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Old 07-17-11, 07:50 AM   #76
brn2run
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Voeckler is still in yellow because it is in the best interest of the main
GC guys for him to be. Eurpocar must spend a great deal of effort leading the peloton
in order to protect the jersey, plus it is expected of them.
That is fine with SaxoBank and Leopard Trek and BMC.... for now.

I guess that long gone are the days of the favorite to win it all feeling that
it is important to kick ass and win stages.

I hope Voeckler shocks the hell out them all and wins the damn thing.
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Old 07-17-11, 07:50 AM   #77
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So as I have been saying the "Big 4" are just going to mark each other hoping that someone peters out. Cuddles is looking good since no one is throwing anything other than Attacklets at the others.

It won't bother me if Cuddles takes it but I'm hoping Tommy V, Sammy, or Ivan pulls the wool over everyone else's eyes, The Schlecks and Cap'n Bifteck don't have the Courage of say Sammy who deserves it a lot more based on his riding.
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Old 07-17-11, 07:59 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by dstrong View Post
Evans looks like a bulldog when he climbs...he's almost in a sprint position...in the drops...weight forward...quite different from most other's upright climbing style. It's not pretty but it sure is getting the job done.
It's downright ugly
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Old 07-17-11, 09:24 AM   #79
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Let me tell you something, the GC men really made a big mistake not attacking Contador, imo. I mean the guy can only sit on one side of his butt, he can't stand because of his knee, he's basically all busted up from crashes and is grimacing every 5 minutes, and still everyone is terrified of putting in a serious attack against him.

So now they let him survive another day and set him up with a flat stage and a rest day to recover. Maybe nothing will happen, but I think it's dangerous to give a guy like Contador a chance to recover. They're basically giving him a chance to ride himself back into the Tour.
I agree. Even if they couldn't have dumped Evans, Basso, or Voeckler, they should have tried to put more time on a struggling Contador. By next Friday, its possible he could be feeling better. And everyone has seen what kind of attacks he can lay down when he's feeling good. Best to bury him while you can.

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Originally Posted by brn2run View Post
Voeckler is still in yellow because it is in the best interest of the main
GC guys for him to be.
Eurpocar must spend a great deal of effort leading the peloton
in order to protect the jersey, plus it is expected of them.
That is fine with SaxoBank and Leopard Trek and BMC.... for now.

I guess that long gone are the days of the favorite to win it all feeling that
it is important to kick ass and win stages.

I hope Voeckler shocks the hell out them all and wins the damn thing.
Nope. Leopard-Trek burned up a huge amount of effort at the bottom of the climb to isolate the leaders. The Schlecks need to be in yellow because they aren't great tt riders. They were trying to make a selection today. They drove the train and made numerous attacks. They just couldn't drop the guys. But at this point Voeckler has got to be making all of them nervous. In the past, he hasn't been able to hang to those top climbers on that kind of a stage. Well, he had no problem covering attacks on 14. They surely were expecting to cut into his 2 minute lead. Well, didn't. With the way he rode in 14, I'm not convinced he's going to be dropped significantly on 18 or 19. Evans and Basso are good ITT riders so they don't need as much time. But the AS needs to take the lead by the ITT. There are two mountain top finish stages left. Based upon his riding so far, nobody can assume Voeckler is going to blow up on them.

They did probably allowed Voeckler to get into yellow a week ago when he went on his break. The figured he'd get dropped in the mountains. But at this point, nobody is allowing Voeckler to wear yellow. He's wearing it because he's been the best overall rider to this point.
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Old 07-17-11, 10:30 AM   #80
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You guys are being pretty hard on Andy. He didn't continue with the attacks because they were covered. He is human afterall. Imagine this race without Frank and Andy. They are the only ones attacking. I am not saying they are doing a great job at this point, but at least it doesn't look like a group ride up a hill.

