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Old 07-23-09, 09:58 AM   #1
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The battle for 3rd place

With only one more stage (stage 20, ending with Mont Ventoux) likely to impact the podium, Contador and A.Schleck seem secure in 1st and 2nd place, as they are the two best climbers and have large leads over the rest. It seems to me that 3rd place is up for grabs.

1. Contador
2. A.Schleck, +4:11
3. Armstrong, +5:25
4. Wiggins, +5:36
5. Kloden, +5:38
6. F.Schleck, +5:59

4 riders separated by 34 seconds. Who do you think takes it? Will Kloden have to ride to protect Armstrong?
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Old 07-23-09, 09:59 AM   #2
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Tough call between LA and Wiggo. Think LA will inch it on Ventoux.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:04 AM   #3
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Don't count out Frank.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:04 AM   #4
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If Frank can recover enough by Saturday, I think he can gain enough time on the 3 others to squeak into 3rd place, as he is the best pure climber of the four riders fighting for 3rd place.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:06 AM   #5
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I don't think Andy has enough time on the other four to consider his position secure just yet.

But ruling that out, I'd like to say Kloden, but if it's a close race between him and Armstrong I don't think Kloden would fight for it due to his historical role as a #2. Frank has been impressive, but has really been riding for his brother and I expect that to take a toll. On stages 16 and 17 Lance surprised me with his late pushes in the climbs, so I think he is still my favorite for 3rd.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:07 AM   #6
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Tough call between LA and Wiggo. Think LA will inch it on Ventoux.
i think wiggens is finished. kloden is as strong as lance, maybe stronger. but does the submissive german have the huevos to ride for himself? i also wouldn't count out fschreck but lance does have a good shot at third monkey if he doesn't crack.

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Old 07-23-09, 10:16 AM   #7
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I think Armstrong will likely hold onto third. Wiggins has been impressive, but was dropped pretty badly yesterday. And while he's been able to hang on the wheel of the leaders most stages, he hasn't show that he can attack and make up time on the better climbers.

Kloden isn't going to attack to make up time. He'll stick with Lance and probably ride support for him.

That leaves Frank Schleck. He might be a strong enough climber to drop Lance, but he'll have to do it all on his own. Andy is too far out of first to have any shot at it, so his goal is going to be to ride defensively. He only has a minute on Armstrong, so he's not going to spend his energy towing Frank (and Lance) up the mountain, risking his own podium spot. So Frank is going to have to be strong enough to attack on his own and drop the pair of Armstrong and Kloden working together. My bet would be against that.

Edit: The wildcard would be if Lance tried to attack to move up to second. If he did that, he could blow himself out and be vulnerable to a counterattack from Frank. But given the low likelihood that Lance would be able to outclimb Andy and get a full minute on him, I'd say Lance will also probably be riding defensively just to preserve his podium finish.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:32 AM   #8
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I think that the Schleks will again attack and get 2nd and 3rd. As long as Andy is clear from getting himself into trouble, he will work with Frank to drop Lance. So, unless Lance can keep Andy worried, he will get tested. If LA is dropped, the twins will cover the time gap.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:56 AM   #9
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So will Contador ride for himself or for more Astana presence on the podium? And if he rides for himself, will Johan still be pleased?
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Old 07-23-09, 10:59 AM   #10
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I think that the Schleks will again attack and get 2nd and 3rd. As long as Andy is clear from getting himself into trouble, he will work with Frank to drop Lance. So, unless Lance can keep Andy worried, he will get tested. If LA is dropped, the twins will cover the time gap.
i believe that's the most likely outcome.

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Old 07-23-09, 11:01 AM   #11
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So will Contador ride for himself or for more Astana presence on the podium? And if he rides for himself, will Johan still be pleased?
i think contador will ride for the win....i hope he attacks if he has the legs. if he does that and is successful, bruyneel will have to at least pretend like he's pleased .

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Old 07-23-09, 11:06 AM   #12
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I don't see Wiggins making it. He can not pull back time on a climb against the others. He might be able to jump away on stage 19 (yes 19) and get the seconds needed to climb into third before stage 20. Then he would have a slim chance of hanging on. That or catching a Schleck wheel that others miss.

Otherwise it is a tough call. If both Schlecks have the legs I think Frank for third. But it ahs to be both. If Andy is not feeling in topp form I don't see Frank attacking and putting Andy's second at risk. But my guess is Andy will be more willing to risk for Frank than any other rider would in a similar team situation.
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Old 07-23-09, 11:07 AM   #13
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i think contador will ride for the win....i hope he attacks if he has the legs. if he does that and is successful, bruyneel will have to at least pretend like he's pleased .

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Yep.

