Jul 22, 2005

tdf - stage 19

Morning notes:
  • Yellow jersey - Wrapped up at this point. I'm sure Lance wants to win the stage tomorrow though.
  • Green jersey - Still open but McEwen reportedly has stomach problems. If he wants the green jersey he's going to have to make something happen today. I'm guessing it's too late. O'Grady is second and has a chance. But Hushovd is doing well and I expect him to hold onto it.
  • Polka dot jersey - Rasmussen has this wrapped up.
  • White jersey - Wrapped up. Popo is in command at this point. He's 7'47" ahead of the next guy.
  • Team - Looks like T-Mobile will win this. They gained a lot back yesterday. They are 11 minutes up over Discovery.
  • Ullrich is purely focused on getting on the podium. He is 2'12" behind Rasmussen. Can he do it? Probably. He gained 2'06" over 19km over Rasmussen in the first time trial stage.
Ending stages like this can be interesting. You have a group of riders that view this as one of the last chances they have to further their goals (whatever they may be) and you have another set of riders who view this as one of the last chances for them to defend against movements by other riders. So there are lots of attacks and there are lots of covers. Lots of different teams will lead the peloton depending on who is trying to go off the front. Often times not much is allowed to go down the road. However a lot of the jerseys are already secured. We'll see how it works out.

About 2/3rds of the way through and a group of 4 leads a group of 10 which leads the peloton. The group of 4 includes Guerini, Casar, Pereiro and Pellizotti. They have a nice lead - around 8 minutes. No one in the peloton seems particularly interested in chasing. This is strange because Pereiro is 13th at the start of the stage. If he keeps this lead he will be in the top 10. In particular the positions of Moreau, Landis, and Vino are all threatened by him.

Illes Balears slowly whittling away the lead. And when I say slowly I mean not at all really. This is turning into a snoozer. The only interesting thing going on is Commesso in the group 2 minutes behind the overall stage leaders. He keeps attacking his group. Whenever they make it back to him he attacks again. Funny.

Okay the time difference is coming down a bit more now. Moreau has finally organized his troops to start putting a dent in Pereiro's lead. Guerini (T-Mobile), in the lead group, attacks towards the end and no one has an answer for him. He's going to easily win.

The peloton rolls in around 4'30" behind. Pereiro nips Moreau out of the top 10 spot. What was Moreau thinking? He deserves to lose it.
Stage 20
Found a map. LeTour.com didn't have one. 55.5 km to the end. Simple rules. Go as fast as you can. No drafting if you catch up to someone. Look for Lance to accelerate through the stage. Sometimes he comes into the first time check behind others and then picks up the pace through the final checkpoints. For those keeping track at home I believe the time checkpoints are 17.0 km, 40.2 km, 49.7 km, and 55.5 km. That is, respectively 30%, 72%, 90%, and 100% of the total distance. With Zabriskie out Lance should take this handily. This will be the last bit of excitement on the Tour with Lance. Enjoy it while you can.

At 55 km the team trial can be a tricky event. With no time to replenish energy with a power bar or anything you need to stock up on food the days before. The irony being that these guys eat so much during the Tour (6,000 calories) that many get tired of eating at the end. If that happens, you can bonk early. 55 km is close the max distance you can ride going all out and still have energy left.

1 comment:

Chupathingy said...

Nice prediction on Lance and the first time check!

I had a thought yesterday that seemed fairly overwhelming. Someone will win the tour next year. Whoever that person is will not know whether they'll be able to match Armstrong for SIX MORE YEARS AFTER THAT! That's just insane to me. I can't imagine doing anything seven years down the road. I suppose that that's not really the way to look at things, in that you can't win seven in a row until you win one, but if anyone has any hopes of winning the Tour as many times in a row as Armstrong, it's an incredibly long way away.