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Old 06-24-06, 11:56 PM   #1
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Stage 3: Esch-sur-Alzette - Valkenburg (Netherlands)

Stage 3: Esch-sur-Alzette - Valkenburg (Netherlands), 216 km

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Old 07-03-06, 05:49 PM   #2
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I'm picking Valverde to win this.
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Old 07-03-06, 10:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Devil
I'm picking Valverde to win this.
Seeing as he's said he wants to win... seems like a good pick. How about a guy like Frank Schleck who's not in it for the GC? I suppose "Balaverde" could do with some time bonuses for an early maillot jaune, though...
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Old 07-03-06, 10:57 PM   #4
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Hey where are the stage maps?
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Old 07-04-06, 12:40 AM   #5
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Boogerd on home soil.....

But realistically I reckon Oscar Freire will do it
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Old 07-04-06, 12:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by oboeguy
Seeing as he's said he wants to win... seems like a good pick. How about a guy like Frank Schleck who's not in it for the GC? I suppose "Balaverde" could do with some time bonuses for an early maillot jaune, though...
Schleck not really recovered yet from broken nose 2 weeks ago. He had to take liquid food for 3 days, and antibiotics. According to himself he'll need another 6 to 8 days to be fully fit (just in time for the mountains ). Although main man in CSC Sastre at moment, Schleck could become the surprise if he doesn't lose too much time in the first TT.

For Valkenburg I think Valverde will stay put. He is a definite hope for GC this year. Why waste his time in Valkenburg.

My guess is Boogerd. He's the home man, whole Rabobank will work for him, he knows the streets by heart, and he must be the guy with most podiums in the Amstel. But this will be possible only if

1) he is in a good break 20 kms from the end
2) there is no breakwith over 5 mins 20 kms from the finish

Not sure that today sprinters' teams will be fighting a lot for closing on breaking riders, as I do not believe in a sprinter's victory (although Hushovd has proven to be a pretty good climber ).
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Old 07-04-06, 12:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by adamastor
Why waste his time in Valkenburg.
For a stage win? Just because a rider is going for the GC doesn't mean they have to forego trying to win stages that do little for their GC aspirations. That may be the Armstrong model (which I don't really have a problem with), but some guys just like to win.

Besides, he said he wanted to win this stage.
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Old 07-04-06, 01:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Devil
For a stage win? Just because a rider is going for the GC doesn't mean they have to forego trying to win stages that do little for their GC aspirations. That may be the Armstrong model (which I don't really have a problem with), but some guys just like to win.

Besides, he said he wanted to win this stage.
If he said he wanted to win here, then forget what I said. It's just that it is common for any real Tour contender to not mix in early stage wins, as there the peloton is still very nervous, and the crash risks are bigger. I have been wrong before, but

1) if Valverde waits for the last climb (Cauberg) to put his attack, there will be at least 10 guys countering him, because they are still fresh and watching HIM (and maybe putting all efforts on this particular stage)

2) if Valverde is in an early break, he'll have to work like a madman, and that will hurt in the later stages.

Tour stage win for Valverde? Yes, but in Pla de Beret or Alpe d'Huez, not Valkenburg.

BUT, as I said, I have been wrong before
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Old 07-04-06, 02:51 AM   #9
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I cant wait for todays stage. ... thor looked great today even with a few stiches. I was amazed he made that first sprint with tom
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Old 07-04-06, 04:22 AM   #10
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If I'm not totally mistaken, Thor once took a U-23 world championship in time trial in Valkenburg. He's in terrific form these days despite his cut, and mad for not being first yesterday, so who knows...
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Old 07-04-06, 05:45 AM   #11
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If I'm not totally mistaken, Thor once took a U-23 world championship in time trial in Valkenburg. He's in terrific form these days despite his cut, and mad for not being first yesterday, so who knows...
A good ride in the Prolouge but he wont win a stage! There's no way he's faster than Mcewan or Boonen in the sprint.
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Old 07-04-06, 05:51 AM   #12
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given the climbs I don't think it's going to be a sprint finish.
I think this one is where a break survives.

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Old 07-04-06, 05:57 AM   #13
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given the climbs I don't think it's going to be a sprint finish.
I think this one is where a break survives.

marty
+1 Marty but give us a name...?
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Old 07-04-06, 06:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by lotek
given the climbs I don't think it's going to be a sprint finish.
I think this one is where a break survives.

marty
Totally agree. If no break, forget Boonen, Casper and Mc Ewen ( I'm sure you'll punish me if I'm wrong ) , but IF 2 sprinters then

1) Hushovd (very strong in hills)
2) O'Grady (who did a lot of work for mountain stages this year)
3) Zabel (don't forget the old man, one of the only sprinters to always FINISH the Tour)
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Old 07-04-06, 06:38 AM   #15
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boogerd. who else?
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Old 07-04-06, 07:14 AM   #16
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I'm picking Valverde to win this.
Me too. The finish is perfect for him. If Bettini were there, I'd give it to him. Live blogging here.
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Old 07-04-06, 08:47 AM   #17
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Well, so much for Valverde. Damn.
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Old 07-04-06, 08:52 AM   #18
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YEP, valverde down and out... broken collerbone
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Old 07-04-06, 08:53 AM   #19
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I'm picking Valverde to win this.

Bye bye Valverde for the stage win AND the Tour...shame!
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Old 07-04-06, 09:21 AM   #20
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Matthias Kessler takes the win after a timly attack on the last climb of the day. Sweet victory after his heartbreaking loss yesterday after a long breakaway.

1. Matthias Kessler (G), T-Mobile
2. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, 00:05
3. Daniele Bennati (I), Lampre, 00:05
4. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step-Innergetic, 00:05
5. Erik Zabel (G), Milram, 00:05
6. Luca Paolini (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 00:05
7. Oscar Freire (Sp), Rabobank, 00:05
8. Eddy Mazzoleni (I), T-Mobile, 00:05
9. Georg Totschnig (A), Gerolsteiner, 00:05
10. Fabian Wegmann (G), Gerolsteiner, 00:05
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Old 07-04-06, 09:29 AM   #21
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Sure didn't see this one coming. . .
anybody know the lowdown on O'Grady?
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Old 07-04-06, 09:49 AM   #22
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Wow, this could't set up better for Flandis, Levi and Hincapie. Sucks for Valverde as we'll never know if he could've won or pushed the American contingent.
Now this has a tour of California feel to it.
Could this race lose anymore top GC riders???
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Old 07-04-06, 09:53 AM   #23
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Will O'Grady start tomorrow? He looked injured and slow at the finish.
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Old 07-04-06, 10:31 AM   #24
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I'm really bummed about Valverde, he was my favorite for the GC. It does look like this could be an all US podium although Evans might have some say in the outcome.
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Old 07-04-06, 10:49 AM   #25
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Goddamnit. That really sucks about Valverde...
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