Many in the Ohio Valley likely despise #32, especially because he is remembered for paralyzing Darrel Stingley of the Pittsburgh Steelers–something that haunted him for the rest of his life. RIP.
Steelers v. Raiders:
Why did Oakland and Pittsburgh loathe each other? In many ways, they were the same city:
The summer posts continue. Sirius XMU just played this song by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. There is a trend in some corners of the Indie music to give props to the 60s sound. This is one exmaple, and it sports the famous Rincon break. Enjoy.
Other matters prohibited my posting in the last few days. I missed posting on another Cavdenish stage win, the TT throwdown between Contador and Schleck.
Usually the last stage is pro-forma, until the riders reach the Champs Èlysèes, then the sprinters take over. Today, Cavendish won his fifth stage. There is noone faster.
Ale-Jet surprised many I think to win the Green, but just barely as Cavendish was breathing down his rear wheel. Many likely thought Petacchi was washed up.
Contador gets his 3rd Tour. It should have been his 4th Tour, but Astana was disqualified for one Tour. Contador is vulnerable–that is what I take from this year’s Tour. Contador was not on his best form (or Schleck has clearly improved). Regardless, he was 39 seconds better than Schleck, and he never managed to win one stage. Contador may have raced smarter, but clearly Schleck is near his level.
Andy Schleck should give Contador a run for his money again next year, and there are a handful of rising talents that no doubt will be on the podium someday.
Until next year, Vive!
After 2 weeks of blistering temps, today was cold and wet. And it was a stage after a rest day. There was bound to be surprises. There really wasn’t, unless you count the fact Schleck and Contador could not drop each other. The peloton hit the slopes of the Tourmalet, cold and wet. The mountain was shrouded in mist, and fans.
Schleck was the first to attack today, but Contador stuck to his wheel. He tried to rise a high tempo to rid himself of the Spaniard to no avail. Contador also tried to attack (see below), and he almost gained an advantage, but Schleck rode back to his wheel. It remained that way to the top. Contador and Schleck eyed each other the whole way. At one point they spoke–likely Contador said, the stage is yours, I have the yellow.
I have not seen a Tour where two men are so closely matched. Contador has the edge, just barely. Saturday’s time trial should seal it for Contador, but this is the Tour, and this year, we have to expect the unexpected.
A side note: Sammy Sanchez crashed badly early in the stage. Contador rode to the front of the peloton and shut it down to a crawl so Sanchez could get back on. Only Sastre ignored Contador and attacked. Sastre was gobbled up by the peloton and spit out the back on the Tourmalet. There was no love for Carlos Sastre today.
By the way, Team Radio Shack has done well, so well, the team will likely be on the podium in Paris. Hats off to Armstrong, and Chris Horner (who rode fabulously today), and the rest of the team.
Enjoy the rest day today. In a series of posts over the next few years, I will post about the heroes (or gods) of the Tour.
There is no way to get around the original hero, Fausto Coppi who died after leaving his wife–even after a personal visit from the pope who encouraged him to return to his wife. As a cyclist he was the best. No-one could really touch him, except his great nemesis–Gino Bartali. The affair with Giulia Occhini led to much controversy–people spat on Coppi because of his sin. Those people genrally supported Bartali, who was more pious. It was one of the few times that the characters of the Tour divided the fans over religion and morals. However, there was no denying the talent of Coppi.
Today was generally a ho hum day. There was lots of action as a break consisting of Lance Armstrong, headed out, then alomost got caught, and then took off. Armstrong did not win the stage, but, another frenchman. Whan a great Tour they are having this year.
Much of the talk today was about the events of the day before. If you did not know, Contador apologized, and then they both made up on French TV.
All of the madness yesterday, we missed the Fabio Casertelli monument–a cyclist on Armstrong’s Motorola Team, and who died in a cash (see pic above).
Not a long post today for time. Enjoy. Tomorrow is a rest day, and then BOOM! Tourmalet. Schleck and Contador will be throwing down.
There is one rule, that is an unwritten rule in the Tour: no attacking on the yellow if the yellow has a crash. It is a matter of honor to not attack while a man is down. GC contenders also do not attack because they want to win with their rival also trying to beat them, on a level field so to speak. This rule is not a rule, as I stated. It is a part of the tradition of the Tour. But what happens if the Maillot Jaune has something short of a crash? On his day, it is the 100 year anniversay of the Tour heading into the Pyrenees. Today, in the mountains, we had a lot of drama, and a lot of controversy.
