a better job taking care of Cadel.

I'm sorry, but I'm thrilled with the results!!! The only thing better would be Christian on the podium!! Maybe next year!!!

Theresa

Thanks for the link, Nikki!
While I was there I discovered this written by Bobby Julich
http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/tdf2008/news/story?id=3506284

(I only disagree about one Tour winner he fails to mention....but I guess, that's because the ASO and CAS says so)

Camille

I was VERY impressed with Christian's performance today. Congrats, Theresa and Nikki! He did it! Well, he didn't get on the podium but he SURE made an impression about what's ahead for him. He was amazing.

Like Susie I was disappointed for Cadel, I know that goes without saying. He looked like he was killing himself most of the TT. And yes, he needs to get on some other team!!!! They just don't give him enough supporting guys. Yes, last year Chris Horner gave his all, and Popo I'm sure tried to this year, but he needs *more* than one bigtime guy to back him, he needs a REAL *TEAM* like they have on CSC.

I sure didn't see it coming for Kohl to do so well and for Menchov to not have such a good day. I guess we always count out someone and assume people will always do what they've done in the past. Not so, some cave under too much pressure and some have a lot to prove and want people to know they have ARRIVED! (Christian, Kohl, etc.)

Well, I'm happy for the people who got their wishes today, but of course, not thrilled with the outcome. Carlos really earned the win, but... y'all know how I feel. Oh well! It's almost time for me to get back to living again, and as Jessica would say, climb out of the Tour Tomb! It feels more like a cave to me, but it will be time to re-emerge into the daylight again after tomorrow. I better wear my sunglasses.

I'm just glad Cadel isn't only behind by one second because that would be torture to do the loops in Paris tomorrow, knowing you could try and pull a fast one at the end and WIN!

Well, there's always next year. It's sure a changing of the guard on that GC! Here come the young'ns! :)

I just hope Craig Hummer, Frankie and whoever else aren't hoping for a changing of the commentary guard anytime soon... :(

CMehl

This was an amazing day for Carlos and Team CSC. Carlos is a quiet, unassuming man and he has really put in a near-perfect Tour ride with stellar work from his team. I love CSC too, and cannot wait for next year when Astana will be at the race, two Spanish champions going head-to-head in the Tour de France! I'm almost giddy now thinking about it!

Cadel just didn't quite have it today and lands as second once again--is he the new Jan Ulrich, always the bridesmaid? He had a lot of pressure on him and barely any team to support him. Almost everything he accomplished he did on his own. People are free to not like him, but he grew on me this Tour and I hope he can feel some pride in being on the podium yet again.

And Bernard Kohl....I only know about him because he won a stage in the first Tour of California, and there he was today grabbing the last spot on the podium. Well done! We'll be talking about him next year for sure.

And last but certainly not least...Christian. What a delightful guy. I've never heard anyone speak badly of him and he presents himself to the press as a true champion. I am super happy for him and his team--what a great debut they made at the Tour. I hope his family is in Paris and proud as punch.

So one year ago I was there celebrating and I feel a little sad that it's over and I never stopped checking the results each day to see how we did! But now it's on to the Olympics and the Vuelta....Conta can take the Triple Crown, I just know it, and I will be there for that one!!

Two other things: really proud of Astana for the way they handled the firing of Gusev. An internal, out of competition control revealed abnormal values...bye, bye Goose. And it's super fun during races to log on to yahoo chat and "watch" together, so maybe we can get that organized before the Vuelta.

Also, Contador was very moved by Carlos' victory--his fellow countryman did the job. He had some nice words to say about Sastre's win. Contador is a true gentleman. Next year: the spanish showdown!

susie b

The very worst thing about catching one, two, three, whatever number, of competitors doping is not that THEY are thrown out of a race. It's that you look at EVERY unexpected result with scepticism if not abject disbelief.

For example. Schumacher wins not one, but BOTH Time Trials over the BEST time trialers in the world. And what were his TT results before the Tour? And the 2nd win was AFTER the guy goes in how many breaks? Where's he been hiding this fantabulous ability? Hmmmm, the last guy who "won" both Tour Time Trials was Serghy Honchar & we know what later happened to him....

And then there's Kohl on the same team. A guy who wins the King of the Mountains jersey all while looking like he's having an epileptic seizure as he goes up those mountains. Plus, he finishes 3RD on the PODIUM by having a Time Trial Vegas would have given you 10-1 odds against. Hmmmmmm.

What kind of "anti-doping" policy & procedures are in place on Gerolsteiner?

And since the sponsor has already announced they were leaving the sport, there's no chance of ticking off the sponsor if a chance doping test turns up positive.

