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Tour De France - SPOILER ALERT!
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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jul 2, 2011
Pulling a small roof at 2/3 height on Mission Impossible.  Adam Sanders photo.

Spoiler Alert: Don't view this thread until you've seen the day's stage!

Here we go cycling fans, Le Tour starts today. Who ya got? What do you like? What do you hate? Is this the year the Schleck bros finally get it right? Can Contador pull of the Giro-Tour double, and if he does, will he be stripped of his titles in August? Can the world's best sprinter finally string together enough consistent finishes to win the green jersey? Who will be this year's King of the Mountains, and does anybody care?

I'm pretty stoked about the new format of the intermediate sprint point, I think it will really help spice up the flat stages. In this first week I'm curious to see if Tyler Farrar can challenge Cavendish.


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By Jim Gloeckler
From Denver, Colo.
Jul 2, 2011

I have always liked to watch the Tour de France. Especially like the Mountain stages. Those guys are super strong riders.


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By JPVallone
Jul 2, 2011

Will be there on Wednesday! Woo Hoo


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jul 2, 2011
Pulling a small roof at 2/3 height on Mission Impossible.  Adam Sanders photo.

Alberto, how many times will you make the same mistake? Maybe until it finally bites you in the ass? Curious to see how the effort Saxobank put into the chase will affect tomorrow's TTT.


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By berl
From Oregon
Jul 2, 2011

a buddy of mine once said that the two things he looks forward to ever year are the Tour and sierra nevada's Celebration Ale.


I'm excited to see if Tyler Farrar can win a stage this year and although some of the finishes don't favor his strengths, I'm glad that the first week has a bit of topography to keep things a little more interesting.

i didn't get to watch the intermediate sprint today, but the new points format will also make the green jersey race more fun to keep track of. I hope the organizers have been smart enough to place the intermediate sprints during live TV coverage...


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By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Jul 2, 2011

Alberto didn't do himself any favors for sure. Looking forward to TTT!


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jul 2, 2011

I want to see how many times Phil and Paul hype of Tyler Farrar who's done absolutely jack squat in the TDF.

We now have a chance to see if Contador has the heart of a champion. It seems like Lance threw in the towel last year when he lost about that much time on the cobbles (though I can't say I blame him, he was overmatched). If anyone can come back from this deficit it's Contador. I'm not sure what Cadel was doing at the end there...I'd like to see him wear yellow more than one day...does he know there are no time bonuses?

Oh, and why can't Versus give the final standings but Velonews has it?


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By JoeP
From Littleton, CO
Jul 3, 2011

Mike Anderson wrote:
I'm not sure what Cadel was doing at the end there...I'd like to see him wear yellow more than one day...does he know there are no time bonuses?


Likely trying to gain as many additional seconds on Contador as he could, since he knows he is going to need every second come the mountains.

Interesting day for sure, and so good to see the tour start without a prologue which usually gives a rider like Contador the advantage both timewise and psychologically.

The special part of today was the final Cancellara/Gilbert duel. So great to see Gilbert continue showing his great form this year. Might have been a stage at the 2004 Tour, where he was away solo from like 15k out. He was coming into the final kilometer, it looked as if he was going to hold of the peloton, but rounding the final curve he fell on the wet roads. It was clear then that he was going to be a great rider and he is definitely showing his class this season.


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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Jul 3, 2011
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.

Mike Anderson wrote:
I want to see how many times Phil and Paul hype of Tyler Farrar who's done absolutely jack squat in the TDF.


Thank you!! One really can't get upset at Farrar, the kid just doesn't have the talent to truly take on Cav (or at least not yet), but P&P continually lifting him up to heights he has never, nor will ever, reach gets annoying. That said, I'm sure they're both rolling their eyes in the booth every time they have to make a plug of Farrar. A paycheck is a paycheck though.

As for AC, I doubt he'll be gifting any stages this July. Actually, I doubt he'll be playing along with any of the Tour games (like the "battle" on the Tourmalet last year w/Schleck, which was about as real as an Iron Sheik v Hulk Hogan match). Honestly, I don't think 1:17 (plus whatever he might lose today) is even a challenge for AC. The kid is two tiers above his closest rivals. He killed it at the Giro, and everyone could tell he never even redlined it there. Last year he was off form at the Tour and still had the reserves to win it and gift stages. I suspect he'll just launch his attacks lower down on mountains and eat that time up with ease.

An interesting bit, I feel, is the reactions this will solicit. Schleck, unless he got a leg transplant since ATOC, is a non factor. Leipheimer can't follow the accelerations, Gesink, not even close, Basso, nope, Wiggins, nope, Cadel, ha,...all of them, they all know they don't stand a chance..... except Horner, he doesn't know it, he still believes he has a chance to hang. And I think that's where the interesting bits will be, watching Horner try to cover AC's attacks and then the rest of the GC folks having to cover Horner. A fight for second, all in the wake of AC's highlight reel.

Personally, I wish Gilbert could climb like these GC goats. The guy races with more passion than 90% of the peloton combined. Often without a radio, he just races on feel and smarts.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jul 3, 2011

I agree, when AC is on top for, 2 minutes is no problem, but he did race the hardest Giro in history only 4 weeks ago, plus, it's much easier to defend yellow than to have to attack to take it, so that gives Andy, Cadel, etc an advantage. My "Christmas in July" wish was just to have a competitive race, not like the snoozer the Giro was, and it's looking like I may get my wish.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jul 3, 2011

That was orgasmic...I need a cigarette.


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By berl
From Oregon
Jul 3, 2011

Erik W wrote:
Thank you!! One really can't get upset at Farrar, the kid just doesn't have the talent to truly take on Cav (or at least not yet), but P&P continually lifting him up to heights he has never, nor will ever, reach gets annoying.




Of all the sprinters in the peloton, Cavendish clearly has the best career results. It's also pretty clear that Farrar is the guy most likely to challenge him in a flat sprint at the tour. The hype thing is a little crazy (like the enormous wrap of Farrar on the side of the Garmin bus last year), but he's been Garmin's best source of Grand Tour stage wins and stage podiums and the best American sprinter since I don't know when.

Really, I don't know the last American to win a Grand Tour sprint. Anybody know?



Great win by Garmin today and really nice that it put Thor in yellow... couldn't ask for a better outcome from the TTT for that team.


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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Jul 3, 2011
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.

Really surprised to see Gamin take it over Sky and Radio Shack. I read Velonews' report on the race and it seems with that tricky ending on the course that RS's typical start-slow-finish-strong strategy backfired. Still, good to see Thor take yellow. Big surprise was BMC... who knew they had it in them?

Flat stage tomorrow. Showdown.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jul 3, 2011

berl wrote:
Of all the sprinters in the peloton, Cavendish clearly has the best career results. It's also pretty clear that Farrar is the guy most likely to challenge him in a flat sprint at the tour.


I disagree. Pittachi is much better than Farrar and has proven it in the TDF.


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By berl
From Oregon
Jul 4, 2011

Petacchi's overall resume is way longer than Farrar's, both in top results and years. But it's going to be tough for anyone to take a sprint from Farrar if he's got the world champion yellow jersey god of thunder leading him out... ...of course it also helps to have Cavendish out of the mix.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jul 4, 2011
Pulling a small roof at 2/3 height on Mission Impossible.  Adam Sanders photo.

Seems like HTC Highroad blew the lead out. I wonder if doing the TTT a man down cost them today. Anyway, we now have an official rivalry if you ask me. So far Tyler is up 2-1 (counting intermediate sprints).


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By ErikaNW
Jul 4, 2011
Rapping off the Matron October, 2010

Mike Anderson wrote:
I want to see how many times Phil and Paul hype of Tyler Farrar who's done absolutely jack squat in the TDF.


+1 for Phil and Paul. A perfect lead-out helps as well of course, but it seems that Tyler has arrived. :)


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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Jul 4, 2011
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.

WOW! Not the stage, but the coverage!! I ended up having to buy the nbcsports TdF All Accesss package because I don't have cable and will be missing the morning streams (so on-demand it is). Anyway, this morning's stage was the first I watch using All Access, and holy crap.... no commercials. Not a single one. It's just pure race coverage with no breaks. Video quality was excellent and it allows you to control the vid like a DVR (pause, rewind, etc).

Just thought i'd share. But it is somewhat relevant, as I was able to use that pause and rewind option to see what the hell happened to the HTC boys at the 2km point today. Basically it was Goss, Renshaw, and Cav looking strong. Boonen and Petacchi were right there on his wheel, while the Garmin boys were pretty far back. Anyway, HTC was cruising along and then Cav looked over his left shoulder and totally stopped pedaling for a sec. Boonen and Petacchi both had to brake, while everybody else zoomed by them on the left and right. They lost like 15 spots, and momentum. Because Thor and Farrar were further back, they weren't affected by Cav's actions, and after zipping by the lead sprinters, the Garmin boys were the only organized bunch remaining. The bobble in the final turn just added to the distance between them and the rest of the bunch. Definitely not a head-to-head beating of Cav.

That said, hats off to Farrar for the stage victory, and big thanks for putting an American on the top step on the 4th.


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By berl
From Oregon
Jul 4, 2011

Erik W wrote:
Anyway, HTC was cruising along and then Cav looked over his left shoulder and totally stopped pedaling for a sec.



I only watched one replay, but on the interwebs, Cav basically blamed this on Romain Feillu and more or less said that every sprinter thinks Feillu is a disaster. pretty funny quotes.

it's always amazing to me how much random shit happens in the last 1k of a field sprint and its huge effect on the podium.


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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Jul 4, 2011
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.

berl wrote:
I only watched one replay, but on the interwebs, Cav basically blamed this on Romain Feillu ...


Thanks for the link... I hadn't heard anything of Cav throwing blame. What's funny is that while there certainly was some poor bike handling going into that final turn, Cav already blew it way before that with his let-up. When I saw it originally I thought he dropped a chain or something (P&P even made a comment about it). You could see Goss and Renshaw still drilling it until they realized Cav was missing and pealed off... this is all before the turn Cav is bitching about. Bummer is that Petacchi and Boonen were so tight on Cav's wheel that his goof killed their chances as well.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jul 4, 2011

It was great to see Tyler win today, especially being the 4th, and I was psyched for Thor, who was clearly ecstatic to get the vicarious victory. I look forward to a real head to head between Tyler and Cav, I think it's a bit early to say we have a rivalry. IMO, Garmin was in the right place at the right time. You can say they got lucky, but winners make their own luck, so they deserve the victory, but you can't really say they're in the class of HTC just yet.


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By grk10vq
Administrator
Jul 5, 2011
. . .

seriously! go tyler.
and luck maybe, but yeah, experience/skill more likely.

everyone catch this:
www.youtube.com/v/XCXqyrZcUWQ
hope that bottle is full.

its been great so far, seems like a way different tour w/o lance dongstrong.


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By berl
From Oregon
Jul 5, 2011

I don't know when the last time was that the first week of the tour was this exciting. great racing today and awesome to see the GC guys fighting it out at the end of the stage in week 1. plus, how rad is Thor for hanging with them to stay in yellow?


also, if anyone needs an update on sprinter drama: feillu strikes back!

It's too early to say much about the overall, but the gaps forming this week will force people to really race when they get to the mountain stages.


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Jul 7, 2011

Damn.. Levi has got to stop wiping out.. 2 days in a row.. not fun at all. at least it was wet today so it was more sliding but cannot feel good.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jul 7, 2011

Yeah, wasn't it a paint stripe that took him out in '09 as well?


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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Jul 7, 2011
Artist Tears P3

Stage 9 Issoire to St. Flour is looking like it is going to be exciting stage. I'm thinking Contador must attack. I'm hoping Evans continues to do well.


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