Today was supposed to be a day where, perhaps there were attacks, but there would not be a lot of drama. The finish off the Port de Bales is downhill. Rarely can a GC contender get time on his adversaries on a downhill finish. Today was different. Today controversy swirls around the new GC leader: Alberto Contador.
On the last few km up the Bales, Schleck and Contador attacked one another once or twice. Neither could shake the other. Then, at one point, Schleck attacked, and seemed to catch Contador by surprise. Vinokourov was on the wheel of Schleck, and it looked like the Maillot Jaune had cracked Contador. But, he didn’t. Contador reacted late, but was closing the gap on Schleck. Then, inexplicably, Schleck had a mechanical (see pic above). Just as Contador was getting to his wheel, Schleck’s chain slipped off his chainring. Contador flew by him, as did Sanchez, Jurgen van den Broeck, and Menchov.
This is where the controversy begins. Should Contador have fled? Should he have waited? If the Maillot Jaune crashed, tradition has it, the GC contenders wait (really just slow down until the leader caught up). Not Contador, and not the other top leaders, because this was no crash. They flew down the dangerous descent and put time into Schleck (who had to stop and get assistance from the neutral Mavic assistant). Schleck was only about 15 seconds down before the top. That means Schleck lost time, and the yellow, on the decsent. Still, does honor and mano-e-mano have a claim here?
Versus interviewed Schleck after the stage. He was obviously angry. Schleck said that it would be for others to decide whether Contador took unfair advantage. He also said that he would never have done what Contador did. Hesjadal said that that’s cycling. Nothing unfair done here. The spectators at the podium presentations were split. When Contador took the stage, 1/2 the crowd cheered, but 1/2 the crowd booed. Schleck is still in the white jersey. When he took the stage, you could see he was still very angry and he thrust his hand in the air saying he was #1.
In cycling, anger is a gift, and Schleck is angry. Game on.
Today also saw one of my favourite cyclists win a stage. The brave and cheeky Thomas Voekler. Another Frenchman wins a stage. Voekler spent 11 days in yellow some years ago. It was a heroic effort he made to hold onto the Maillot Jaune before, ultimately, losing it to one Lance Armstrong.
What a great day at the Tour. Now the press will make much hay of the events on the Bales.
More pics and video later today.
After having used an iPad shortly since its release I can safely say that the device — or another one like it — deserves to become an important part of the academic’s arsenal of gadgets. Choosing to plop down the money for an iPad is like Ingrid Bergman’s regret over leaving Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart. You will do it: not today, not tomorrow, but soon — and for the rest of your life.
What an odd day this turned out to be. While we have the French riding one of the best Tours in a long time–Riblon of AG2R won today’s stage in a nice long break away fashion–Schleck and Contador were doing….heck I have no idea what they were doing, other than playing mind games with one another.
There was of course a break away of about 9 riders. Astana and Rabobank took control of the peloton before the HC climb of the day. After some time, Astana took literal control of the stage and set a pace so fast, it decimated the peloton. By the time they got to the climb to Ax-3-Domaines, there were so many cracked bodies, that the four leaders of the tour were about all that was left (with a few stragglers still up head, except for Riblon, who would not be caught), consisting of Contador, Schleck, Menchov, and Sanchez.
Contador hit Schleck with about 3 attacks. Schleck followed, and looked like he could follow Contador all day. Then, at one point, Contador just sits up and nearly stops in the rode while holding his bike in track-stand pose. I have never seen anything like it. Schleck held his bike in track-stand pose. And there they stood, barely moving, while Sanchez and Menchov rode away.
There is one that thing Schleck and Contador should be thinking: I need to gain time on my opponent. If Schleck is on form, Contador’s only chance is to beat the snot out of in the time trial. If Schleck is on form, his chance is to try to lay a blow to Contador in the Pyrenees. Either way, they ought not be marking one another, they should be attacking one another. But, Contador is having a hard time attacking Schleck. And now Schleck is confident he can win. This is becoming a great race!
Meanwhile, up ahead, Riblon was riding to sweet victory, and pushing more than one spectator/fan out of his way:
And in doping news, Lemond strikes at Armstrong. In no other sport is there such a concern with playing clean.
Today’s video wrap: