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Tour de France

deeessdeeess Posts: 150
Anyone following it? Seems not much interest on this board. Anyone think Contador has got the edge on Armstrong?

Bradley Wiggins is having a stunner!


  • gunforhiregunforhire Posts: 457
    Keep missing it.
    Have yet to see a TT stage!
    Finally remembered to set a series link for ITV4 last night.
  • hussler.hussler. Posts: 390
    Na I reckon Lance is playing a very good game here, he is letting Contador think he is the man and come the last few stages Lance will put the hammer down and beat him to win his 8th tour.
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Loving it!

    Great coverage on ITV4 - assuming I can get a hotel with ITV4.
    Cleanest tour in years (well, feels clean so far!) [Armstrong seems to get tested 3 times a day]

    Lots of "home" interest - Wiggins, Cavendish et al.

    The fascinating Lance Armstrong story, battle with Contador.

    A really great tactical race so far - like the fact that all the dramatic stuff (Alps) will be in the last week, so everything is really finally balanced - tightest GC for ages, with, clearly:D the eventual not in the Yellow Jersey yet.

    Now I am cycling again, I feel a lot closer to it too!

    As it's not Triathlon related, I didn't want to post about it.
  • SwizzlenapSwizzlenap Posts: 160
    I'm watching it for the first time again in about 15 years! Really enjoying it, but as I'm Sky+ ing it I'm playing a bit of catch up at the moment. I'm a bit surprised that the Columbia team seem to have tailed off a bit, but they did seem to be doing a lot of work in the first few stages.

    You can't help but get the feeling the Lance has got something up his sleeve, especially with that talk of "oh there's always been a number of possible team leaders". I guess the mountain stages will show if he's at peak fitness.

    Two things I'm enjoying too are Stephen Roche and Sean Kelly being on Eurosport, that really takes me back I was the same about not wanting to post as it's not Triathlon.

    Oh, and the GF's look of horror when I explained that it was three weeks long was classic, especially as I'm watching the full live coverage at night.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Reckon Brunheal at Astana has created a two headed sword with Contador and Armstrong,it could work for the team or blow up in their faces.The other teams now have to mark two cyclists and as the start to tire then one is going to go out on a break.Astana's tactics are very good,and they should work if the team stays gelled together and produce a high GC finish for a number of the riders.Bradley Wiggens,if he produces a good TT and stays in contact with the leaders in the Alps may produce a very high GC place,the killer will be the penultimate stage from Montelimar to Mont Ventoux,as the last stage is just a procession to Paris.It is stage 20 when it will happen if the leaders are still close.Just waiting for the drugs scandals to start to appear!
  • willtriwilltri Posts: 436
    Na I reckon Lance is playing a very good game here, he is letting Contador think he is the man and come the last few stages Lance will put the hammer down and beat him to win his 8th tour.
    That would be pretty amazing!!
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Lance winning the Tour again,wake me up when it's over then.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    I have been facinated by it this year, i haven't watched for a few years previously but i am really enjoying it again - probably due to the fact that I am cycling a lot more now. I enjoyed watching the breakaways get to the end and fight for the stage win themselves over the last few days. it's good to see attacks paying off and i find it amazing that they average speeds of about 40k over a stage including mountains. well, i can average 40k on a flat/downhill but normally only ave about 23k and that doesn't include any bloody mountains i can tell you! I can't wait for the next TT, the last one was great to watch

    And you're right watching the Lance/Contador battle is really interesting too, I am half expecting it to blow up
  • Being reasonably new to this triathlon and cycling malarkey I have never really followed the tour before but what with all the time I now spend on the bike I have been fascinated. Unfortunately I am mostly confined to ITVplayer which is rubbish but better than nothing!

    Can someone please have a pop at explaining the Contador/lance battle? Obviously having watched a fair bit of the coverage I know the gist, but I'm fascinated by the tactics of whether one or other of them is going to make a move.

    Surely someone has to make a big impact sooner rather than later? I worry that if they keep playing a waiting game then the Astana team won't know who to follow leading to either a split team, or them just not doing anything.

    I reckon contador would probably have more support amongst the Astana team, although a of people seem to think the reverse... is it possible to win the tour without the help of a good team?

