Jul 7, 2009

tdf 2009

In the past I've blogged quite a bit about the Tour de France as it was being raced. I neither have the time or energy to do that right now. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be watching it. The first few days have been the most exciting in a couple of years.

The big news of course is that Lance Armstrong is back in this year's race. And today came to within 1/10 of a second of the maillot jaune as his team, Astana, put in a good showing in the team time trial.

I'm not about to start blogging now but I do want to make one comment. I don't think Armstrong has a chance in hell of winning. I think it'll taking something Herculean on his part to pull it off. Here's why.

Most obviously he is old. He's almost 38. As good as he is he's probably past his prime of nailing mountain climbs to gain 30 seconds here and there on a hungrier and younger field.

More importantly his team is a disaster. You wouldn't guess that by looking at the roster. Let's take a look who is on it: Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Andreas Kloden, and Levi Leipheimer; not to mention Armstrong's old director, Johan Bruyneel. So what's the problem? Those are 4 outstanding riders to have on a team. That is exactly the problem. They are too good. They are all contenders and have never played a domestique role within a team. Contador won the 2007 TdF for crying out loud.

Imagine any one of these four guys is in the best position to win the TdF but is in trouble. Would the other 3 really come back and help a struggling team member or would they jump at the chance to steal the opportunity. Kloden f**ked Ullrich many times by not helping and instead going for glory. Contador in many ways should be considered the team leader. Leipheimer's days are numbered and Armstrong's even more so.

Let's look at the current standings:
Cancellara leader
Armstrong +0'00"
Contador +0'19"
Kloden +0'23"
Leipheimer +0'31"

Uh oh!

Unless a clear team leader emerges before the mountains or one or two days into the first mountain trials you are going see some serious shit flying. Which could be entertaining in its own right.

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