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Old 26-10-2006, 13:40   #41
spyretto spyretto is offline
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wow, it'll take a lot of drugs to carry out thar route!
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Old 26-10-2006, 14:25   #42
RowerB RowerB is offline
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Originally Posted by spyretto
wow, it'll take a lot of drugs to carry out thar route!
It always does.

Hopefully the teams will be less inclined to chuck out their leading riders, at the slightest sign of wrongdoing, next year.
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Old 03-07-2009, 20:54   #43
RowerB RowerB is offline
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Sorry for double posting.

The 2009 tour starts in Monaco tomorrow.

Contador, who was given the tour in 2007 when Rasmussen was thrown off the race, had looked invincible ever since, but he cracked badly in this year’s Paris – Nice, so he is not infallible.

Evans has looked strong in his build up to the tour and sounds confident that he is in peak condition.

Sastre is the reigning champion, but I think he is unlikely to win this time. He is in a much weaker team this year.

Andy Schleck is the new leader of Sastre’s old team.

The tour will visit Monaco, France, Spain, Andorra, Switzerland and Italy, which means the spectre of drugs has already influenced the race. Valverde will not start because Italian police would arrest him if he went to Italy.

Result in Paris:
1. Schleck.
2. Contador
3. Evans.

Cavendish says he wants to finish this year’s tour. I think he could win the green jersey if he tries for it.

EDIT 04/07/09
Cancellara won the first stage, a demanding 15km individual time trial. Schleck finished within 45 seconds of Contador and Evans, so all looks good for the race.

EDIT 07/07/09
Having team time trials in major stage races has always been a bad idea. Evans lost 2 minutes 35 seconds today to Contador’s Astana team. His other rivals also made gains and his chances of victory look remote, even this early in the tour. Schleck is now 1 minute 21 seconds behind Contador, so that’s not too bad.

EDIT 12/07/09
The Pyrenees have come and gone and they have told us nothing, as far as who will win the tour is concerned. Contador took a few seconds on the only mountaintop finish, but the next two stages had 50km and 70km runs down to the finishes after the final climbs, which made attacking on the climbs pointless.

EDIT 18/07/09
Weather and terrain have made attacks for the Yellow jersey impossible, but that may change tomorrow when the stage finishes up a not too difficult climb. This is not a tour for the climbers.

The green jersey competition has been interesting though, and things haven’t gone Cavendish’s way in the last two stages. The profile of yesterday’s stage would normally mean a big sprinter like Hushovd would be out of the running to snaffle any points, but heavy rain and dangerous descents slowed the group of the favourites for the overall, so he was able to join a big bunch to contest the sprint for the minor places and take the green jersey.
Today, with Hincape in the break-away putting him in with a chance of taking the yellow jersey, the Columbia team had to try to slow the main field, but at the same time get Cavendish to win the mass sprint for 13th place. They did this, but Cavendish was adjudged to have illegally blocked Hushovd and was disqualified. The decision was right, but it was a very strange situation for Cavendish and his chances of wearing green in Paris are diminishing. Hincape missed the Yellow by 5 seconds.

EDIT 20/07/09
Contador took 43 second off Andy Schleck on yesterday’s final climb and over a minute off everyone else. Evans struggled, but he was unwell. Hopefully today’s rest day will do him good. Wiggins climbed brilliantly and must have a chance at a podium place in Paris.

EDIT 22/07/09
The last two stages have seen Contador strengthen his grip on the yellow jersey and only a meltdown of Paris-Nice proportions can stop him now. Yesterday he rode to the finish with the Schlecks, who had distanced the other contenders on the final two climbs.

Today, Contador won the time trial, helping him to a four minute lead in the overall. Andy Schleck looks fairly safe in second place, but the final podium place in Paris is still up for grabs, with four riders within 34 seconds of each other and a mountain top finish waiting for them on Saturday. The fireworks are going to fly. That’s for sure.

EDIT 27/07/09
The tour is over and withdrawal symptoms are setting in. The coming weeks are going to be really hard. The fireworks I predicted for Saturday didn’t materialise, with no one really able to threaten the riders above them in the overall, apart from Frank Schleck going above Kloden.

