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Contador

Old 07-15-11, 10:36 PM
  #101  
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I felt bad for Roy, too, but Thor was amazing. He's not a GC man, dahut.
Evans has looked good earlier this year and Andy has not. Frank is the surprise, so far'
Tomorrow we will learn something, especially about Voeckler. I think Contador is out of it.
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Old 07-15-11, 10:37 PM
  #102  
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BluesDawg, I agree all the way around. I'm quite sure today was a conserve day for the GC riders, there was no point in chasing. As for Frank Schleck, I know he's not a great TT rider, but - well, stranger things have happened. What is intriguing about this year's tour is the sheer number of GC riders who are in close contention. It's going to make for "must see TV" for the rest of the event.

I have to gush about how S M O O T H the riders in the tour are. They literally dance on those bicycles - there is no wasted motion. It is a marvel and a beautiful thing to watch!
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Old 07-15-11, 10:40 PM
  #103  
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Sara, The first stages of this year's TdF were flat and for the sprinters. The goal of the rest of the peloton was to stay safe and position their sprinter (if they had one) to win. A pro peloton requires some type of course feature to break up the peloton. Typically, this is a long steep climb or a difficult time trial. On flatter stages they will all ride in together unless there is a vicious cross wind to break up the peloton. In many respects, the course dictates the action and which type of rider will showcase their skills.

Also, last year Andy and Alberto were only a few seconds apart and that was due to the chain dropping incident. In racing, it is hard to improve a lot in one year. IMO, at the pro level, AC and AS are probably about the same as last year give or take. So now that question is which man had the better pre-season and who can avoid crashing. Also, conventional wisdom in modern racing is that GCs have to focus on a particular grand tour and winning multiple grand tours in a season is too hard. So AC won the Giro and used a lot of energy. The question is can he recover and win again in the TdF? IMO, it will be difficult so AC will have to manage his energy and his team. I doubt he will dominate. AS and FS are in a good position but they are not great time trialists. So they must continue stage after stage to gain on AC.

I see this TdF as a race of attrition versus a race of dominance. However, the race can turn on illness or a crash.
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Old 07-15-11, 10:50 PM
  #104  
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Hermes, lots to think about! It truly is a chess game, isn't it? In the moment, it's easy to put aside, as a spectator, what it must take to race on the level for the Tour de France, as well as any other grand tour. Those riders make it look so easy that the true measure of their suffering is rather hidden (except for Voeckler, he gives great "suffer face"). When I take the time to find out or have the nuances explained to me (I am a layman, after all), the huge effort and amount of preparation, as well as the enormous energy and toll on the body such a race demands comes into focus. That kind of knowledge increases my fascination and enjoyment of the tour, and any other pro cycling event, as well. In a way, it helps make me a better rider, and athlete, although I could never, ever hope to even breathe the same air as those men (and women)! Just the same, it's a wonderful thing to watch such superb athletes perform in such a tough venue. The "who's gonna win"? guessing game is intriguing, too!
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Old 07-16-11, 06:04 AM
  #105  
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You are right, sarals. It really is a chess game. So many plots and subplots, strategies and bluffs, but then there are the wildcards of weather, crashes and dumb luck thrown in to make the best laid plans often go awry. It is fascinating to look through all of those factors and try to predict what will be the final outcome. It is easy to get caught up in what happens one day or at a particular section of the race and forget about the totality of the race and what factors may change what you think is going to happen. It is fun to make predictions, but the real joy is watching to see how it actually unfolds.
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Old 07-16-11, 08:20 AM
  #106  
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I have a new found respect for these guys riding in the TDF and other multi stage races after I rode the MS 150 this year for the first time. My buddy and I went all out both days riding just as hard as our bodies and traffic would allow. I felt really good after both days. 75 miles each day, mostly flat but with 3 big hills towards the end of day 1 and beginning of day 2, but I still felt it. What up the respect level was that these guys do this for 21 days or so, climb much bigger hills and do it at speeds faster than I can get on the flats. Granted most of them are 20 to 30 years younger than me but still it takes one hell of an athlete to pull off what they are pulling off.
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Old 07-16-11, 06:26 PM
  #107  
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Doing all those attacks on very steep ascents, my own quads hurt and I'm just watching it. The bike too has to be light, stiff, and aero.
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Old 07-16-11, 07:22 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by jbman100 View Post
I have a new found respect for these guys riding in the TDF and other multi stage races after I rode the MS 150 this year for the first time. My buddy and I went all out both days riding just as hard as our bodies and traffic would allow. I felt really good after both days. 75 miles each day, mostly flat but with 3 big hills towards the end of day 1 and beginning of day 2, but I still felt it. What up the respect level was that these guys do this for 21 days or so, climb much bigger hills and do it at speeds faster than I can get on the flats. Granted most of them are 20 to 30 years younger than me but still it takes one hell of an athlete to pull off what they are pulling off.
Yes, the best there is.
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Old 07-16-11, 08:16 PM
  #109  
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ABC Anybody But Contador!
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Old 07-16-11, 08:19 PM
  #110  
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Contador can do a Floyd (re: 2006 TdF Stage 17).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHCRh...eature=related

