Why does it not surprise me that Alexandre Vinokourov (“Vino” “the flying forehead”) made a big move in today’s stage of the Tour de France? He’s always been a favorite of mine, second only to Thor Hushovd the Norwegian who has been in the yellow Jersey for several days now.
With Contador so far out of the standings, the Schleck boys have a real shot at it. I think Cadel Evans, Andy S and Frank S will be on the podium. Maybe that’s just wishfulness but it could happen.
Lance Armstrong made it to third place on the Tour de France podium by holding his own with Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck on the slopes of the vaunted Mt Ventoux and the next to the last stage of the 2009 Tour. Today, Lance, barring the unforeseen, will stand on the podium with these two superb mountain climbers. I was lucky enough to be able to cycle down to Mellow Johnny’s and watch the stage finish along side some of Lance’s most ardent supporters and Lance’s very own bike and coffee shop (Juan Pelota’s). Here’s a very brief video of the crowd at Mellow Johnny’s applauding Lance as he crossed the finish line just behind Alberto and Andy.
Please favorite this link on youtube if you liked it!
Well, too bad we have to wait a whole year to see Lance battle it out with a new team vs. Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck. But he’ll be racing soon enough in the Tour of Ireland and, hopefully, some day in the Tour of Texas (if we can make it happen) against Contador and the Schleck brothers.
As we watch the Tour Time trial today, the breaking news sprung by Austin Statesman’s Suzanne Halliburton is that Lance’s team next year with be Team Radio Shack!
To quote Suzanne, “In addition, the domain site teamradioshack.com was registered this week by an employee of Capital Sports and Entertainment. That’s the Austin-based company which has represented Armstrong throughout his Tour de France career. It’s also the same company that managed Team Discovery, Armstrong’s last squad in 2005.”
On the lighter side, I did a little video of one of my favorite riders, Norwegian Thor Hushovd, trying and failing to open a can of coke and throwing it down in disgust. But he did much better in yesterday’s stage than he did with the cavity inducing sugar water, winning two green jersey checkpoints. Hushovd got in a controversy the day before when his main rival was disqualified for cutting him off and he wanted to demonstrate that he deserved the jersey.
We’re deep in to the Tour today. I’m watching it at my new office on Lavaca on the U-verse TV Versus channel 1640 in high def (the first time the race has been broadcast in high definition). I watch the Tour as much for the spectacular aerial views of the French countryside as much as to follow Austin homeboy Lance Armstrong.
Yesterday was the first big mountain stage and Lance worked hard as a team player all day to contain any breakaways and keep pace with the strong mountain riders. Alberto Contador or “AC” as Lance refers to him in his million plus follower twitter feed, may have increased the animosity between him and the team and Lance by breaking away from the main pack at the very last stage of the race and this may not work to his advantage in the long run in the Tour.
Lance said all the politically correct things on his twitter feed and in his post race interview, but beneath the surface there may be tension building up between Contador and the rest of the team.
Being of Norwegian heritage, I’m always pulling for Thor Hushovd to win the green jersey and it’s good to see him in green now.
Lance stands third in the standings now, after AC’s breakaway, but he’s only 2 seconds behind Contador. A nonserious threat, Rinaldo Nociente, is in the lead earing the yellow jersey in the mountain stage today. Paul Sherwin said “this is only the first battle of what is going to be a war in the mountains.” Johan Bruyneel said he “addressed the issue (about Contador pulling the trigger) in the meeting this morning” so we’ll see.
And the race goes on, in high definition. The real joy is in watching it minute by minute on the 52″ Sony high def screen, to the soothing, dulcet tones of the Versus cycling announcers Sherwin, Roll, Hummer and Liggett. For me, this race really defines July in Austin.
VINO IN THE CATBIRD SEAT. It seems to me that Alexandre Vinokourov. . . put himself in the catbird seat with his 7th-place finish today. The rest of the best will be chasing for more than a week just to try to make up the time gap he opened over them. It will be Vinokourov’s race to lose.
If this long-time lone ranger can discipline himself to work with his very talented Astana team, he should win the race. If he impulsively “goes off,” as he typically does, the podium in Paris is wide open.”
Affectionately nicknamed the “Flying Forehead” by Cycling Insight’s Bazzman and Hutch, this could be the Year of the Forehead.
I have to admit I missed the tv coverage on Versus of today’s Tour. My day was dominated by the mega-gorific “Live Earth” concert which ran for nearly 24 hours. Cycling is certainly an earth saving activity, and the concert had quite a few short films which extolled the virtues of riding a bike. In the absence of a first hand second hand report which I would have had if I watched Versus or had the room on my dvr to record it, I give you this little quote from the CSC blog.
“Don’t criticize Fabian Cancellara if he looked a little scraggy on the winner’s podium. The Swiss rider would have liked to have shaven the past few days, but he’s still waiting for his luggage. “I would love to have a shave, but my razor is inside my baggage which has been lost for three days now. I haven’t had any of my belongings after the airline lost my luggage on my flight to London on Wednesday. It’s nice to have the yellow jersey, but I wouldn’t mind my baggage again. If someone finds it, please call me!”
Cancellera, 26-year-old Swiss, will be the first to wear the yellow jersey after beating German Andreas Kloeden of the Astana team by 13 seconds. American George Hincapie of the Discovery Channel came home third.
Fabian Cancellara. Photo EFE
Swiss Fabian Cancellara of the CSC team won the 7.9-km prologue of the Tour de France on the streets of London on Saturday. (CSC stands for Computer Sciences Corporation, I go by their monumental building on Town Lake in Austin all the time, wondering what goes on in that mystery complex).
Cancellara, already a winner of the Tour’s opening time trial in 2004, coped perfectly with the flat course starting at Trafalgar Square and finishing in The Mall to set the best time of eight minutes 50 seconds, according to provisional results.
The 26-year-old Swiss will be the first to wear the yellow jersey after beating German Andreas Kloeden of the Astana team by 13 seconds. American George Hincapie of the Discovery Channel came home third.
So begins this year’s Tour, which will be broadcast on cable tv Versus (formerly OLN). Today it was somewhat overshadowed, in at least in my world, by the Live Earth juggernaut.