I HATE thinking this way, but how do you not?

If CVV wasn't on superclean Garmin, I'd probably have to look askance at him too, even though he's shown flashes of his abilties throughout his career. BUT, he IS on that kind of team & we don't just have to "believe" he's telling the truth when he says he doesn't dope.

Anyway, am I alone in wondering what exactly is IN that water the "waterboys" are drinking?

Theresa

I haven't been on Bicycling's site, but Christian's blood details are there for everyone to see....

Cathy, Bruce posted yesterday, some behind the scenes stuff.
One was a picture of "miss you, Floyd" painted on the road in red paint....almost made me cry..

I like Schmaucher. And remember him being quite the rider. Kohl needs to use some of his prize money to get his teeth fixed. Braces would be good, and maybe caps or veneers on the front teeth! I'm sorry, I'm so shallow, but I really have a thing about teeth!!!

Theresa

Is Carlos going to the Vuelta? He does every year....won't the spanish be in heaven with both AC and CS!!!

Camille

Theresa, I'm sure you're not the only one who thinks that about Kohl. It looks like he must surely be still sucking his thumb when he's not riding! Yes, call me shallow too but when you see that you can't help but picture a kid who was way spoiled and always got their way, and then when I saw him doing a hissyfit motion on a mountain one day, it just supported that impression. And it's just a surface thing but it influences how you perceive the person. Another thing that always colors my impression of the riders is if they don't act very happy, or don't even smile a lot and celebrate when they win. That's when * I * get a little suspicious of not-so-funny-business. It's pure speculation but some of the time it has borne out later to be well-founded suspicion. When they win honestly, they have reason to be very very happy. If not, they have kind of a guilty look about the win sometimes (Chicken had it for sure). "Just my 2 cents"

Cathy, I can't think about the Spanish riders without hearing the Desperado song in my head and I picture Antonio Take-Me-Now Banderas. ("ay yi mi amor") But they always played that song for Valverde's theme song in the stage win predictions.

I'm already starting to have withdrawal feelings and we still have a day to go! Do I really have to go back to real life and accomplishing, myself? I'd much rather think and talk about what OTHER PEOPLE should be doing!

Amy

Susie I *think* I heard P&P say that Schumacher had won 31 races and most of them were time trials, so maybe it's not as strange as it seems for him to have won both...?

So...do we think C.E. is coming to America?

Cat

Cathy, tell us more about the Yahoo chat and "watching together."

cat

...and yes, CE would be very, very happy "coming to America."

"I like to be in America!
Okay by me in America!
Everything free in America
For a small fee in America "

cat

Glad I'm not the only one who struggles with the teeth... in person I think it's easier. TV makes everything...bigger.

susie b

Theresa - I think you misread or at least misinterpreted my previous comment.

After looking askance at Gerolsteiner, I figured it would be hypocritical of me not to mention CVV's amazing 2008 Tour. But, as I said, not all his results are shocking (unlike Kohl) AND he's on the SUPERCLEAN team, with his test results available.

As much as I would want to believe any athlete of which I am a fan, after the last two years, I feel a hell of a lot better believing in guys on teams like Garmin, Columbia, Astana, & CSC, with their "extra" anti-doping procedures. Which I think should be absolutely mandatory for ALL pro teams. If the "little" teams can't afford it, well, that's the price that has to be paid, so maybe they'll just be fewer teams for awhile. At least til they get more sponsors. And, as I've said previously, WHY can't there be a SPONSOR for the dope testing at the races? I think AMGEN would be perfect. Hell, it's their drug that causes part of the problems! Let em "give back"!

Anyway, after Schumacher shockingly won the 1st TT, I looked around to find out more about him. He is a "good" time trialer, but had shown nothing at quite this level before. That cycling experts all seemed to express the same surprise made me feel I wasn't just grumpy that DK or Millar didn't win. :)

Basically, I just now look askance at ANY rider on a team that does not do the same anti-doping stuff of Garmin,etc. Those other riders could of course be clean but I will never again just "believe".

And Cathy, I was very dismayed to see the report about Gusev. Not only to lose him from the team but that it is more ammunition for the critics of this sport. They'll say - "look at that guy. All that supposed in-house testing didn't stop HIM from apparently cheating". And that it came out DURING the Tour probably makes the ASO gloat & pat themselves on the back for barring Astana. You & I may look at it that the "system is working" but that is NOT how it will be interpreted by "outsiders".

