--After Versus butchered Stage 4--it wasn't intelligible what was happening--I went on and bought the Tour Tracker. Okay, I'm not crazy about Versus because of their football-esque overproduction and endless ill-timed commercials, but it's still cool to have cycling on TV. Plus, they're playing it over and over again which I love.
Just to be clear, the online package provides the commercial-less French feed a la the Tour of Cali and it is GLORIOUS. Buy it. Or for less serious fans, you can always find a feed on Cyclingfans.com.
--That being said, my predictions thus far? Well, Cav has yet to be the horse I was betting on but I'm still rooting for him. It looked like today he had to fight so much, in the absence of last year's leadout, that by the time it came to sprint he had nothing left. (Any way BMC would let HTC lease Big George for a few stages??)
Farrar, who I only picked for a 2nd/3rd place finish, wrecked his wrist on the slick stage and has lost any chance of competing. He had a better chance of winning a stage with Cav lagging but that's over now. Poor guy.
Speaking of wrist problems, Gesink has a fractured one...again! Glad I didn't pick him for a spot. Except for big Schleck crashing out yesterday, my GCs are still intact. I should add though that Frank Schleck being out of the Tour could definitely affect Andy's overall. They worked together like clockwork last year and it will be interesting to see how he fares without is brosef.
Ryder, who I chose for a stage win, was in fact in a breakaway and was amazing yesterday. (See his stats from that stage here.) I couldn't believe he was able to get on when the Fabian train caught him.
I was about to list Chavanel as a wild card, as I did last year, but I really hadn't heard anything about him since last year!
La Gazzetta della Bici had a nice gallery of the making of the bikes of Chavanel and Pineau. I digest.
Lance, who I put at like 7th, is beginning to lose some serious time now, which he'll continue to do. Oh yeah, speaking of, anyone see that snear??
At first I thought he was being antagonistic to his old teammate, then I read the official Livestrong PR and apparently Lance sensed a cancer growing in Contador and was attempting exorcise it. The PR also mentioned he never tested positive for the snear...back to buying bracelets!
Carrying on, oh wait, here's another funny example of RadioShack's sportsmanship.
(Just heard on Versus that Levi said the run ups leading to the cobbles were like nothing he'd ever seen. Apparently guys were hitting each other for position. Said he had never been so stressed.)
Sky is still in black, as crazy as that is. No explanation.
Cadel is doing well-er than I thought he would and he may eek his way up the GC. I don't think he'll be able to climb with the rest but we'll see.
--In non-Tour news, CAS (Italian anti-doping agency) has suspended Iljo Keisse for two years. You'll remember CAS as they're the agency that recently suspended Alejandro Valverde. I'm not sure how one country's agency is able to issue these rulings and have them stand. These cases should all go before WADA instead of having one country high-jacking the process.
That being said, Keisse's case (no pun intended) fell on deaf ears in Belgium. Does that mean it's up to CAS to take the case? Did they run out of work? If they're looking for cases to take on, especially issues that are years old, go back and test Ricco's 2008 Giro samples. As far as I know, he's still got his maglia bianca and all the prize money.
No, what really gets me is the lack of equality in all of this. Some guys, Valverde et al, get suspensions for things that happened years ago, and some don't, (insert name of anyone over 30 in the peloton--except Jens Voigt, ok maybe him, too). What we need is a statute of limitations. If you doped in 2008 (this is a slightly arbitrary start date) or before, you can still have your wins stripped from races in which you tested positive when tested retroactively. You can't, however, be suspended. You just have to pay back your winnings. This way you don't have these selective witch-hunts like you have now.
Some of you will remember that I raced with Keisse last summer near Aalst in Belgium. By "raced" I mean we both paid our 8 euro and both started. He made the break, I got pulled after two laps. Oh and the local bar had a poster up of him. Good times.
--Okay I'm spent. Here's a funny pic of Pineau and Chavanel: