One of the Best Tours I can Remember

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This Tour de France was pretty great. For lots of different reasons, but mainly because of the aggressiveness of the riders. Lots of guys threw caution to the wind to try to get and retain the yellow jersey. Thor held and defended the jersey amazingly. Then Vokler did the same. Contador and the Schlecks tried their luck to get enough time to make the TT yesterday moot. But, Cadel rode like the wind, a super aggressive ITT, and showed that he deserved to win the Tour this year. I know lots of good riders didn’t make it to Paris. But that is the way of the Tour nowadays.

I can honestly say that the two previous days to the ITT were two of the best days I can remember recently. It was very impressive how Cadel controlled the race from behind, banking on the fact that he could time trial so well. And both Thor’s wins and his countryman, Edvald Boasson Hagen, were super exciting. I do think that there seems to be more natural riding this year. There aren’t 6 guys left from one team setting tempo on the hard mountain stages. It was mano a mano, just like it should be.

I wrote a lot earlier about descending, before it became the hot topic of the media. It was amazing how bad some guys can be at certain skills and still be considered contenders for the overall Tour de France title. I’d have to criticize the Schlecks, both of them, for not riding the TT course before the race. I was watching the TT live and couldn’t believe how much time that both of them lost just on bike handling skills. They were going through the corners so much slower than Cadel, it was embarrassing. And on the road where there were raised, speed bump sections, they weren’t getting light on their bikes, losing tons of time. You’d think that would be second nature by now. I don’t think professionals nowadays, spend enough time just riding on their bikes, messing around. Messing around with friends, etc., learning how to ride their bikes, thus how to race their bikes fast. It is kind of sad.

Anyway, it is organized chaos here in Paris. Today is just ceremonial, of course. Except for the green jersey, everyone else is going to just ride in. This year, as last year, I’m amazed how much organization it takes for this whole event to happen. The team car, buses and trucks are just starting to pull into Paris. It is a circus. Just the parking is a circus.

Alright, I’d better go drink some more espresso. I only got 5 hours sleep last night and it’s going to be a pretty long day and night I predict.

Cadel finally got his lion. Just at the right time.

The split screen on French TV when Cadel passed Andy Schleck on virtual GC.

The trucks and team buses have just starting arriving and doing their double parking nightmare.

7 thoughts on “One of the Best Tours I can Remember

  1. VC Slim

    Steve, do you think the Schlecks can significantly improve their TT abilities at this point in their careers? Thanks for the pics. Have a great time.

    Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oy, oy, oy!

     
  2. Dennis Weinbeck

    I was amazed by the commentators comments that Andy didn’t tt well because he used all his energy on the alps. Cadel was the most aggressive rider on the alps, he worked everybit as hard as Contadore or the Schlecks, but was still able to dig deep in the tt. He was no doubt the best.

     
  3. Benni B

    Cadel aggressive??? Watching him is as exciting as watching paint dry.

    I was hoping one of the the Schleck’s would win, but even though not a fan, Contador showed the mark of what a champion should be.

     
  4. SeenItBefore

    We’ll know if this Tour was clean in about a week. It wasn’t too many years ago that the same management team won the race with Floyd Landis. We know what happened that time.

     
  5. Steve Wathke

    I have to agree with Benni B. Cadel raced smart and he deserved to win because of that. The Schlecks , Contador and Voekler were the most exciting guys to watch. They rode aggressively. The Schlecks do need to work on their TT but usually when you become a good TT guy then you lose some of that climbing ability. Can you tell I wanted the Schlecks to win? Cadel deserved it though. He raced smart in the mountains and agressively in the TT. I think I was most impressed by Voekler. That guy was riding on pure guts and I didn’t like him because he’s a frenchmen but he grew on me. I admired his style and if he hadn’t gone chasing Contador and Schleck he might be a little higher in the standings. Great tour though!

     
  6. Mark Skarpohl

    We call them the Schleck sisters,If They’re not going up hill they are pathetic and if they’re not holding hands they’re lost.

     
  7. Randy Crist

    Your comments on bike handling on the TT were spot on. I noticed the same thing-Cadel was just railing the corners, while the Schlecks looked like amateurs through the turns. Then again, their descending skills aren’t exactly stuff of legends….

     

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