R
Ever heard of Samuel Sanchez? And apart from Frank's attack on Luz-Ardiden, I can hardly call what they're doing "attacking". If you're the 2nd best climber in the world and all you can do with your "attack" is putting 2 secs into your rivals of whom one is injured and fatigued, one isn't a climber, one isn't explosive at all and one usually cracks under such pressure- than you surely aren't doing it right.
And then Andy says the climb was too easy to do more. Yeah, Pantani, Armstrong, Contador surely had much trouble.

Also, Leopard's DS said today it will be easier to drop Evans when Contador is stronger. Admitting your boys can't make the gap seems pretty lame.
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Old 07-17-11, 10:52 AM   #81
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Yeah, based on the way Leopard took control at the bottom and the number of attempted attacks Andy and Frank threw out there, they were trying to make something happen. The post race statements were damage control PR. No way do they use their entire team to smash the field at the bottom and then throw several attacks up the mountain if they were content with the way things were. They were trying to drop every one. Evans, Basso, Contador, and Voeckler. And the idea that it will be easier when Contador is stronger is a foolish statement. When Contador is stronger, they run the risk of him dropping everyone and going solo up the mountain. And he can TT very well. Last thing they want is AC getting closer. That makes no sense. The Schlecks have to drop Evans, Basso, and Voeckler on their own.
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Old 07-17-11, 12:51 PM   #82
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He is not good enough to drop them, but he is trying. I suspect he went about as hard as he could, and didn't get the job done. Like I said at least they are making it interesting.

R
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Old 07-17-11, 12:53 PM   #83
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No one is worried about Sanchez. They let him go. Andy followed once until TV linked up. It is a lot easier to get a gap when no one cares.

R

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Ever heard of Samuel Sanchez? And apart from Frank's attack on Luz-Ardiden, I can hardly call what they're doing "attacking". If you're the 2nd best climber in the world and all you can do with your "attack" is putting 2 secs into your rivals of whom one is injured and fatigued, one isn't a climber, one isn't explosive at all and one usually cracks under such pressure- than you surely aren't doing it right.
And then Andy says the climb was too easy to do more. Yeah, Pantani, Armstrong, Contador surely had much trouble.

Also, Leopard's DS said today it will be easier to drop Evans when Contador is stronger. Admitting your boys can't make the gap seems pretty lame.
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Old 07-17-11, 01:53 PM   #84
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Still if you say Schlecks attack, you can't say Sanchez doesn't. Also, you can't deny he's strong. He attacked on Tourmalet descent and was doing a lot of work on the way up Luz-Ardiden, having mostly stage win in mind. When he saw Frank Schleck getting closer, he pushed harder and gained few extra seconds- despite Frank being fresher. BTW, yeah, Kim Andersen said Sanchez isn't a contender, but this can well come back and bite him in the ***. He already got back a minute from Andy and over a half from Frank, his TT is better and he's a great descender, if he tries smth on Tuesday or Wednesday, Leopard may find themselves with some extra trouble. After all, he was 4th last year (and 3rd best climber) and he seems a bit better this year. One more guy to watch in the Alps- not great news for them.

And if Andy- who based his whole season around the Tour- still isn't good enough to drop a guy who has a brutal Giro in his legs and on top of it crashed few times and injured his knee, then good luck in ever winning the Tour. Though for me it seems more like a mental thing. Compare him trying to drop other contenders to Contador trying to shake off Rasmussen on Peyresoude in 2007.
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Old 07-17-11, 02:07 PM   #85
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I am not saying SS isn't a threat. The other GC guys don't consider him one. Why didn't Basso or Evans try and cover the SS attack? TV only covered SS when Andy went with Sammy. He is a good rider, and the stages on Tuesday and Wednesday may see SS gain time. Andy has too many riders covering his attacks. If it would have been Andy vs Cadel Saturday things may have turned out differently, but this is a close tour. To many people with hopes of yellow. Should be interesting.

