Tuesday, July 19, 2011

TdF Stage 15


Yes!  I asked for it, competition on the sprint stages.  The intermediate sprint was no different than a sprint finish.  How cool is that?  I love when it gets crazy, and I really like it when Cav has some competition.  It only makes for awesome racing, we are talking edge of the seat, yelling at the TV, beer drinking ruckus racing.  Not your everyday boring Golf Channel snooze on the couch with a Zima and Jolly Rancher.

Cav holds off Tyler for his fourth win of this Tour and picks up his 19th.  Breaking hearts, winning races, and breaking records.  Love to hate this guy, Hate to love this guy, but you better Respect.  He has the team that can stomp you into a million pieces, and then he will pip you at the line, or better yet he will beat you by a mile.

Time to take a rest.  Voeckler is in yellow and claims that he can't win le Tour.  Really?  I'm not so sure, this guy is tough as a weathered catcher's mitt.  This is such an awesome Tour to watch.  I am so impressed with the spectacle that is le Tour de France.

Monday, July 18, 2011

TdF Stage 14


I have to start off by saying I'm sorry to Thomas Voeckler for not mentioning what a b'dass he is.  The former National Champ of France is riding like a man possessed with, well his former self from a few years ago when Lance had to grind and claw every second he could to pry the yellow jersey from Voeckler.  Has everyone underestimated Thomas just as Lance did?  Voeckler can ride a bike, he may not be the most picturesque of climbers but the man can descend like an avalanche -and he will leave devastation in his wake.  Since his stint in the Yellow a few years ago he has been know as a stage hunter or breakaway artist, and if you want a dictionary definition of what he does best check out the last stage of Paris-Nice 2011.  Rainy nasty hilly, oh and cold.  Thomas is for real and by real I mean this guy is hardened dolomite.

Jelle Vanendert
Growing up in Texas I don't have the best pronunciation skills so his name comes out something like: Jello Van in the Dirt.  I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed.  No, Who is this guy again?  And, Wow what a performance he just laid down.  I will admit, I was waiting for him to blow into a million pieces about 5k to go.  Where has Omega been keeping this guy?  Did they just make him in the lab or something?  Nonetheless I am impressed and will keep an eye on this guy, could be a one hit wonder.

The GC guys were a little less animated on this stage.  I waited and waited for Andy and Frank to take off the gloves and start pimp slapping, but it never materialized.  Andy put in a dig in the end, but it only netted him a few seconds, it looked cool, but was not quite a stage stopper.  Contador looked a lot better than stage 12 when he was punched in the face by the Schlecks -repeatedly.  Basso was doing some work, WHY?  Evans looks like he is on a mission, a mission with a plan and he is sitting pretty.  Don't forget that Cadel can TT and can take a lot of time out of the Schlecks, Basso, and Sanchez.  Game on.

TdF Stage 13

Lucky #13 is his ninth stage win.

One word... THOR, 'nuff said.

We talked about this guy when we were all amazed that he could keep the yellow jersey when the roads started to go up.  I think we are so used to seeing Thor in sprints and in the Classics that we forget that he can ride his bike.  The guy can ride, period.  He is super strong, one might say mythically strong, he is named after the god of  thunder.  Respect.  Respect is what we need when we speak of Thor.  We all know that he can drill it in the mountains, he did it two years ago in le Tour when he went rogue and clinched the Green Jersey.

I am a fan of the guy, plus you have to love it when the Rainbow Jersey wearer does it justice by crossing the line first.  I mean here is the world champ tearing it up, wearing the yellow jersey and winning stages.  Can you ask anymore of the Champ?  Not going to mention any names, but there have been a few World Champs that failed the jersey and seemed to cheapen the position.  Thor has done the opposite, he has brought great honor to the Jersey.  Awesome.

I do have to say poor Jeremy Roy.  I am a fan of the Breakaway.  Realized or Failed you have to love what these guys do.  What do they do?  Well for starters they ride darn near full gas for nearly the whole stage, if that is not enough some do it solo.  Jens said that you have to try, if you don't try you have no chance to succeed.  I also like that fact that having someone up the road the peloton has to go fast to make the catch.  So back to Roy, this kid is aggressive, trying to get TV time for FDJ and some notoriety for himself, and just possibly a stage win.  How can you not love the spirit that these guys have, knowing that they have a 1% chance that killing themselves will end in victory.  99% chance that they will finish mid pack at best after getting caught with 5-10k to go.  That takes big brass ones.

TdF Stage 12

Mountains -Tourmalet

You got to love the mountains, and today was the first stage with the big ones.  This is when the favorites come out to play, the selection is made, and the marking starts.  Well, at least Frank and Andy put on a little show that I loved every second.  I have grown bored of the GC's sitting and marking each other, if I wanted to watch a staring contest I would go to the local elementary school.  I know these guys are probably so evenly matched that if you show your @ss, you are probably going to pay for it.

Not taking away from the Olympic Champ, but Frank's move was awesome, a worthy attack that was set up perfectly by his brother and multiple gauging attacks.  The ole one-two rope-a-dope set to perfection by the brothers Schleck.  I am impressed with Evans' ability, or is it form?  He looks comfortable and not like he is about to blow up at any second.  I think Cadel is playing the game and he is holding more cards than the other players, he's not going to show what he has and he sure as heck not going to play any right now.

Basso is not a name we have talked about much since his fall from grace.  I named my dog Basso if that gives you any indication of what I thought about him before his brush with the long arm of the UCI law.  Anyway, Basso is looking good, but, and it is a big but, he has no support in the mountains.  He is naked out there, and that is really not a good look on a bike.

Contador, man I love to throw stones at this guy, I know this makes me low class, guess that is the price I pay.  Ok, I will be positive.  He won the Giro, that's about all I got.  I can't figure out if he is done or if he is just playing possum right now?  As much as I don't like him he is talented, and Riis is super smart.  I'm not counting him out yet, there is a lot of racing left.  A lot.

TdF Stage 11

Boom rhymes with home, for real look it up.

Lars BOOM! Not like the noise a bomb makes, but like the sound of a perfectly executed attack.  Boom!!!  How cool would it have been for this CX rider to take a stage of le Tour?  I was yelling for him to stick it, but the peloton was just not going to let him go.  HTC had marching orders from Cav, who was edged out the day before by the German Gorilla.  Cav was looking for a little in your face, thanks for playing, but I am looking for some green, the W will be mine.

Greipel sat on Cav's wheel waited for him to go, launched and came up just a little short.  Once again, what would these finishes look like if Omega would provide a train for Andre?  I would love to see the fireworks that would consume the finish line if these two when head to head with equal lead outs.  Take a moment and think about it.  Nice, right?

Really, I want more competition in the sprints.  We have some incredible talent, but HTC is the only team that is remotely exploiting the team train concept.  How freaking strong is HTC?  Danny Pate was an excellent pick-up for HTC, this guy is a motor of punishment.  Lars Bak shares the work with Danny and they pretty much drive the whole peloton.  How the heck can these two GO day-in-day-out full gas?  Somebody check their passports, 'cause they are not human.  So impressive.  Lets not forget the "help" that Tejay, Peter, and Tony put in at the run into the finish.  Check it, these three are GC guys and they are -doing work.  Last but not least Cav has the best lead-out men in the business, men that are capable of winning stages on their own, but prefer to lay it down for their man.  Mark Renshaw and Matt Goss.  These two are two of the fastest men in professional cycling.  That's right I said it, why? Because it's true.

TdF Stage 10


The two former teammates once again get a chance to go head to head and this time the German Gorilla gets one on the Manx Missile.  I am a Cavendish fan, but Andre looks pretty strong.  Give that man a proper lead out train and we would have some interesting sprinting.  Omega Lotto has always hung their sprinters out in the wind to fend for themselves, just ask Robbie Mc... only if you have the time and don't mind a few expletives.

Is there really such a giant rivalry?  I'm sure Greipel is not a big fan of Cav, since he is the sole reason that this is Andre's first Tour de France.  Cav really has the upper hand when it comes to Tour wins, Greipel does have several W's to his credit, he is no slouch.  I'm not totally sure that Omega Lotto was the best choice for a sprinter looking for a sprint supportive team, plus they have Gilbert, who is not a sprinter per say but is their cash cow.  Oh, yeah he is from Belgium, The Gorilla is German.  What you gonna do?

I have to say that Johnny Hoogerland is awesome, just try and dispute that.   If your name is Michael Smith and you work for ESPN you should do the world a favor and keep your ignorance a secret.  Stick to the teleprompter and only read what others have told you, please for the love of all things holy do not ever let people know what you are really thinking...Because Sir you are an unbelievably incredible ignoramus. Sorry did not mean to leave out Juan Antonio Flecha, because you are awesome also.