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Old 07-16-11, 08:50 PM
  #111  
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What a great finish to the stage today on the Plateau de Beille climb! The cat and mouse game was really something to see! Good heavens, there are twelve STRONG riders there. Tommy Voeckler showed great heart, he's a true champion, and I have even more respect for Cadel Evans. He's something else! Andy Schleck is finally, IMHO, starting to show the form he had last year, and so is AC. I wonder if the realization has come to the "twelve", now that the stage is over, that the race is going way towards the end before it's decided. You know, Tommy Voeckler could ride into Paris in the maillot jaune. Indeed he could!

Once again - IMHO, and I am a lay person!
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Old 07-16-11, 08:57 PM
  #112  
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A more exciting stage to watch today, but I'm not sure we learned much about who is going to win this thing. I didn't really see any of the main contenders showing an advantage or disadvantage on the showdown on the final climb. Andy was Johnny on the spot to take the jump right at the end to take a couple of seconds, but what does that really tell us? Not much. Basso looked good. Cadel looked good. Contador looked good. Frank looked good. Thomas Voeckler is nothing short of amazing! When is he going to crack?
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Old 07-16-11, 09:00 PM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
A more exciting stage to watch today, but I'm not sure we learned much about who is going to win this thing.... Thomas Voeckler is nothing short of amazing! When is he going to crack?
Indeed! Tommy - I don't know that he WILL crack!
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Old 07-16-11, 09:00 PM
  #114  
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I noticed that Andy and Frank took turns getting behind Contador and watching him as the other attacked. They are trying to gauge his knee and how he responds. I think he surpassed their expectations, to their dismay.
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Old 07-20-11, 04:47 AM
  #115  
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Stage 16 made this into a different race. The next 3 days in the Alps and then the ITT should be exciting!
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Old 07-20-11, 05:00 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
Stage 16 made this into a different race. The next 3 days in the Alps and then the ITT should be exciting!
Indeed. Andy and Frank didn't seem to have the juice to stay with the others, (and Andy was complaining about the descent that Cadel flew down). Unless they have tremendous rides, their tour may be over. Cadel, on the other hand, looked very impressive. And today, we'll see if Contador can continue as he did yesterday. For me, however, the big surprise is Voeckler keeping the yellow jersey one more day. The joy yesterday was watching Hushovd take the stage.
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Old 07-20-11, 05:05 AM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
Stage 16 made this into a different race. The next 3 days in the Alps and then the ITT should be exciting!
I agree; this is turning out to be a great TdF.

The Schlecks are still in the mix, but have been less than impressive to this point, given the hype. Still, one or both may come back.

Voeckler has been impressive on so many levels; one can't help but pull for him a little.