R

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Still if you say Schlecks attack, you can't say Sanchez doesn't. Also, you can't deny he's strong. He attacked on Tourmalet descent and was doing a lot of work on the way up Luz-Ardiden, having mostly stage win in mind. When he saw Frank Schleck getting closer, he pushed harder and gained few extra seconds- despite Frank being fresher. BTW, yeah, Kim Andersen said Sanchez isn't a contender, but this can well come back and bite him in the ***. He already got back a minute from Andy and over a half from Frank, his TT is better and he's a great descender, if he tries smth on Tuesday or Wednesday, Leopard may find themselves with some extra trouble. After all, he was 4th last year (and 3rd best climber) and he seems a bit better this year. One more guy to watch in the Alps- not great news for them.

And if Andy- who based his whole season around the Tour- still isn't good enough to drop a guy who has a brutal Giro in his legs and on top of it crashed few times and injured his knee, then good luck in ever winning the Tour. Though for me it seems more like a mental thing. Compare him trying to drop other contenders to Contador trying to shake off Rasmussen on Peyresoude in 2007.
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Old 07-17-11, 02:08 PM   #86
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BTW I never said Andy was great or anything along those lines. I only said he is trying to win. May be going about it the wrong way but trying.

R

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Still if you say Schlecks attack, you can't say Sanchez doesn't. Also, you can't deny he's strong. He attacked on Tourmalet descent and was doing a lot of work on the way up Luz-Ardiden, having mostly stage win in mind. When he saw Frank Schleck getting closer, he pushed harder and gained few extra seconds- despite Frank being fresher. BTW, yeah, Kim Andersen said Sanchez isn't a contender, but this can well come back and bite him in the ***. He already got back a minute from Andy and over a half from Frank, his TT is better and he's a great descender, if he tries smth on Tuesday or Wednesday, Leopard may find themselves with some extra trouble. After all, he was 4th last year (and 3rd best climber) and he seems a bit better this year. One more guy to watch in the Alps- not great news for them.

And if Andy- who based his whole season around the Tour- still isn't good enough to drop a guy who has a brutal Giro in his legs and on top of it crashed few times and injured his knee, then good luck in ever winning the Tour. Though for me it seems more like a mental thing. Compare him trying to drop other contenders to Contador trying to shake off Rasmussen on Peyresoude in 2007.
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Old 07-17-11, 03:12 PM   #87
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It seems that everyone looked at each other when Samu attacked. Cuddles commented on it: "The Schleck brothers are there, they've got the yellow jersey to gain and they look at me to pull for them. I was thinking, 'hang on a second, I'm not here to tow you to Paris'."

As for Andy, well, he may be trying in his twisted way. Cadel Evans is trying as well. But that doesn't mean they're racing aggresively, which is what Schlecks themselves and Leopard management are trying to sell us. When you sort of attack and back out half the way, you end up looking more silly than the guys who just followed wheels. If they want to be offensive, time to stop looking at others and really go, and I'm still pretty sure at least one of them is good enough to eventually ride guys like Voeckler or even Evans off his wheel. But until they don't figure out where they're going- is it Andy's victory or maybe Frank's- they also can't go from "laughable" to "aggresive".
And about having more opponents than Contador in 2007. Contador and Rasmussen were only alone because they dealt with the others earlier. I doubt Evans is now a better climber than he was back then. And anyway, so far this Tour Andy didn't have a rival as tough as MR was in 2007 (but it may change if Contador feels better). But sure it's about perspective, you think Andy is where he is because he simply couldn't go harder, so you naturally rate his tries differently.
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Old 07-17-11, 03:43 PM   #88
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I think Andy ceased the attack one because he could not go any harder, and two he had numerous guys covering and they were not sticking. Contador could not drop Ras although he tried. When you hit it and you can see the guys clawing back why continue and blow up? I think Andy came into the tour with poor form, and is getting a bit better.