Ventoux is arguably the most prestigious climb to win at the TdF, I expect AC won't let his chance to put his name on it pass. That and he's also racing for next year's meal ticket, and a win on Ventoux won't hurt his negotiation leverage.
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Old 07-23-09, 11:09 AM   #14
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Were talking about Ventoux, right? I don't think AC attacks. He sticks with Lance and Kloden until the Schlecks attack and they all go up together. Who comes in third, I have no idea...it is going to an awesome stage. Though he doesn't have a chance for the podium, I think Sastre takes the stage.
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Old 07-23-09, 12:20 PM   #15
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Remember something - Ventoux is the one major TdF climb that Lance hasn't won a stage on. Given that AC's lead is pretty safe at this point (he'd have to *really* bonk for A. Schleck to have a shot at him, and if he were in that much trouble, Lance towing him up the climb probably wouldn't be enough), Lance can ride for himself, and something tells me he's going to give it everything to get the stage win. Interesting to see if he has the legs left for it. Plus, given the rumblings about AC's alleged failings as a teammate (dropping Kloden being only the latest example), I think it'd be in his long-term interest to make a point of helping out a teammate, assuming it costs him nothing as far as this year's results.
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Old 07-23-09, 02:17 PM   #16
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I think it's between Lance and Frank. Frank proved yesterday that he can out climb Lance this year especially with the help of Andy and Alberto. Lance's biggest hope is Frank is more tired than he is. They both look spent.

P.S. Somehow I don't see any Astana member helping Contador tomorrow. Not that he needs it now.
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Old 07-23-09, 02:32 PM   #17
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I think it's between Lance and Frank. Frank proved yesterday that he can out climb Lance this year especially with the help of Andy and Alberto. Lance's biggest hope is Frank is more tired than he is. They both look spent.

P.S. Somehow I don't see any Astana member helping Contador tomorrow. Not that he needs it now.
I doubt that. All of Astana will be there to help AC if he needs it. The last thing Astana wants to do now is to lose the yellow. In spite of the conspiracy theorists out there, outside of AC Astana is not well placed to threaten for the lead.

Armstrong is stronger than both Wiggens and Kloden but hasn't been climbing as well as the Shlecks. It is a long mountain and if they go hard from the bottom, I don't think anyone can hang with AC or the Bros.
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Old 07-23-09, 02:58 PM   #18
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I think Contador blows the roof off the race and wins on Ventoux by 1'30" or more. I just can't imagine a situation where he lets this race end on a historic climb without him winning the stage, and if he goes on Ventoux it'll be like Angliru last year ... he's shatter the peleton and win by a huge margin.

How people react after that will be interesting. I don't know if Frank can make up enough time on Lance to knock him off the podium. I think Lance will literally ride himself to death on Ventoux to not lose his place.
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Old 07-23-09, 03:20 PM   #19
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All it takes is for lance to have a bad day at all and kloeden or wiggo could have it. Wiggins has done bad in the mountains so far so I wouldn't count him out yet IMO
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Old 07-23-09, 03:28 PM   #20
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I think Contador has a massive incentive to win the Mont Ventoux stage in the Tour, and that's not something many riders can say they've done, and who knows if he'll get a better opportunity than this, where his lead is so large that he can afford to take a run at it, and even if he cracks a little, still hold the yellow jersey.

Plus, I don't think he gives a damn about JB and LA after the way they managed things for Lance until AC won the stage the other day. He's not riding for them next year anyway.

What will be interesting is if he goes, can Frank get on his wheel? And the uproar that would cause if Contador paces Frank to 3rd place.
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Old 07-23-09, 03:32 PM   #21
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I think Contador blows the roof off the race and wins on Ventoux by 1'30" or more. I just can't imagine a situation where he lets this race end on a historic climb without him winning the stage, and if he goes on Ventoux it'll be like Angliru last year ... he's shatter the peleton and win by a huge margin.

How people react after that will be interesting. I don't know if Frank can make up enough time on Lance to knock him off the podium. I think Lance will literally ride himself to death on Ventoux to not lose his place.
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Old 07-23-09, 03:59 PM   #22
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Contador goes for the win if he has the shot. A win on Ventoux is, arguably, the most prestigious win there is. Any Tour champion wants it. Also, if Contador gifts it there's no guarantee he'll get another shot.

Ask Armstrong. He gave Ventoux to Pantani in '99. As we all know Armstrong won 6 more Yellows but never got his win on Ventoux. For that reason if LA can attack and take the win he will but I don't know if that opportunity will be there.


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Old 07-23-09, 04:55 PM   #23
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Old 07-23-09, 07:31 PM   #24
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i think contador will ride for the win....i hope he attacks if he has the legs. if he does that and is successful, bruyneel will have to at least pretend like he's pleased .

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Old 07-23-09, 07:50 PM   #25
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I think that AC will win the stage and I hope he has the brains to simply mark everyone until the final Km or so and then accelerate away for the victory. That would be the smart play but I'm skeptical.

For all of the folks who think he's gotten no support from Lance, Kloden and the rest of Astana...I wonder if you will be as hard on him as you were on them if he again goes off on his own and screws up his teammates' shot at the podium. That's really the more likely scenario.
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