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« Talk Amongst Yourselves | Main | Now That's What I Call A Bike Race »

July 19, 2009



Welcome back Sara, and NICELY put! I think yesterdays stage was a joy to watch. You don't get to choose who steps up and shows he is the strongest. That's decided in the Mts. And there's NO denyin' that AC has shown that he IS that man. Not a whole lot of controversy NOW, is there. He showed why he IS the new team leader, and Lance has enough class to recognize that. Sure a bunch of us HOPED that the Lance of old would show up, but the years have taken it's toll and you can't turn back the clock. Lance had his reign, now it's the turn for the next generation. And AC looks like it might be his for some time. Gads did he look good when he broke away and 'danced' to the top! And as to his 'salute', well...all I can say is that if I could ride like that, I would probably give the world MY 'smoking gun' too.

All that said, it's not over till it's over. And with the big Ventoux on stage 19...well, there's LOTS of excitement left. Anything can happen. I was secretly hoping Andy Schleck would stay with him and make it a dogfight to the top. But not even Andy could stay. Thats sayin' something. Nice ride Alberto! (and all that said, it will be a real shame if AC decides to leave the team next year).


Yes, Conta was a man on a mission yesterday and isn't it a rush to watch him climb like that? He makes it look so effortless...a pure climber. We're lucky when one comes along for our enjoyment!

And you have to read this by Heinrich Haussler. I think I want to adopt him.

Agree the Tour is far from over. Anything can happen. But now Conta will have Lance and Andreas' full support all to himself--what an honor for a young man like himself, and indeed he's very deserving of it. I do have to say Andreas just looked fabulous yesterday, really strong and dedicated. A few years ago I could never have imagined cheering for him, but now he's certainly one of my favorites. I hope he ends up on the podium.

Gotta go call an adoption agency now, see if Heinrich is available....

susie b

I would be absolutely shocked if AC stays on Johan's team. Fine with me. I originally only liked him because he was on Discovery & then moved with Johan to Astana. I was also impressed with his freaky climbing ability in 2007 & like many, predicted he would be THE Tour force for years to come. I was also then under the impression that he was a humble, sweet kid. His real character appeared after the Vuelta last year when the then-rumour about Lance's Comeback 1st surfaced. Even worse was his slaging on Levi after that race. Something *I* will never forgive. Since then, he's spent the last several months whining & puffing out his scrawny chest in the press that HE is the boss of the team & yada, yada, yada.

You like who you like & I don't like Contador. He's a hotheaded, arrogant, whiny sneak who would NEVER have the class to stand up & congratulate a teammate after his own Tour chances took a devastating hit. (See his snitfit after the wind caper...) It's possible & maybe probable that he'll win this year's Tour. Even though I feel disloyal to Lance, Johan, & Levi about it, *I* won't be cheering if that comes to pass. Hopefully, I won't let myself devolve into one of those "haters" who pick apart every utterance & body movement of their detested target to "explain" ad nauseum why the guy is so vile, but it's a struggle. ;)

AC is an amazing accelerator in the mountains & his flight up the Verbier yesterday was damn impressive. But, I think once he's off Johan's team, his arrogance & myopic stupidity will prevent him from dominating future Tours even if his talent seems to dictate it. It's even possible he will crack in THIS Tour, just like he did in Paris-Nice. I doubt that, but stranger things have happened in this sport.

And then of course, there's the doping past. He was on a Saiz team... Pretty much says it all. That he was not dragged into OP more has always mystified me. SAIZ was one of the few guys actually ARRESTED at the time. AC was ON his team then. Oh, well. If every rider with a link to past doping was kicked out of the sport right now, you couldn't have a one-day race. As much as I admire CVV, ever listen to how he answers past doping questions? I understand - it's the way it was. Whether it's still going on & we Pollyana Americans are oblivious, who knows. If true & somehow revealed, I'll probably stop watching or at the very least, stop caring about the sport. Like I've done with pro basketball & football, but for different reasons.

Well, Lance has amazed me all year. And he absolutely astounded me yesterday with his composed interviews after the Stage. I also would NEVER count out Lance Armstrong. Never. Not next year & not THIS year. After a 3.5 year absence from the sport, the guy only had 6 months of racing in his legs when he started this year's Tour. LESS if you count the missed time due to the collarbone break. If you consider that, plus his age (OMG, did anyone ELSE want to throw at shoe at the TV every freakin time P2 said "37" yesterday?!!!), I think what he has done so far in this Tour is friggin AMAZING! And then there's the crap he deals with every day; at the race by the media, jealous riders, & the frenzied crowds all wanting some of "Lance, Lance, Lance!"'s attention. I read everything about & by him & I still don't have any idea how he stays sane let alone competes in the world's hardest sporting endurance event.

As for AC. If he does start to dominate future Tours like Lance or even, God forbid, boring Indurain, my time in the Tour Tomb will take a break.