I guess what I am saying is this. Andy tried to win. Compare that to Cadel. What has he done to try to win the race? He is riding not to lose. When has he tried something? Anything to try and win? How about BMC leading Cadel to a base of a climb so he can attack? Will that happen? Cadel is a wheel sucker of the highest order, and I hope that does not get him a yellow in Paris. Some may call it smart to suck wheel the entire race then put in a good TT and win. I think it is boring and pathetic. Smart maybe, but I would like to see a winner actually take the chance and try. Cadel will suck wheel cover attacks when he has to, and hope he doesn't wreck. Hopefully that is not the new formula for a TDF win.

R

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It seems that everyone looked at each other when Samu attacked. Cuddles commented on it: "The Schleck brothers are there, they've got the yellow jersey to gain and they look at me to pull for them. I was thinking, 'hang on a second, I'm not here to tow you to Paris'."

As for Andy, well, he may be trying in his twisted way. Cadel Evans is trying as well. But that doesn't mean they're racing aggresively, which is what Schlecks themselves and Leopard management are trying to sell us. When you sort of attack and back out half the way, you end up looking more silly than the guys who just followed wheels. If they want to be offensive, time to stop looking at others and really go, and I'm still pretty sure at least one of them is good enough to eventually ride guys like Voeckler or even Evans off his wheel. But until they don't figure out where they're going- is it Andy's victory or maybe Frank's- they also can't go from "laughable" to "aggresive".
And about having more opponents than Contador in 2007. Contador and Rasmussen were only alone because they dealt with the others earlier. I doubt Evans is now a better climber than he was back then. And anyway, so far this Tour Andy didn't have a rival as tough as MR was in 2007 (but it may change if Contador feels better). But sure it's about perspective, you think Andy is where he is because he simply couldn't go harder, so you naturally rate his tries differently.
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Old 07-18-11, 12:25 PM   #89
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AS and FS neutralized the one who should be attacking but can't, AC. His tour is lost. Voeckler can't win, hard climbs and TT will finish him. I like Basso but he's not at his top form. It's down to the Schlecks and Cadel. That's the podium.
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Old 07-18-11, 01:22 PM   #90
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My my, how the fickle public has turned on Andy Schleck. I wonder if it's because a weak Contador, a strong Evans, Basso, and a Frenchman (!) are all underdogs.

Anyway... I happen to find it amusing that a few days ago LT were tactical geniuses for trying to shred everyone on Stage 12, although in retrospect it looks like they only managed to blow up their whole team and take a few extra seconds out of Contador (and made him look weak, which could be good but could work in his favor...).

The real "problem" -- if it is one, really -- is that the top contenders and Voeckler are all looking quite good and evenly matched. As Basso pointed out, you're not going to get far attacking a large group, hence the constant looking back... there's no point blowing yourself up if you can't put the hurt on your rivals.

The real question is how much damage this week did to the riders. Voeckler or Evans might hold on, or blow up in the middle of the Alps. LT's riders could bounce back and crank the tempo on two stages, or they could get shredded again.

IMO all this makes for a much more engaging and unpredictable race than the last few years.
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Old 07-18-11, 01:47 PM   #91
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Ever heard of Samuel Sanchez? And apart from Frank's attack on Luz-Ardiden, I can hardly call what they're doing "attacking". If you're the 2nd best climber in the world and all you can do with your "attack" is putting 2 secs into your rivals of whom one is injured and fatigued, one isn't a climber, one isn't explosive at all and one usually cracks under such pressure- than you surely aren't doing it right.
And then Andy says the climb was too easy to do more. Yeah, Pantani, Armstrong, Contador surely had much trouble.

Also, Leopard's DS said today it will be easier to drop Evans when Contador is stronger. Admitting your boys can't make the gap seems pretty lame.
You are right on this.
And just for a trip down memory lane on what real attacks are like here you all go. Notice how this is actually racing, before Lance turned the tour into a race of attrition
YouTube 1998 Pantani Attack
Make sure you watch part one and two
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