    Some clarification would definitely be appreciated!
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    I will try to keep it simple,but cycling particularly Le Tour isn't.
    The Astana team is managed by lance Armstrongs Director Sortif,Johan Brunheal, from his previous tour wins.Prior to Armstrong announcing his comeback Contador was the Team leader,as he was the best rider most likely to provide a team victory.The only Team that was eligible for the tour that Armstrong could get in was Astana,and even that was done by a little jiggery pockery(are you still with me..ok).Armstrong comesback and now Astana has two riders capable of pulling off a Tour victory,the other riders on the team which is made up of good sprinters,climbers,TT specialists,and Domestiques(these are the goffers who do all the pack work such as going backwards and forwards between team cars to fetch fluid,nutriton etc),they will go all out to chase down breakaways and pull team leaders who have dropped back due accident and incident back to the front to keep them in contention,even to the point where they will expend so much energy they will fall back and get pushed out of the Peleoton(the pack)as they cannot keep up.
    As Armstrong and Contador are within seconds of each other they will be marked by the other teams incase they make a break,but they could fake a break by launching one rider,creating a chase and the other just tagging along drafting behind the chasers and saving energy to make that crucial breakaway themselves.The tactics that are used can be mind blowing/numbing given the possible variables that each stage creates beit flat,mountainous etc.
    Now to really throw a spanner in the works the old team leader of astana,one Alexander Vinoukourev,who was DQ'd due to drug violations 2 years ago has announced that he will start racing when the ban is lifted and take over the team again.
    If still confused,watch the scenery,and wait for the crashes on the fast descents.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Sorry I didn't quite answer the question.In my view the team will have to decide who to support,the Tour is 3 weeks long and without team support the leader will be totally screwed.
  • thebouythebouy Posts: 61
    I've been really getting into the Tour this year, as I'm layed up having just had knee surgery. It's brilliant seeing the different tactics, with some breakaways working, and others (David Millar unfortunately) failing.
    Loving the scenary too, the whole thing makes me just want to get on my bike and go for it!
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Contador/Armstrong battle: I doubt if anyone knows the tactics, in particular the Astana team!

    I wouldn't want to be in their position - e.g. do you support Armstrong and annoy Contador - given that Armstrong will probably retire again. Or the other way round - given that the team boss is an Armstrong fan. Very tricky.

    Contador sort of made a move - making up for the time trial deficit. Which could have backfired. But didn't.

    Cunningly, the yellow is now being worn by someone else, so Astana will probably keep a low profile - letting Nocentini's team do all the hard work, until the third week and the Alps. i.e. a fairly dull week with not much change at the top.

    I think stage 17 and 18 will be interesting. It may be that the team will just wait to see what happens in the time trial - if Armstrong can put some time between him and Contador. However, 17 is hilly, so Contador may look to do something special ahead of the TT.

    Then, of course, there are the other teams too!

    But it is really thrilling - don't know if there has been anything like it before.

  • Awesome! Thank you Jon, Jack! That helps alot... really fascinating! I have to admit I am probably rooting for Lance over Contador but I'm also keeping my fingers crossed for wiggins who seems to be having a stormer!

    I've spent the last couple of months exclusively on my TT bike getting ready for IMUK, but I have to say that the tour has made me look at my old winter road bike in a completely different light! I think I feel myself joining a road cycling club next year to have a crack at some of this tactical stuff - great fun! (plus I like the idea of being able to just sit the middle of a big group of riders and have a quick rest!!)
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 335
    plus I like the idea of being able to just sit the middle of a big group of riders and have a quick rest!!)
    showing my totally noviceness at this bike lark just how does that work? Does the drafting really make that much difference? And no don't tell me to try it the chaces of me fast enough to draft off anyone are very, very slim
  • deeessdeeess Posts: 150
    It was interesting that Contador waited until 3km to make the attack the other day - he couldn't inflict that much damage on Armstrong. LA has started hinting at a 2010 tour as well - might make the domestiques think twice about who to back.

    Was great seeing Millar going for it - heartbreaking when he got reeled in with 1km left.

    Will be interesting to see how Cav gets on as well. You'd think he has enough if he gets all the way to Paris.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Moonshine: Drafting really does work,ideally you need to be within about 7 metres to get some benefit.When you watch the tour towards the final stages of the stage,the front riders are trying to get as aero as possible to push the speed upto 55kph,whereas the middle packers are sitting upright and just appear to be coasting.Try it with another rider,it takes a skill to ride in a group,if someone makes a mistake then it's gravel rash alround.Two riders drafting,the front rider is pushing 22mph,the second that is drafting is probably putting in the amount of effort to sustain 15mph,so they are getting just over 25% increase in speed for no effort.Give it a try.
  • No idea where I read it but I think I heard the energy saving is as high as 30% when drafting!
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    @moonshine: If you can, watch the stage (if it's still available on ITV's website) where David Millar had the lone break away. He is a pretty damn good time trialler... and it's a great example of the power of the peloton, and drafting. In the closing stages you can really see how it works: On the wide roads a really good echelon can form - with everyone in the slipstream, and out of the cross wind, of the others. You can see the guy at the front going flat out for 30 seconds or a minute, then dropping back exhausted. While the ones behind are coasting along.. until their turn at the front.

    It's when you see an example like that, that you realise how important slipstreaming/drafting is. It was really pitiful, yet compelling, how doomed Millar was - watching him get reeled in. If the roads had been narrow and twisty, then he probably would have held on. He was out in front for 50 odd miles, then got caught with only a mile to go.
  • Jelly legsJelly legs Posts: 278
    thata the best one so far, with 5 km to go team htc on fire

    Maybe i should rethink cav only winning 4 stages and not making paris.
  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    Cav is a machine! A scary wonderful machine that makes me feel bad for the bike getting the kind of beating he can put out...
  • deeessdeeess Posts: 150
    winning in Paris is his only other target this year
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Due to finish on Sunday.
    Will Armstrong stay loyal to Contador on the penultimate stage,or do the 'dirty' and go all out for the win???
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595
    I can't decide from watching him pedal and from the interviews whether he has been holding something back, but I can't see why he would. Have to keep reminding myself that while we're obsessing about whether or not he can win, he's 4th in the CG at the age of 37, which is no mean feat!!

    From a non-expert point of view, I imagine that if he thinks he can claw back the three minutes or however much he's going to need on Ventoux, after today's TT, then he'll give it everything to do so.
    But is three minutes over Contador realistic on a climb like that?

    If there's no prospect of a win, then he might just swallow back his ego and work for Contador. He still rides the Champs Elysées with a yellow number, if not the yellow jersey.
  • deeessdeeess Posts: 150
    in a word...no

    contador is in a class of his own. can climb and time trial. deserved winner.

    the question in my mind is can Armstrong or Wiggins overhaul Schleck and fend off Kloden - by no means guaranteed based on performances to date

    fantastic tour for wiggins though
  • willieverfinishwillieverfinish Posts: 1,381
    Just watched stage 18 on ITV4.

    I seriously think Armstrong will win the tour again... wiggins is bloody good isn't he!!!! 4th overall now

    Contador is stunning - he won this stage by 2 seconds, Lance was over a minute of the pace but I think he'll win. For the 1st time ever it's exciting.

    Lance is sitting in 3rd........ will he ,won't he.....
  • GHarvGHarv Posts: 456
    Fraid not.

    Barring and accident Contadors got it sewn up Lance is racing for 3rd.

    Think he's probably had a shock as to how good Contador and Schleck are.

    Next year will be intersting, Lance will have the best team around him for sure.

  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    The schleck bros could rain on Armstrongs parade,chances are they may both attack early on as the climb starts on Ventoux,Contador has to go with them,if Armstrong doesn't go with them he will lose his podium place,if Wiggins wants a chance of a podium he must cover the breaks,will Armstrong cover the breaks or hope to get pulled back by Wiggins.
    Closest Tour for ages,bit of a similar style between Contador and Big Mig.
  • huwdhuwd Posts: 228
    For me this has been the most exciting tour for years - really enjoying wiggins mixing it up with the big guns and seeing contador fly!
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    Again I'm loving the tour, Contador is amazing - was he always this good with TT or has he improved over recent years because all the commentary i have seen was about Wiggins and Lance being great TT'er but nothing about contador other than one mention that his smaller frame made it easier for him...

    he really has ridden a great tour and it seemed early on that he didn't have the full support for the team with lance being there too so i think its even more impressive. Those schleks are good on the hills too.

    I'd like to see Wiggo on the podium but i can't see it happening, i think he is starting to fade a bit - next year however...
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