Monday, July 4, 2011

Contador's Karma

--The Tour got off to an amazing start on Saturday. I was super excited that it wasn't a prologue and it didn't disappoint. Gilbert was on fire, so much so that Cav equated his win to "having a 13 incher." Well put...

Unfortunate for Contador, there was a crash in the last 10k that took out the majority of the field. Iglinsky was on the right side of the road and ran into a woman standing on the road unaware. (The French later praised her for her work since it was so damaging to Contador.) Here's a shot of the crash:

After that there was another crash in the final few k which took out Cav and Goss. Contador ended up 1:20 off the Schlecks, Cunego, Martin, Evans, Wiggins, and someone I meant to include the other day, Rein Taaramae. He's young but I think he could have a solid Tour and maybe even a top 5 on a stage.

I had come home early so I could watch the race on Versus TV and after all of 10 minutes I turned it off and just watched the feed. First off, the coverage came on at about 5 and they didn't even show any of the race until after 530. A full 30 minutes of commercials, product placement, and commentary lead by a new guy who has zero cycling background and is just a generic sportscaster.

It's so awful I'd rather watch a choppy Eurosport feed than Versus in HD. That bad. The endless commercials. The football-like production, constantly cutting to a new shot, an interview, a commercial for the programming you're sitting there watching. That's the part that kills me, you're missing the race for commercials about the race! During the interview with Joel Felicio (@joelfelicio), who I'll say is a very cool guy and has little control over how many commercials, he said they do 15 minutes per hour. That's the standard. It feels like there are more like 25-30 minutes of commercials, though.

--Contador went on to lose more time in yesterday's TTT as Garmin dominated. Evans missed the yellow jersey by a second and a half, reminding me of the last TTT in the Tour when Lance missed yellow.

Eisel crashed early on in the TTT. If he hadn't crashed I think HTC would have won the TTT. They were only a few seconds off the leave and Eisel would have definitely helped.

Apparently the UCI pulled a pop quiz on the teams right before the start. They measured to make sure the saddles were horizontal, a rule often ignored. Bruyneel put it well:

"The whole season you’ve ruled like this (with last-minute decisions and poor communication with the teams),” Bruyneel complained. “We spend thousands each year in the wind tunnel and today in front of the world’s press, at the most important race of the year, you do this!"

This is a prime example of the disconnect between the business of the sport and the regulation of the sport. Take the issue of Tour invitations or ProTour licenses. These things all add up to harm the sport's well being. Pro cycling doesn't exist without sponsors and if sponsors can count on the sport to provide marketing results, what good is it?

Also, it seems like each year there's some abuse of power at the Tour. Last year it was Renshaw being kicked out of the race. The year before, I think, was Cav's relegation in a sprint which cost him the green jersey. And the year before that it was Astana's omission from the Tour. I could go on but you get the point.

--In other news, Velogogo spotted a hand adjustable seat post on Basso's bike. Check this thing out:


I guess that's better than sticking weights down the seat tube to meet the 15 lb rule.


  1. The most ridiculous thing about the already ridiculous saddle checks was that the jig used to check the saddle height was on dirt and not itself level. To fix this they tapped into their vast bank of technological resources... they propped it up with a rock:

    The whole incident is an embarrassment to the sport. And recently they made a statement that random bike checks will be performed. I really don't know what they're thinking, but at this rate they're going to make the sport laughable.

  2. Completely agree. The UCI continues to prove hostile to the sport as a whole.

    Btw, if you leave your name or Twitter I'll give you credit for the pic!