Tour de France wrap up

Well, another Tour de France is over. And it was a great one.

Some of the things I liked best:

– Lance Armstrong. What a surprise I should pick him. He’s a master. He and his coaches put together the best team on the planet, combined with the best training, and proved what can be done with enough determination and money.

– The sprints. Unlike the Giro d’Italia, where the sprints were positively boring by the end because of the total domination of the Fassa-Bortolo squad. In the Giro, every flat stage ended with 7 or 8 Fassa riders leading out Pettachi, and a couple of guys hoping to hold onto Pettachi’s wheel, and the totally predictable win for Pettachi. I don’t know if it’s because Fassa-Bortolo concentrates on the Giro the way US Postal concentrates on le Tour, or just that there were so many other good teams in the Tour, but Fassa never managed to put together perfectly coreographed lead-outs and there were always several riders in contention. But Robbie McEwan always seemed to be popping out from some crowd that you thought had boxed him in to get a high place if not a win.

– The mountains. I’m not sure if I like having all the mountains on the back end of the tour like that, but it sure made for some nail biting days.

– The surprises. I thought that the main contenders in the GC would be Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich, Tyler Hamilton, Roberto Heras and Iban Mayo, with maybe Bobby Julrich an outside chance. Instead Heras and Mayo dropped out of contention early, and Hamilton abandoned, and suddenly I’m watching with great interest Basso and Kloden who I hadn’t really thought about before.

– Lance’s sprint to beat Kloden after the commentators had given the win to Kloden.

– Vokler’s determined rides to keep the yellow jersey in the mountains as long as he could. He performed way, way above himself, and you could see the pain it was costing him. It’s too bad he lost the white jersey as well.

– Lance proving he was “The Boss” by forcing Filippo Simeoni to give up any hope of winning a stage and get the hell to the back of the pack. The OLN commentators were pretty cagey about what was going on there, but from what I gathered a while back Armstrong called Simeoni a liar because Simeoni said that Armstrong’s doctor was giving the riders illegal drugs, and Sineoni is suing Armstrong for defamation. So when Simeoni attempted to join a break-away that the peleton had no interest in chasing, Armstrong went with him, knowing that would force the peleton to chase the break-away down. The other riders in the break-away forced Simeoni to drop back to the peleton before he ruined it for everybody else, and Armstrong, his point made, dropped back with him. Simeoni spent the rest of the day at the very back of the peleton. The next day I saw another US Postal rider purposely blow his nose at Simeoni as he rode past him.

Some of the things I liked least:

– All the crashes. I don’t know whether it was poor course planning that put too many turns near the ends of bunch sprints, or pack nervousness because without any early mountains or time trials, there wasn’t any big time divisions yet.

– The new time limits on the team time trial. Ok, maybe that’s because I was rooting for Lance Armstrong and under the old rules he would have had a minute more advantage early on than he did. But I feel that if you ride a minute faster than the other guys, then the GC times should reflect that.

– The crowds interfering with the riders. I could see the gendarmes working hard to keep people under control, but more than once I saw a rider have to shove somebody out of the way. One time Kloden shoved a guy running along side with a German flag who was interfering with him and Ullrich.

– Bob Roll’s pronunciation of “Tour DAY France”. It’s “tour duh fraunce”, dumbass. It’s funny, because weird hand jestures and all, Roll is a pretty decent commentator, but his pronounciation of french words sends a shiver down my back. I even discovered that one cycling news site had reference to the “Bob Roll Drinking Game” where everybody had to drink when he says “Tour DAY France”.

3 thoughts on “Tour de France wrap up”

  1. Read over Vicki’s shoulder my LJ with my report of being on the Rue de Rivoli on Sunday as the peloton rolled by.

    Do you think that Kloden came out as the head of the CSC team?

  2. Read over Vicki’s shoulder my LJ with my report of being on the Rue de Rivoli on Sunday as the peloton rolled by.

    She’s been sending them to me. Or you could try friending my LJ account (ptomblin_lj) so I could read them directly.

    Do you think that Kloden came out as the head of the CSC team?

    If his team (T-Mobile, but you knew that) doesn’t make him the head of the team soon, I bet he goes hunting for a new team.

    I bet that would be embarrassing for the major German team to not have the German champion.

  3. Andreas Klöden and Jan Ullrich are close friends – some time Andreas actually lived in Jans house. There won’t be much discussion between those two riders about who is leader and who not. So I don’t think he will go hunting for another team. Maybe Vinokourov will do – because now he is third in line, because Klöde is a much better timetrial rider than he is.

    With CSC I hope that Basso stays there – Riis has a very good hand in building fighters and I think he can fix the last bugs in Bassos style (like Basso keeping his head in time trials the wrong angle).

    On the other hand I would be quite happy if Ullrich would go to another team – mostly because I can’t stand Walter Godefroot. I think that his “dominance thinking” is the biggest problem with T-Mobile. Let Jan Ullrich run as a underdog or without the pressure and he performs _much_ better than under the pressure Godefroot put’s on hime. We could see that last year when Ullrich rode for Bianchi and this year after Ullrich wasn’t a competitor for the tour victory any more. Ullrich with Gerolsteiner or CSC for example would be quite fun, because I think Riis or Holtz could shape him much better than Godefroot can.

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