Contador won the tour at a canter, and it’s hard to see anyone putting him under pressure in the near future. Andy Schleck needs big improvements in his time-trialing to offer a serious challenge.

Cavendish won on the Champs-Élysées, making it six stages for the tour, but Hushovd held onto the green jersey by ten points.

Once again it was a good tour, with stunning helicopter shots of the race and surrounding countryside.

The way they were set out, the Pyrenean stages forced placid racing, so the main contenders didn’t come out to play until the Alps. That was a mistake in my opinion. The team time-trial should be scrapped.

Last edited by RowerB; 27-07-2009 at 08:18. Reason: updating post
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Old 05-07-2010, 23:59   #44
RowerB RowerB is offline
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Sorry for triple posting.

Saturday saw the start of this year’s tour with Cancellara winning the prologue time trial. Andy Schleck lost 42 seconds to Contador, but the all the overall contenders finished unscathed, which was the main thing.

Nothing much happened yesterday concerning the main riders, but today there were multiple crashes on a wet decent and the big names were scattered all over the place. Chavenel, who was in the breakaway of the day, finished alone to take the yellow jersey. Things looked really bad for the Schlecks for a while, but there was a big regrouping on the run in, as the riders decided not to race hard and risk more crashes. This angered the ITV commentators who were baying for blood (Idiots).

Tomorrow the race heads for some of the cobbles used in Paris–Roubaix. The tour organisers seem hell-bent on eliminating some of the favourite is the first week. Hopefully the riders will all survive.

Edit 06/07/10:
A big blow to Saxo Bank’s hope for overall victory as Frank Schleck is taken down on the cobbles and breaks a collarbone. I think Paris–Roubaix is a the best of the single day classics, but it is wrong to put the Tour contenders at risk on the crazy paving. ITV are ecstatic that Frank is out. Now just Andy and Contador to go and all will be wonderful.

Edit 11/07/10:
First day in the Alps and the favourites just watched each other until the last kilometre, where Schleck rode away with Samuel Sanchez, to take 10 seconds out of the other contenders. Wiggins lost 1:45. Evans took the yellow jersey. More Alps await after tomorrow’s rest day.

Edit 13/07/10:
The Saxo Banks set a fierce pace on the last climb of the day and put Evans into difficulties. Seeing the chance to eliminate a rival, the Astanas raised the pace further and Evans was distanced. With more of the favourites under pressure, Schleck attacked and only Contador could stay with him.

Edit 20/07/10:
Contador had cut Schleck’s lead to 31 seconds on a short sharp climb at the end of Stage 12. Yesterday Schleck’s chain jumped off while he was attacking on the final climb. Contador had little choice, but to ride on with Sanchez and Menchov. It was enough for Contador to take the leader’s Jersey by 8 seconds. There was no major action in today’s Pyrenean stage because of a long run into the finish. Tomorrow is a rest day.

Thursday’s stage should be the showdown between Contador and Schleck. The mountain top finish will make it a race of attrition. Compelling TV viewing for any sports fan.

Edit 22/07/10:
Schleck attacked on the final climb, but he wasn’t able to shed Contador though he matched a searing counter attack. Schleck won the stage with Contador retaining his 8 second lead in the tour.

Edit 24/07/10:
Very strange 52km individual time trial today. With the exception of Menchov, who finished 3:51 down on Cancellara and moved up to third place overall, all the top ten riders in the general classification were hammered. Last year Contador won the final time trial of the tour, beating Cancellara in the process. Today he finished 5:43 down, but it was easily enough to keep the yellow jersey.

Edit 25/07/10:
Contador claims his third Tour de France. He obviously found it very hard this time, but it is still difficult to see anyone beating him in the next few years.

Cavendish easily won on the Champs-Élysées, his fifth stage this year, but Petacchi got the green Jersey.

Another great tour for the tv viewer. I just hope in future they don’t make the opening stages so dangerous.

Last edited by RowerB; 25-07-2010 at 18:09. Reason: update
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Old 02-07-2011, 22:11   #45
RowerB RowerB is offline
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Sorry for quadruple posting.

2011 tour is upon us and it looks like being another showdown between Contador and Schleck. There are no silly cobble stages this year so all the main contenders have a fair chance.

