Thursday, July 21, 2011

Final Days of the Tour

--Yesterday was an amazing day of racing. It was definitely one of the top stages of the Tour thus far. I haven't been that excited since the stage 3 of this year's Tour de Suisse where Sagan caught Cunego on the descent.

This stage also featured a harrowing descent which saw one of the Saur-Sojasun guys go off the road THREE TIMES!! It was unreal. The third time he ended up down off the road in someone's driveway and minutes later Voeckler bunny hopped off the road into the same driveway!

Meanwhile, Sanchez and Contador were absolutely flying downhill in a last ditch effort to gain every second possible. Up until the finish it looked like they'd gain some time, then out of nowhere the rest of the GC guys caught them and finished in a group. The groups were so spread out they couldn't cover every move.

Surprisingly, after Andy criticized the ASO over the descent, he was able to hang on and not lose any time. He went on to say the descent was "not really necessary"...except that it was the most exciting part of the stage.

--The other day I saw a Velonews post about Vaughters and teams wanting some of the TV revenue. Then, someone forwarded me this Bloomberg piece saying both HTC and Garmin had denied broadcasters access to their team cars. Awesome!!

It's so great to see the teams fight back with things they do control. With the UCI continuing to push disconnected and damaging rules and regulations, I hope other teams join the call. The riders and teams are treated like dirt because they're atomized, but if they all band together like this they'll be able to really make some changes.

--While I'm mentioning a Bloomberg article, there was also a Wall Street Journal piece on Jensy the other day. In case you've missed it, he's been blogging again this year on Bicycling.

--Lately I've been enjoying Gerard Vroomen's blog. He has regular blurbs about the latest inside Tour stuff. The other day it was an excerpt from a funny Cav interview. Then, there was also a great piece on Giro race director Zomegnan and the injustice of him being pushed out. Although he neglects to mention Zomegnan's numerous clashes with teams and riders, he does point out that the last few years have been really exciting.

He also has an interesting piece about cycling times and doping. Funny, I think we're the only sport where we measure our improvement on how much slower the riders are going...

--Terpstra is complaining about a lack of opportunities at this year's Tour. I would say if any year there's a chance for the little guy it's this year. (Okay, 2008 was a great year, too, but that's just because Contador wasn't in the Tour!) There have been hardly any straight out sprint stages. Almost every stage has had a significant bump or two allowing a group of attackers to stay away.

Besides, who's in yellow after all? Voeckler! He's one of the biggest kamikaze attackers in the Tour and he managed to land the yellow jersey. Then, there were wins by Luis-Leon Sanchez and Rui Costa (I won't mention Vanendert since Terpstra's comments were for non-climbers and non-sprinters). On top of that, you had Hoogerland in polka dots and he likely would have retained the jersey had he not been taken out by the car.

--Lastly, Kolobnev's B sample came back positive. Looks like that bronze medal he inherited from Rebellin may have a third owner.

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