Contador is clearly recovering; in time? Who knows, but it will be interesting.

And then there's my sentimental favourite, Cuddles. If he stays on form, he has (given his TT abilities) a very good chance of winning this year.

Can't rule out Basso or Sanchez either ... both are looking very comfortable.
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Old 07-20-11, 05:15 AM
  #118  
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I can't remember being this late in the race and having so many riders with a legitimate chance to win it. I like it!
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Old 07-20-11, 06:59 AM
  #119  
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Sports are ritualized warfare. When the racing is as close as this Tour is turning out to be, tactics becomes increasingly important and interesting. I'm not savvy enough about bike racing to have a good appreciation of what is going on but I'm trying to apply Sun Tzu's The Art of War. One of the teachings was "the ideal in war is for the battle to be won before the opponent is aware they have lost".

I'm not knowledgeable enough to really appreciate the tactical situation, but along with Sara, I can appreciate the s sheer skill and elegance of the riding.
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Old 07-20-11, 07:08 AM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
Indeed. Andy and Frank didn't seem to have the juice to stay with the others, (and Andy was complaining about the descent that Cadel flew down). Unless they have tremendous rides, their tour may be over. Cadel, on the other hand, looked very impressive. And today, we'll see if Contador can continue as he did yesterday. For me, however, the big surprise is Voeckler keeping the yellow jersey one more day. The joy yesterday was watching Hushovd take the stage.
Absolutely!

Has there ever been a TDF leader who looked happier to be wearing the jersey than Voeckler? Hushovd has impressed me too, hanging onto the jersey for longer than I thought he could and then actually winning an alpine stage. I don't think that either can win the whole Tour but they certainly have provided two "feel good" side bar stories.

I'm loving it.
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Old 07-20-11, 07:13 AM
  #121  
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So far Andy looks like he did in the pre-tour events. I was hoping is was part of the plan to peak during the Tour, but it just looks like he's not really competitive for the GC. He probably needs three minutes on Contador to stay ahead after the TT. I too am enjoying the close competition and also a Vockler fan.

Looks like Armstrong as usual can't get a fair deal anywhere:
"Armstrong Lawyers Say Grand Jury Testimony Leaked


Lawyers for seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong are accusing the government of leaking information and testimony to the media in an effort to discredit Mr. Armstrong.
In a motion filed last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, attorneys for Mr. Armstrong accused people involved in an investigation looking into allegations of performance-enhancing drug use in professional cycling, of "flouting the law requiring grand jury secrecy" by sharing with the media details about the investigation. It is "abundantly clear that these leaks come from the investigation's inner circle," the document said. "A grand jury is not a vehicle to facilitate government-sponsored campaigns of character assassination." The motion calls for the court to hold a hearing on the matter. "

Al
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Old 07-20-11, 08:07 AM
  #122  
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How do you define "cheating"?

In order to test for something you have to define what an acceptable level is. It's obvious to me that the TDF teams are testing their riders blood levels daily and boosting their blood levels just enough to keep them at, but not to exceed, the testing threshold. That's why they can pass the drug tests even though witnesses report observing drug use.

If Contador's blood was right at the threshold level beforehand, I suppose it's possible the beef he ate really might have given some hormone level just the boost that was needed to push him over the top.
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Old 07-20-11, 08:16 AM
  #123  
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IMO, yesterday was more decisive than the time spreads shows. AC got back some time on an easier climb which means on tougher and longer climb, he may be even better. The next 3 days will be very tough and will offer the GC contender, who is NOW peaking versus getting tired, the opportunity to gain on competitors. It is going to be great racing.
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Old 07-20-11, 02:07 PM
  #124  
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After it's all said and done, Evans will win.
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Old 07-20-11, 02:50 PM
  #125  
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Originally Posted by George View Post
After it's all said and done, Evans will win.
I hope you're right George. I would like to see Cadel win it, after being so close in the past. At this time, however, I'm not as sure as you are!

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