Gilbert won stage one and takes the yellow jersey. Contador and Samuel Sanchez were delayed by a crash and lost 1min 20secs. Kreuziger lost 1min 55secs due to the same crash.

My prediction for Paris:
1. Contador
2. Schleck
3. Wiggins

Tomorrow sees the stupid team time trial stage. Hopefully no one will gain or lose much time.

Edit 03/07/11
The team time trial was not too bad for most of the overall contenders, but Samuel Sanchez’s Euskaltel – Euskadi team finished last and he is now over three minutes behind Schelck. Contador’s Saxo Banks lost just 24 seconds to the Leopard-Treks of Schleck.

Edit 08/07/11
Bad crash in the main pack today eliminated Wiggins and cost Kreuziger 3mins 6secs.
There are a few climbs on the stage tomorrow, so we may see a bit of action from Contador and Schleck as a foretaste of what is to come when the tour reaches the high mountains.

Edit 09/07/11
Contador put in a couple of token digs in the last kilometre of today’s final climb (category three), but he was easily matched by Schleck, so they abandoned hostilities for now and rode in with the pack.

Kreuziger, hurting from yesterday’s crash, lost over 20 minutes.

Edit 10/07/11
Several riders eliminated by crashes today including Van Den Broeck, Vinokourov and Txurruka.

Edit 14/07/11
Three major climbs finishing at Luz-Ardiden ski station guaranteed action between the main contenders today. While Schleck and Contador were marking each other, it was Frank Schelck who gained most. Though he failed to catch Samuel Sanchez for the stage victory, he took 20 seconds out of Evans, Basso and brother Andy, and 33 seconds from a struggling Contador.

Frank Schleck is now second overall with Contador seventh 2 minutes 21 seconds behind him. More importantly Andy Schleck has 1minute 43 secs on Contador.

The tour remains in the Pyrenees for the next two days.

Edit 19/07/11
Little happened in the general classification standings in the Pyrenean stages, but as the race headed towards the Alps today Contador attacked. A breakaway filled the first ten places on the stage, but Contador and Sanchez survived the wet technical descent into Gap, finishing just three seconds behind Evans and taking one minute three seconds out of Andy Schleck.

Tomorrow’s stage again finishes with a technical descent. Andy Schleck said today he thought this kind of stage finish should not be used in the tour. I agree with him. I do not like seeing the overall contenders taking majors risks to keep in contact with the nutcase descenders.

Edit 21/07/11
A big mountain stage today. Andy Schleck attacked on the second climb, 60km from the finish. With a bit of help from a couple of team mates who had been in an earlier breakaway, but mostly on his own, he got a lead up to 4 minutes over the group of favourites, before Evans took up the chase on the final climb of the day. The rest of the contenders followed Evans, but first Samuel Sanchez, then Contador cracked. Evans finished the stage just 2 minutes 15 seconds behind Schleck.
With another major mountain stage tomorrow, Andy Schleck is 15 seconds off yellow and leads Evans by 57 seconds. Contador and Sanchez are too far back to be a threat.

Edit 24/07/11
Andy Schleck took the yellow jersey in the last alpine stage, but there was no real change among the main contenders. However, a blistering time trial yesterday catapulted Evans comfortably into yellow and he stood a top the victory rostrum today in Paris, flanked by Andy and Frank Schleck.

Cavendish won on the Champs-Élysées for the third year in a row. It was his fifth stage win of this year’s tour and he held on to the green jersey.

It was a fairly entertaining tour, but the early crashes eliminated too many of the favourites and troubled Contador.

The joke of the race for me was the staggering form of Voeckler who got the yellow jersey when his breakaway succeeded on stage nine, and he magically transformed into this tour contender who could climb the high mountains with the favourites, eventually finishing forth overall just 3 minutes 20 seconds down on Evans. Having to wear a yellow jersey before he is prepared to push himself makes him a poser in my book. Not the hero the stupid commentators would have us believe.

The tour always has stunning French scenery and now I have to wait a year for my next fix.

Last edited by RowerB; 24-07-2011 at 23:39. Reason: Adding info
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