Jul 22, 2006

tdf - stage 19 (aka the big one)

I've been wondering what would have happened in Stage 17 if Landis hadn't lost 10 minutes on stage 16. Let's say he lost only 4 minutes. Part of what allowed Landis to get away was everyone had written him off. Sure the guy rode like a demon possessed. But the peloton left the chase until way too late. CSC in particular should be ashamed because they have such a strong team. For a team that is so talented, I've never seen one as utterly unaggressive as them. What is that team smoking? And why isn't it on the banned list of drugs for the Tour? Enquiring minds wants to know.

Schleck states, "We didn't let him go. He was just so strong at the beginning and we didn't think he would make it to the end. He made it to the end and he's a f***ing strong rider. Chapeau to Landis." They didn't think he would make it to the end? Why even risk it with your powerhouse team?

Here's an interesting piece about Landis that reveals the strategy Phonak used. It's a bit sentimental and cloying but whatever. The strategy stuff is interesting.

In all the excitement in stage 17 the white jersey leader changed hands. An incredible ride by Cunego displaced Fothen as the lead rookie. But only by 5 seconds. Fothen is a good time trialer. I always make sure I remember the top names on the white jersey list so I know who the players are five years from now.

Regarding Landis' descent on the last col. This is the same descent where rider Sean Kelly once reached a speed of 118.2 km/h. I don't know how fast Landis was going.

Much is being made of the fact that Landis had a beer before stage 17. He mentioned it twice. I see a lucrative career for Landis as a spokesperson for whatever brand of beer that was. We have sports drinks, why not sports beers - "Heineken - Just Do It"

Pereiro went over after stage 17 to congratulate and give Landis an "I love you man". I'm pulling for him to get second place. Classy guy.

Apparently Landis used 70 bottles of water on Stage 17. That's one per 3 miles. Most of it went over his head I'm sure but that is still outLandis.

Is anyone surprised that the front page of CNN had stories on an ex-porn star running for governor and one on Barry Bonds not being indicted, but nothing on Landis? No. I didn't think so.

Oscar "The Grouch" Freire, number 2 on the green jersey standings abandoned yesterday in stage 18. McEwen has green locked up.

Michael Rogers: “I tried to follow [Landis] on the Col des Saissies (first climb) but I can tell you that, at the speed Floyd was going, it was impossible for me to maintain the tempo. I was feeling okay at the start of the stage but he was superman: at the moment he dropped everyone, the gradient was about 10 per cent and Floyd was tapping away at about 36-38km/h…!”

Stage 19
Things went basically according to what you might expect. Honchar put in a great time. Landis did well and came in third. Pereiro did his best but didn't have a chance against Landis. A good performance for him. And Sastre blew up on the stage. He just wasn't there from the start. Losing so much time that it looks like Kloden will take 3rd on the podium tomorrow. Kloden meanwhile had an incredible time trial as well, taking 2nd in the stage. In white jersey Cunego put in a hell of a time. The sign of a good tour rider is one who gets strongers as the tour goes on. He definitely improved over time. I've got my eye on him.

While the fat lady hasn't sung yet, she is warming up. "Mee mee mee meeeeeee."

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