Today for the 1st time, I went to NBCsports.com to see how they're covering the Tour. One of the articles is entitled "Lots of Dopes Racing in the Tour de Farce", which was writen by an AP guy & posted last Saturday. He says in it - "Doping is about all anyone talks about these days in the cycling world. The sport is so crippled by dirty riders that everyone is presumed doped & whoever wins the Tour will be suspect". He ends the piece with "After all that's gone on why should we even care anymore? It is, after all, just the Tour de Farce". 1st, someone should tell the asshole that Austin Murphy beat him to THAT punchline a YEAR ago. 2nd, I'd like him to INSIST in print that every NFL player be tested TODAY & on Opening Sunday. And then print the results for the SAME testing to which cyclists are submitted. And then we can all write to him at NBC - "Hey, Dahlberg, the National Felon's League is so crippled by dirty players that everyone is presumed doped & whoever wins the Super Bowl will be suspect"....

CMehl

Susie, regarding Goose, I think it's okay that he was caught internally, because that's the whole purpose of the biological passport, internal testing etc. The team monitor their riders and deal with them before they get a win and test positive. The fact that the riders still chose to cheat even when being tested by the team 30-40 times a year is beyond me but I keep reminding myself: They are cyclists and most of them are not too smart!! I think ASO is in agreement that Astana handled the matter correctly....and someone told me we are invited to some late season ASO events afterall, our sentence is served.

Kohl has baby-bottle mouth or whatever--he must have nursed or sucked a bottle til he was 4 or 5. When he won at ToC in 2006 we were all looking at each other saying, What's wrong with his teeth?! Yes, taking some third place prize money and having some dental work done would be a good thing!

For yahoo chat everyone has to load up the application and get a screen name. Then you tell each other your name so each person can add you to their favorites list. Then when you sign in to yahoo your name appears on the other person's computer. When you see the other person (or persons) on line you can send an instant message and type back and forth OR all join in a group where everyone comments in the same area while watching the coverage of the race. It's pretty fun, esp if you usually watch alone like many of us do.

nikki

Happy Happy Day :-)

I am so proud of Christian and the entire team!!! Not only did C ride great today (and beat the 5 guys in front of him on GC for the stage) but we had Millar in 5th, Ryder in 13th, and PATE in 14th. And those solid rides after 3 weeks of racing. Very happy for them to all (less Maggy-bummer) to be reaching Paris tomorrow. I hope they hold their heads high and soak it all in. I'm looking forward to the fun in the peloton shots before they reach the city. I love those moments and I'm so happy for all the riders that make it there.

Big hurray's for George! He finished 10th today! I was so happy for him after his crash. His arms and legs look so sore.

I like CSC (a lot - 3 years of C and DZ I just fell in love with so many of the guys like Jens!, Tony, Stuey) and I am happy for Carlos. He attacked on Alpe and he rode a great TT for himself to keep the Jersey. Plus I am happy for little Andy in White. He too road to keep it. I enjoyed this TT more than most as there were some good rides from riders who had to put it all out there.

I'm stoked for C and can not wait for a lunch coming up! His family is over there and they are all excited. In a post race interview C too has melted my heart. "If only" is being tossed around. Don't look back right now. Embrace the amazing ride! 5TH!!! "Not just" the top 10 so many laughed at (and I got laughed at for believing) but 5TH! That's just so awesome. And the team has great stage results - many in the top 10! Super proud.

Paul Kimmage has an article out today worth a read -
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/more_sport/cycling/article4407072.ece

nikki

cat - I'm pretty sure the hump in the back you saw on C was his water pack. I think Lance used them in TT's too. Maybe Cathy can confirm that. But I'm pretty sure it was a water pack.

Barbara

They did a little story tonight about the ice packs the GarMEN are wearing on their backs.

VERY exciting time trial! Yippee for Christian!

Barbara

Lance had a naturally curved back - it never went flat like some of them do (gee, I think I've said the same thing about my stomach...) - I remember one of those Discovery Channel specials they ran in 2005 discussing having to take that into account in his aerodynamics for the ITT.

Speaking of aerodynamics, I noticed that some of the riders had chin straps on their TT helmets - Schumacher's was huge and must have cost him a couple of seconds, not that it mattered - and others didn't - I noticed George pulled his helmet off as soon as he crossed, and there were no straps. Recalling Chris Carmichael's article about how every little thing counts in a TT, I'm surprised all the teams haven't cracked the code on chin straps.

Barbara

Did Frank Schleck actually get penalized for drafting? I saw he got warned, and I thought they said he would get penalized. What's the penalty? Time?

It must be hard to NOT draft after 3 weeks of taking every advantage - and in an ITT it is rare that you're even in a position to draft - it would only happen when you're about to catch the guy in front (in which case you wouldn't draft, you'd pass) and when you're the guy who just got passed.

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