Anyway, something GOOD Tour-related happened the last 4 days : COMCAST finally stopped barging into my Versus coverage with extra commercials! It started Friday night & 1st, I thought I had just become so beaten-down & numbed to all the break-ins that I wasn't noticing anymore. But, nope! They've stopped! Maybe my 3rd, screaming call to Comcast, threatening to alert Nature Valley & Chrysler, finally got them to pay attention! :)


Wrong, wrong and wrong.....on all accounts about Alberto.


Susie, I just have to say that your post really infuriates me. You pick and chose the pieces of "news" you wish to retain and totally cast aside the rest. Alberto offered up his DNA to prove his innocence and the OP officials would not take it. If you want to hold that particular item against him F.O.R.E.V.E.R then I suggest you pull pieces from the news that are similar for each and every other rider in the peloton. A rider can do only so much to prove his innocence and I would think DNA would be at the top of the list for certain proof.

You seem to not understand the mindset of a champion--AC and LA are both TdF champions, both approach their lives with the same mentality for seizing the day (both come from a like background in coming very close to death). Truthfully AC reminds me a bit of Lance in his earlier career: confident, take no prisoners, a winning mentality. The fact that Alberto doesn't speak English and all his comments in the American press are translated doesn't help his true nature come across very well, but I've told you that over and over again. In fact he's a very kind person, a good teammate, and one helluva bike rider. He's young but has an incredible career ahead of him, and is still learning all the time. In fact he's learning from one of his idols now, what a wonderful AND UNEXPECTED opportunity for him. None of us expected Lance to come back to racing, least of all a young cyclist focusing his season on the very race LA has won a record seven times...and then to find out same said individual will be on the same team...whoa. I find his initial reaction quite human and no surprise at all. Will he win again? Who knows, but he's earned the support of the entire team now and he will get it. Hopefully he's up to the task of riding all the way to Paris in yellow. But if he isn't, we have a few others who are ready to step up and see what they can do. It takes a team to win the Tour and Alberto has the support of the best.


The brim on my hat was nibbled off after AC took his first yellow. And I've had to eat the whole thing after that hill performance. On record as not thinking he'd make podium, I have to recant and say:

I know nothing.

Its been one freaking dramatic day after the other and the disappoint for Levi still lingers for me. I had to reread your sentence above Cathy, thinking you'd overlooked Levi when listing Lance and Andreas. Add to that year after year of rooting for what has always seemed to me, the good guy, the hard worker, the one waiting for his turn GEORGE. DAMN, I wanted him in yellow.

This rest day better cheer me up.

As for Lance, are we seeing a competitive beast that has turned his thoughts long-term? Maybe an 8th win isn't the anchor for his long term goals. I don't doubt he could. But does he need to?

Cathy, I'll go in on that adoption with you -- we can split the holidays and share during the Tour too!

susie b

He's on your team, Cathy, so I would not expect you to say anything negative. Even IF you felt/thought it. And if you actually like the guy, then fine.

I do not. The only reason I held back my full dislike of AC on this site until today is that I didn't want to offend YOU. I know what I've read (for the past 10 months) & HEARD from his own mouth in video interviews & the rest is how I FEEL. But, unlike the Lance Haters who NEVER seem to get enough of going on & on & on, I've had enough already. Except one thing - I hold SAIZ against Contador more than any OP evidence. But, whatever.

And if AC wins the Tour, I'll be happy for you, happy for Johan, & for all the other riders & support staff on the team. But I will NOT be happy that Contador won. Are the Red Sox HAPPY when the Yankees win? Is Michigan HAPPY when Ohio State wins? Is Carolina HAPPY when Duke wins? Hell, NO!

However, I AM going to try to put on my HAPPY HAT for the rest of the Tour. Just know when I read articles like that on Sastre today, don't be surprised if my Sarcastic Shoes are part of my outfit too.

susie b

I am hoping & praying Jens is alright.

And I know most of us here read Fatty's & I'm praying even harder for things to at least get easier for Elden & Susan. I am constantly amazed at that man - how he takes care of his wife, kids, job, blog, LAF fundraising & has a sense of humor through it all. How does he do it? How? He is 10 times stronger than I could ever be. There are times I can't even read his posts, either because I get too emotional or because they scare me. What do people do who get cancer & don't have an 'Elden'? How do they survive? Literally? Even for a month? If there is a Heaven, then people like Elden Nelson will be the Kings.


Okay, I have to talk about George's 5 sec miss at the yellow jersey.
At first, I was furious, and got into the blame game with everyone else. But then I started thinking of the situation....I'm not so quick to blame Garmin. They missed those big time breaks in the first week...Columbia themselves had Mark to think about, and the when Thor accused Mark of moving in on him...That pissed me off, I had to watch the finish again, to see if I could see it, but I really don't think Mark did anything wrong. Then he loses 18 pts that day....well, Mark, himself, said he needed to learn more about winning points on the road. And I've never seen Thor so rattled by another rider. Astana had nothing to do with the drama, except they were controlling the pace on the front most of the day.

