Happy Bastille Day!!!
July 14 237 km
Watch and wait, another "sit on it" day for GC contenders. The only interest will be in KOM points and possibly some jockeying for green jersey points at the end. Wish it weren't so, but all the hi-tech training and cardio-physio babble is just taking the good old-fashioned fun out of destroying people on the road early on.
I mean, God forbid, Lance goes out and destroys everyone and gets it over with.
What will this stage bring? Curious to see if the teams take up the gauntlet thrown down by LeBlanc when he challenged them to use the next two stages to shake up the order of things. Rumors have rumbled that Phonak has scoped out the next two stages in secret.
The most significant possibility for the morrow is the Green Jersey changing hands. McEwen is injured and is not as good a climber as either Zabel or O'Grady. He is only 25 pts to the good of Zabel and less to O'Grady. Cofidis has little else to live for except getting O'Grady to Paris in the Green. T-Mobile has larger mountains to climb in the competition for Yellow, so it's possible that Cofidis will throw everything into getting O'Grady to Saint FLour first. Possibly an early break to take the pressure off O'Grady, then follow up with a hard charge up the mountain to get Stuart over the top first and to put as much pressure on McEwen as possible, followed by a hard effort to get SG into Saint Flour ahead of McEwen. Zabel will probably match the best attempts of any of the other Maillot Verde competitors. If he does less work on the day, he may be rested to take the Green in the finale.
Many of the riding wounded will be shelled tomorrow and Thursday.
Yeah, because what Lance does is really all that matters right?
Absolutely! I'm glad you see it our wayOriginally Posted by Gustaf
This years flat stages have been pretty exciting for a change. Not as dull as past years.
Soon all the sprinters will be losing 30 minutes or more a stage to the true champions of the tour and things will get even better.
1. It's sad that you think any stage that has nothing to do with Lance is a yawner.
2. This is not necessarily a day for the sprinters. Have you looked at the profile?
i may have overreacted
I agree, these flat stages have been great. With Petacchi down and out you really never know who is going to win.
I would really like to see Bettini (if he can make it over the big ones with the leaders) do something special tomorrow.
Actually, my post was purposely sarcastic yet sublime. After all, you're reading Richard Cranium's post.
This year's tour has indeed been more memorable and exciting than most. And today's stage -- well what can you say, there ought to be a new term devised for breakaways that self destruct with 200 meters to go. I think I'll call it the "naw you go first" breakaway.
My point about Lance and the Posties getting alll jerky, is that with all the science about "lactate" and recovery, everyone will be saving themselves for the next stage. (at least GC types)
I doubt there will be any fireworks, the big three will play poker waiting to see who will chase some of wildcards. The only intrigue will be who will be willing to wait, or willing to work first to chase them down on the last climb.
i may have overreacted
I really have no idea who will take this, but if I could guess, I would say that Bettini will win it in a group sprint.
I'm thinking an early break will take the sprint bonuses.
I see some Phonak boys attacking like crazy on this one.
To be honest, the two best stages have been prologue and team time trial so far. Flat stages are only decent at a few points, so I've been catching the hour or so of highlights of those stages, which skirt over the first 4/5 of the race, and concentrate on the end.
Don't see how tomorrow could be a yawn, with a stage two followed by a stage one climb, and various other stage two three and fours.
Yeah, stages where Lance attacks rock, but theres plenty of sprinting action going on so far, but it's better in the highlights.
Anyway, it's Bastille Day this day - should see some agressive french attacking!
Cue jokes about cheese eating surrender monkies...
Last edited by belfast-biker; 07-13-04 at 07:11 PM.
Fat man trying to reform. slowly. :)
I don't know, it's a long ways from the last hill to the finish...plenty of time to make up 30 seconds IMHO.Originally Posted by Devil
I think Mayo going for the mountain points today might mean something, perhaps an early break to pick up all the points along the way, but will anyone let him go?
I think the fireworks will start on Friday
"I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"
This could be where the knights and bishops come out to play after the center game, which Lance has won handily. Quite possibly Phonak's Gutierrez, Perez, or Pereiro could put some hard pressure on just to see what the USPS mid-game looks like.Originally Posted by Devil
If O'Grady can stay close enough to the front on the climbs that he can regain contact on the run in, he could even end up in Yellow. Voeckler and team were reported to appear very tired at the end of today's stage.
My thoughts exactly, Don.
And about Voeckler, I wouldn't be surprised. It would be a shame for him though, to lose the maillot jaune on Bastille Day. Same thing happened with Virenque last year.
G'day,Originally Posted by Devil
you blokes aren't as 'left of centre' as many may think. Stuey is alot stronger in the hills this year. His main focus in switching to Cofidis was the one day 'Classics'. Whilst not as strong as the 'real' climbers, 6 mins start on Lance, means yellow is not beyond the realm of possibility for Stuey at all. My other tip, watch out for Mick Rogers. I have extremely high hopes for Mick in GC calculations this year. (maybe top 10) He'll climb well as long as they don't make him drag Virenque over every Col,
Not sure what you mean with that 'left of center' comment.
I think Stuey has a good chance of being in yellow tomorrow (man, the guy has the best luck with huge breakaways and the maillot jaune - just look at 2001), and I'm hoping for it as he's my favorite sprinter.
This just in from the cyclingnews "live" website:
The cows are more lively today, with a herd of Friesians keeping pace with the bunch for a while.
At the summit of Col de Neronne with 75k to go Virenque and Merckx are still 10'42 in front of the peleton. Brioches La Boulangère is maintaining the pace and not many have dropped of. I'm starting to think that they have a good shot at the stage.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference. (R. Frost)
PUT THE DAMN BARRIERS UP!!!!
What the crap? The crowds are practically jumping on the riders as they are climbing up the mountain, and they are spilling onto the street. There is barely enough room for the riders! I just can't believe they won't put up barriers at least for the mountain climbs.
Idiots. Watch them cause an accident for the major riders.
Hope there is not a repeat of 1975.Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
Virenque is a climbing machine! This guy is incredible!
16 H 11 - Correction: 68 Points For Virenque
Contrary to the previous flash, Virenque has collected 68 points in the climbing classification today. The final climb of the stage is ranked category-two and the new rule for 2004 means that all climbs rated cat-2 or higher are worth double points. So the Col de Prat de Bouc is worth 20 points for the first rider, not 10. Sorry for any confusion caused.
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Win or lose, Viva Virenque!
Unfortunately this Stage looks more like a Bastille Day parade with Virenque the Grand Marshall.
I just watched him nearly get dropped from a 50 rider group on a cat 2 climbOriginally Posted by Hitchy
Nice stage description, Don D
Pretty much sums it up.