Thursday, July 22, 2010

The mythic Tourmalet

Today's break with Colombia really leaves me ice cold.  But what happened at the Tour de France stage today did run chills through my spine and I ONLY saw the picture sequence (I am at work, no broadband to watch the tour).

Schleck and Contador
Of course since Contador is Spaniard El Pais had to carry the picture set, including a picture of Sarkozy following the Tour stage, not wanting to miss the commemoration of the 100th anniversary that the epic Tourmalet pass was added to the Tour.  Briefly, Contador and Schleck have played an epic battle alone ahead of the pack and if Schleck won (out of courtesy by Contador) it remains that Contador is by far the favorite for the Bordeaux stage and thus the favorite to win the Tour unless some major catastrophe happens.  Watch the photo gallery of El Pais and tell me if that does not do something to you!  Images 7 and 8 did me in....


  1. Mercedes Atencio12:32 AM

    Daniel, be fair. Andy Schleck did not win out of courtesy of Contador. He was the absolute winner and Contador should be ashamed of not waiting for Schleck two stages back when he had trouble with his bike chain
    Try to watch the video tonight. Le Tourmalet is a killer. Fortunately I have access through Versus TV to the whole Tour and I don't miss a stage.
    I hope Contador wins the contre-la-montre on Saturday -he is the best-so he doesn't end up winning Le Tour without winning a stage.

  2. Mercedes

    Maybe I was not clear. Indeed Schleck won, but Contador could have too and at the end he did not fight anymore. In the result Schleck does not take time from Contador. In the picture where Schleck rises his hand Contador is not 10 feet behind him.

    the important point here is that the Tourmalet this year was the "prestige stage" and if Schleck does not win the tour Contador did not mind at all that he took the Tourmalet 100th. I hope that the picture I showed illustrates that whatever happened in the Tour this year, they both agree that it is Contador's year. Next year it could well be Schleck and he accumulates good points for that.

    Remember one thing, the Tour is for the more consistent player, not the one that wins the most stages, Which is what makes the winner of individual stages so important, so happy, because the Tour becomes a collection of nice individual feats of glory.

  3. My dear Dano:

    The Tour de France is down my alley so I could not help but to comment.
    1) Contador did what he set up to do and that is, stay with Andy and not loose any time. I do not think Contador had it in him to sprint at the end. Further, I am not sure he could have beaten Andy anyway. Granted that when you are exhausted, you have already accomplished what you set up to accomplish and you come from a controversy such as the one on Stage 15 it makes little sense to over do it.
    2) Contador is a great climber and TT specialist. He also had excellent climbing "domestiques" which Andy lacked when Frank had to abandon the race. The stage tomorrow though is going to be a highly technical one. Sustained cross winds are forecast along the route and in that kind of conditions the Saxo Bank Team (Former CSC) is perhaps the most technical team in the Tour. Astana is not even close to them from a technical stand point. Andy may take advantage of that and if the conditions are right he may pull a rabbit out of a hat.
    3) The TT on Saturday does not favor Contador. It is far too flat and a high speed course. Here again technical ability and not power will decide the TT. Andy will be putting all the meat in the grill while Contador will be concerned with not making a mistake. Not to mention that Andy is today much better at TT than he use to be.
    4) Of course there is also the possibility that for the first time in many years the stage into Paris could decide the winner instead of being the customary parade.

    Whatever happens we should be grateful because this has sure been one very exciting Tour de France.

    P.D. By the way Dano, I agree with your past comment on the roads and lack of potholes. While I am sure that some maintenance is performed in the roads for the tour I am positive that most if not all of it is regular scheduled road maintenance re-programmed to fit the tour and not special maintenance performed because of the tour.

    I have ride my bike all over France many times (with a triple) and I still have to find a threatening pothole. When going down a mountain fast, though certainly not as fast as these dare devil pros, potholes are not even in your mind... over shooting the curves is.

  4. Mousqueton

    Maybe I should not read El Pais.....

  5. I read this post with a sense of complete nostalgia. I still remember like ten years ago when I would watched the Tour absolutely enthralled, keeping in mind who won what part and what were the conditions here and there.
    After so many scandals, so many drugs, I have completely lost interest. I just bike.
    Isn't it strange nobody is caught lately with drugs in biking? No cheating? Yeah

  6. Anonymous3:35 PM

    It also looked to me that Contador could have taken the Tourmalet at the very end. I saw the repetition and photos a dozen times. As an avid cyclist, I can tell you that when you're following the leader(s) that close you have a deadly advantage, the element of surprise: you draft some behind (save energy), you breathe and take every possible chance to rest just a little, when the cyclist ahead slow down a bit, and you just react, saving yourself for the end, carefully administering whatever energy you've got left.. At the last few feet, Contador could have surprised Schlek with a few furious pedal strokes. Nothing Schleck could have done about it. Nothing. Watch the film again, notice how Contador almost looks careful as not to pass Schleck. Trying to be precise, and arrive only half a second bihind. I would bet it was a classy gift from Contador to his very respected friend Schleck. Actually, I would be surprised if Schleck understood that Contador was not goint to try to pass him. Implicitly, via eye-to-eye communication during the climb, a word, a gesture.. Schleck didn't look too worried in the last few yards. The Spaniard admitted he felt a measure of guilt after what happened before. Now his conscience will feel better when he wins the Tour.

    Carlos I.

  7. Anonymous4:55 PM

    Kepler, if all or most of the cyclists use enhancing subtances - which everyone suspects, wouldn't it be relatively fair? Lo que es igual no es trampa, no?

    The Tour is still an Amazing event, lots of strategy, amazing scenarios, great efforts from the athletes. I only wish i had a bigger HD Plasma and that they wouldn't ruin it here on US cable TV with many freaking commercials!

    Carlos I.

  8. Carlos,

    Just as drug use is not inner strengthening and therefore does not show innate ability...

    so is the fact that some do not have the inner concentration to tolerate commercials.

    Don't let drugs rule you, and don't allow commercials to do so either.

  9. Carlos,

    Call me a purist, but no, I don't think it is the same. It becomes a wee bit then like car racing: it has a lot to do about the inhuman engine (or steroids), no matter how much you want to stress "dexterity".

    Of course, unlike in car racing, these blokes don't drive round and round but go through gorgeous landscapes. But then: I prefer to bike myself.

  10. Anonymous10:29 PM

    I dont know much ppl over here in germany anymore who wath the tour. Just too many scandals, every year, who knows what comes out this year.
    (Just remember Armstrong and Ulrich..)
    Doping is a very big business, many of the great german cyclists where doping the same as the one from other countries, even when they got catched, they kept on lying. Thats no sports anymore.

    And surprise surprise after all that no more big ads anymore in the german tv to watch the tour.

    The tour has lost the exitement it ones had. I dont want to see who has the best drugs..


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