I think it was a huge dissapointment for George and all his fans and supporters..but I decided it's bike racing. Maybe George was pissed that he didn't push harder (how??) for that 5 lousy seconds.

Now I'm sure that you guys discussed this on the day it happened on Sara's other post...but as you see I'm not here everyday (sorry Sara). And I had a "crisis" of my own when the Gov I voted for decided to be a jerk...


Oh, and regarding AC. He reminds me of the arrogant Lance of yrs ago. I like him, but I'm a Levi fan...
I expect him to move on, just like Sastre did after last yr. Poor, Carlos. He and Cadel had last yr. I really think Cadel would have won last yr, if he hadn't CRASHED!!! That took way too much of his energy..and that was the difference.

And I'm so proud of Garmin and Columbia, even tho' they seem to be sniping at each other like siblings.
And who knew DZ could climb with the best! I could see last yr his riding is changing, and that may affect his TT wins. But he is really matured into an all-rounder. Of course we all know it.
Christian is awesome, and Brad Wiggins is remarkable!!!


As to Fattys, it's a real heartbreak. All I can say is that as one of his team co-capts, we have had some emails that he alludes that things are worse than he lets on. Which is SO VERY SCARY and SAD!! Todays post is crushing. For the first time that I know of, he alludes that he is taking care of her at the "end of her life". We have all been hoping/praying that she will do better, when it appears the best that can be hoped for is no pain and a quiet end. That just breaks my heart, and Susie, you said it..what does EVERYBODY ELSE do with NO Elden? Or is there an 'Elden' in most of us, that only comes out in the most trying of times? I sure hope so, yet I also hope I never have to find out how strong I can be. Wish I could help, but I guess joining Team Fatty is all I can do for them. OK..I'll wipe away the tears now...lets talk cycling!

T, you mentioned about Wiggins! Gosh...sure he's an Olympic medalist (pursit I believe?)...but a Grand Tour GC Contender? Holy cats, where did THAT come from? Who knew he could CLIMB! What a suprise! And Denny was HE strong the other day, leading Lance! I don't know if L has the firepower to maintain his podium spot over these next few days, but if he doesn't, hopefully the team sets Menchov free to fly...see if HE can podium! I think he is capable (again). And how will Andy Schleck do these next few days? Todays stage will be a good barometer...(haven't seen it yet, but the profile looks HORRIFYING!) And he a CLASS ACT or WHAT! You justhave to love that guy. To see him out in front, absolutly BURYING himself for Andy. That pace he was setting on the stage 15 climb...what a guy! (he's VERY near the very top of my Fav riders!) I still laugh from what Phil said the other day when he finally peeled off after setting the pace: "Cancellara has now put it in reverse" (hem meant in a good way, after doing his job to the utmost!) P & P crack me up! And I also admit that Hummer is growing on me...slow but sure.


Hey Matt, I think you mean Andreas....we don't have Menchov on our team! ;-) Plus Johan is done with Astana at the end of the season and in a day or two Lance is announcing the new team. There is never a DULL MOMENT in cycling, eh? And Lance crossing that gap today was like an era gone!


YES! I was SO impressed to see Lance covering that gap so quickly and (seemingly) easily today -- brought back so many memories. Regardless of how Lance ends up in the final GC however, I've been extremely impressed with his attitude and candor throughout this Tour. While he still has a bit of an "edge" when answering some questions, his attitude is definitely one of determination but also of someone who is exactly where he wants to be. I think that the time away from the sport was great for him and I can't wait to hear the announcement about the team! (what a tease you are, Cathy!)

My opinion on AC is somewhere in the middle of where Susie and Cathy are. Obviously I can't speak of anything else than what we've heard and read in the press, which is admittedly prone to bias and translation issues. But, he is not my favorite rider on the team and, though I think he'll win, I'd have much rather seen Lance, Levi, or Andreas take it for Astana. Nothing that I can put my finger on -- he's just not my favorite. It's always difficult with those who don't speak the same language, also.

I am sending TONS of positive healing thoughts to Jens today. MAN, that was a tough crash. I wonder how fast they were going at that point. DZ was literally FLYING down that mountain!!! I hate not having Jens there for the rest of the Tour and just hope he's OK.

There are times that I can't finish reading over at Fatty's too, Susie. He is one AMAZING person and I also wonder if we all have qualities that show themselves when we must face such adversity or if he is simply one in a million. I'm in awe of him either way...

Thanks for the HH link, Cathy. Loved it.
Matt, you are so right. Bradley W has astonished me! What the???? He and CVV both looked really good today and I'm still cheering for them. And yes, watching Fabian on that climb yesterday after being in the break all day was inspiring. He is DEFINITELY on of my absolute favorite riders!

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