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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stages 17 - 19 - even I forgot it was just a bike race



I have just finished looking at my tweets for the past few days and realised I'd forgotten it's just a bike race. I think I have reached my limits with all the insults, bitchiness, the who is going where when discussions (although interesting when i'm not over it and within context), management vs rider battles, and the Arm-neel Radio-Shat it's all about-us and-1,2,3 on the podium crapola. I could drive myself crazy with this s*it. So I'll use this time to reflect on the past few stages, focusing on the "moments." You know those times that make you love the TDF? And some of them actually involve bikes:
Thoooooooooor - what a way to superglue the stainless green jersey onto yourself. Pulling your large frame over horrible climbs to grab points and prove even further - as if finishing just behind Cav alot wasn't enough - that he's Mr Consistency, which is what the green jersey is about.
Cav - Stage 19. Acceleration. Woah. I could watch that over and over again. How does he do it? I can sort of guilt free like him again too - he got a little humble overnight with Thor. (Also, how awkward was the protocol - could those seats get any closer? Maybe that's why they're friends again - that was gold!). 5 Stage wins. He's green with envy, green with experience, but not wearing green - and I bloody love him - he calms down after he mouths off and sometimes backtracks. And you will NEVER hear him trash talk a teammate. And that's why I love him.
Kenny Van Hummel - the non grimpeur hero is he. Looked set to win Lanterne Rouge but crashed on on the descent of the Col des Saises. He had a large following - you wouldn't have known it.
Fumy Beppu - Finished 7th on Stage 19! I've been enjoying his tweets and he looks set to finish (with Arashiro) in Paris - the first two Japanese to finish the tour - ever! Yay Nippon!
Liquigas - have virtually gone unnoticed by some press. But have a look at their results (as at 25 July before Stage 20). Pellizotti (after finishing 3rd, no i mean 2nd, at the Giro) will definitely claim the KOM title after some gutsy and focused/strategic riding, Vincenzo Nibali is 7th overall (at 7:15) and 2nd by 4 mins to Andy Schleck in the Youth classification, Roman Kreuziger (14:08) is 12th. They also had an awesome TTT.
Carlos Sastre - apologising for being a bit "look at moiye." (although his rant was somewhat justified). Class. How many people would do that?
Cervelo (the riders anyway) - have obviously stuck their finger up to the people (mainly me and alot of Australians) who doubted their stage win ability after leaving out Gerro. Of course, while I'm trying to avoid controversy here, Gerro wouldn't have been a waste; you can't serve two masters - green and yellow; and I do question Sastre expressing that he wasn't expecting the difficulty of this year's tour - it wasn't just Astana, he should've known about Saxobank at least. But hey, many in the peloton and his team think he's a nice guy and his teammates think so. Gerro's over it so should I. The non Thor stage win did come from another Australian though..
Every Australian rider at the Tour - watch the videos from last night's prelude online at sbs.com.au/tdf and let them speak for itself. How good are they all? Especially Stuey - does he just get better? (and these guys:)
Cadel - riding in the grupetto and liking it (a bit day in the life of perspective, good for him?). Then his TT and then the breakaway attempt.
Mick - I shouldn't have got carried away with the Tomo TDF Dodger love/my own Canberra bias and thought he was going for the GC. Rogers has been saying it himself all year (and clarified it again). He was focused on the Giro and he would do exactly what's done at this year's tour - been a bloody domestique legend.
Garmin (and Matt White) - have proven that they actually aren't just focused on TT. Wiggo - awesome.
Schlecks/Saxobank - their ride on Stage 17 and Andy screaming joyously as his brother crossed the line. Andy's TT did exactly what it needed to do. And I just love the give until we die mentality of their teammates.
Fabian - I'm actually finding his bitchiness - which he has managed to sustain for the whole three weeks especially with Contador and the motorbike - amusing now as I deliriously approach Sunday night.
And finally - Contador:
You'd be forgiven for not knowing he was in the yellow jersey, that he's a nice young guy and rode an awesome time trial. I initially thought he was silly leaving Kloden, only because i thought he'd be isolated with the Schlecks. But I realised a later that he was actually fresh, and Kloden was starting to go in reverse anyway. Contador knew the best out of everyone he could go. He didn't stop because the attack didn't work, he did hold back. The Schlecks crossed the gap, but I can't help thinking Contador was away - as anyone would do when you're in yellow with fresh legs and wanting to stamp your authority on it- you don't think about your DS/Manager wanting to get the first 1,2,3 on the podium (since 1914?) Gosh I'd love it if he left certain teammates for dead tonight on Ventoux...... Oh, i did it again, i can't help it...I'm back on the controversy train.
Oh what the hell, all aboard - Go Berty!!! And go the future TDFs - look forward to Schleck v Contador! Then in a few years - Bobridge v Phinney (if Phinney hasn't grown into a mini Lance that is).







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