Monday, 20 July 2009

Rest Day Two
20 July 2009

My heart and soul are not longer in this blog, although of course I will follow the race. I have to stop anyway when we leave for the Ventoux stage on Thursday. So I won't say anything about the time trial,the next stage and Ventoux. Maybe a little reflection when I get back. I never did buy that laptop that would allow me to work when I travel. Probably a good thing. There are going to be billions on Ventoux. I know three people personally and three more from my bike forums that are going. I am definitely going to record it and watch when I manage to get back to where I am staying.

So many things seem settled. But there is a very hard week ahead, and even without something bad happening to someone(s), there is a fair bit of racing ahead. So I am looking forward to the last week, especially the scenery. Some dramatic mountains, a nice ride through the Ardeche which should knock your socks off if you don't know it, and of course the climb to Mt Ventoux. I am still quite curious about a number of things.

Can Armstrong stay in the top ten? Will he actually help Alberto at some point?
Can Schleck escape, on stage 17 for example?
Will Wiggins keep up his special and unexpected performance?
What, in the end, will Klöden do?
How will the results of the ITT affect what happens on Ventoux?
Will Cav win on the champs?
Whatever is going to happen on Stage 16, which consists of two big hills, nothing else, and a longish downhill finish?
Will Moncoutié wakeup?
Who will win the mountains jersey?
Will there be the most people in history on Ventoux?
Will someone in the millions yet to see the tour do something really stupid? The death of the woman spectator was a reminder, if the gunshots at Freire and Dean were not enough.

What has more or less been settled is:
Contador should win.
Hushovd should win the green jersey.
Schleck should win the white jersey.
Astana is the strongest team in the race by far, even if they don't win the team prize.
Contador and Armstrong will not be on the same team next year.
There are a number of fine young riders ready to make Tour history.

Lightning, have to disconnect. Another blog cut short.

Two big hills tomorrow.

Carlos Sastre from the site. “Furthermore, while he said he's content with how he's ridden so far – he's currently 11th on the overall classification, 3:52 behind Contador – and happy with his team, the 2009 Tour de France has been lacklustre and uninspiring for him. So much so, that as he grows older, Sastre says he continues to understand less about racing today than before.
"The race has been like it is since the beginning. It still is the same fight – the rest of the riders are out [of contention to win]. It's a boring race, from outside and inside," he said.
Prodded what he means by "boring", Sastre replied: "What is boring? There's no attacks, no tactics, nothing… Just a strong team, one rider – one of the best in the world – will win the race, that's all.
"When you see the tactics on television, I don't know if you like that. Yesterday [Stage 15], it was one rider [Contador] in front, two teammates pulling behind [Klöden and Armstrong]; another rider from another team attacking [Andy Schleck], the other rider of the same team [Fränk Schleck] attacking behind him. I don't understand anything about cycling. This is my twenty-first Grand Tour, but every year I understand less about cycling.
"Maybe this is the Tour de France they [the organisers] want, and this is what you have now."”