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Le Tour

PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:38 pm
by kevin
The Tour De France starts tomorrow and I am looking forward to it immensely.

ITV4 are showing the climax of every stage live and with a British team (Sky) and a record number of British riders there will be plenty to root for.

Bradley Wiggins for the general classification and Mark Cavendish (henceforth known as "The Mad Manxman") for the Green Jersey should put up a good show.

I could watch for hours and probably will.

I will try and bring updates of each stage on a daily basis.

The race starts with a Prologue of 8.9km around Rotterdam. This is a short time trial and will probably be won by a specialist like Wiggins or Fabian Cancellara. Do not rule out Alberto Contador the race favourite as he is no slouch at this discipline.

Who needs football!

Re: Le Tour

PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:45 pm
by Philellinas
I can't wait to watch the wheels going round. Some of the scenery is quite pleasant, however.

Re: Le Tour

PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:45 pm
by Rob Hall
I shall be watching with great interest. Maybe we should run a book on which team will be involoved in the first doping scandal?

Re: Le Tour

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:44 pm
by kevin
The Prologue. A short time trial around the Port of Rotterdam. You could write a song about that

No surprises with the winner. Time trial specialist Fabian "Spartacus" Cancellara powered his way to the win. Two British riders in the top ten with David Millar third and Geraint Thomas fifth.

Of the main contenders for the general classification Lance Armstrong drew first blood beating Contador by 5 seconds and Wiggins in 77th place by 34 seconds. Wiggins took a gamble on going for a early start in the hope that rain would slow his rivals. This backfired as the course dried out in the later stages. Quel dommage!

Armstrong looks like a man on a mission fuelled by the fact this is his last tour and by his anger over a story in the Wall Street Journal reopening the allegations of blood doping by Floyd Landis.

There have also been rumours of "mechanical doping" and the organisers are using scanners on the bikes to ascertain whether they have electric motors built in.

The stage tomorrow is from Rotterdam to Brussels a distance of 223.5km. The tour finish in Brussels is timed to celebrate the 60th birthday of Eddie Merckx one of Belgiums favourite sons and a five times tour winner.

This is a relatively flat stage which should suit the sprinters and should provide the first showing of the High Road train leading out Mark Cavendish.

A notable feature of this stage could be the strong side winds which makes the riders nervous and can cause gaps in the peloton. If there is a mass sprint it should be a formality for Cavendish.

Re: Le Tour

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:28 am
by AndyM
Come on, Kev, you're losing ground......

Re: Le Tour

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:32 am
by Des
I bet they'll be cycling on the pavement. Everyone else does.

Re: Le Tour

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:41 am
by Rob Hall

Re: Le Tour

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:28 pm
by Philellinas
You would have thought that the organisers could devise a route which avoids cobblestones so that wheels do not become eels. I trust our slippery cycling correspondent, Kev, has not fallen victim to the treacherous surface...

Re: Le Tour

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:55 pm
by Rob Hall
Philellinas wrote:You would have thought that the organisers could devise a route which avoids cobblestones so that wheels do not become eels. I trust our slippery cycling correspondent, Kev, has not fallen victim to the treacherous surface...

On the contrary, they deliberately routed the tour over the famous Belgian cobblestones, probably as a nod to the annual Paris-Roubaix race, also known as "the Hell of the North", which sends riders over those same cobbles. It's a form of sporting sado-masochism.

Re: Le Tour

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:17 pm
by Philellinas
It's an odd form of sporting sado-masochism, Rob, if it involves covering a normal tarmac road with cobbles for the "benefit" of the riders in the Paris-Roubaix race:-
Image

In case you are interested in participating the race starts in Compi├Ęgne.

Re: Le Tour

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:15 pm
by Rob Hall
Philellinas wrote:It's an odd form of sporting sado-masochism, Rob ...
In case you are interested in participating the race starts in Compi├Ęgne.

I get my kicks in other ways Phil.

Magical Mystery Tour

PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:57 pm
by Philellinas
The wheels seem to have come off this thread. Our cycling correspondent must have got lost in the peloton. Some bloke in snazzy lycra is winning. Consider this your daily update until it's all over.

Re: Le Tour

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:16 am
by kevin
Today's stage may have been pivotal in deciding who wears the Maillot Jaune on the Champs Elysees come Sunday.

On the final climb of the day up the Haute Category (above category) the yellow jersey (Andy Schleck) launched an attack in an attempt to gain time on his main adversary Alberto Contador only for his chain to come off. Contador immediately attacked and following a hair raising descent at times reaching 90-95 kph and by the finish had gained a lead over Schleck of 39 seconds. This put him in the yellow jersey by 8 seconds.

The Contador attack has raised some controversy as like cricket in many ways, cycling has a quite strict code of conduct and many observers would have expected Contador not to take advantage of Schleck's mechanical malfunction and to have waited for him.

Schleck has only two more stages in the Pyrenees to turn things to his advantage and only one of those has a mountain top finish, the stage on Friday up the daunting Col Du Tourmalet. His only other opportunity would come in the time trial on Saturday and Contador is perceived to be stronger in this discipline.

As for the British interest Wiggins has been going backwards and has described his fourth place last year as a fluke. Cavendish still has an outside chance of the green jersey but without his trusty lead out man Mark Renshaw he may be facing (no pun intended) an uphill struggle. Renshaw was disqualified for headbutting another rider in the sprint finish
and more seriously baulking another sprinter who was trying to get on Cavendish's wheel.

The peloton can almost see the Eiffel Tower now.