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Garden Kitty
06-28-2010, 02:17 AM
OK, so I'm a week early and with the WC and Wimbledon there is plenty of other sports action to attract your attention. But the articles and pictures will start this week and I thought it would be helpful to have a place to collect them. I also thought it might be helpful to do a bit of a preview to highlight the key riders, stages and useful links.

So sit back, enjoy the scenery while we start our three week Tour:

Yellow Jersey Contenders:

1. Alberto Contador (http://image3.examiner.com/images/blog/wysiwyg/image/Alberto_Contador.jpg) – four time Grand Tour winner and 2 time TdF winner has to be the favorite for this year, even with claims that he’s had a bad flu shortly before the race. He’s been in good form at the start of the season, winning his second Paris-Nice. There were a lot of transfer rumors about Bert last season, but he remains with Astana even as the team changed around him. Former Astana DS Johan Bruyneel left with Lance and a lot of the Astana riders and staff for newly formed Team Radio Shack. But the Astana team is still strong and all the more entertaining with the return of Alexander Vinokourov (http://www.as.com/recorte/20090804dasdascic_4/XLCO/Ies/Alexander_Vinokourov.jpg). All the news reports indicate that Bert is the uncontested leader, but can Vino resist an urge to attack! Team support also includes prior TdF winner Oscar Pereiro.

2. Andy Schleck (http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Tour+de+France+2009+Stage+Sixteen+ZF_NQyz-_-Ql.jpg) – If I'd written this preview yesterday, I'd have talked about how one of Andy's biggest assets is being part of a motivated, united team and having Tour de Suisse winner (and big brother Frank) as only one part of the team support that also includes Fabian "Spartacus" Cancellara and Jens! Voigt. But today the news broke that one of the team's Director Sportifs was released from his contract because he's starting a new "Luxembourg based" team in 2011, and that Andy and Frank will be leading the team. This certainly hurts any chance Saxo Bank's owner has of getting a new sponsor and continuing the team, so look for all the other teams to start chatting up the Saxo Bank riders, and possibly some weird alliances on the road as Sky courts Fabian.

3. Brad Wiggins (http://blogs.liverpoolecho.co.uk/acyclistslife/BradleyWiggins.jpg) – Brad started last year’s TdF slimmed down and as support for Garmin teammate VandeVelde. But he defied expectations and finished just off the podium. During the off season, he joined newly formed Team Sky amidst claims of bully tactics by Sky to force Garmin to let him out of his contract. Even as a new team, Sky has a bit of a reputation as one of the “big money” teams and there are a lot of expectations for Wiggins this year. Garmin DS Vaughters continues to publicly say only nice things about Wiggins, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are hard feelings. David Millar hasn’t been as similarly restrained in his comments about Wiggins.

4. Lance Armstrong (http://cdn.buzznet.com/media/jj1//2008/12/lance-health/lance-armstrong-mens-health-cover-01.jpg) – Lance finished third last year riding with his winning teammate, Contador. But there is clearly no love lost between these two and the dynamics should be interesting. However, at 38 and battling new drug allegations made by former teammate Floyd Landis, Lance doesn’t seem to have his prior form, although he finished a surprising second at the TdF warmup Tour of Switzerland. Radio Shack also has a strong, although somewhat aging team. Teammate Jani Brajkovic has worn the leader’s jersey at the Vuelta and recently won the Criterium du Dauphine, so he could be a big help, or surprise winner, on some big stages.

5. Cadel Evans (http://www.cyclingfans.net/images/2009_uci_road_world_championships_cadel_evans_aust ralia_world_champion_gold2.jpg) – finished a dismal 30th at the TdF last year with little support from his team, Davitamon-Lotto. A third place finish at the Vuelta redeemed his season a bit, but the strain with his team was palpable even though he consistently complimented them for their help. Just when the season seemed to be a total loss, Cadel got the “really big win” he’d been missing by winning the World Championships. The rainbow jersey seems to have given him renewed confidence and he’s seemed much more aggressive in his riding style this year. He finished 5th at the Giro d’Italia but his stage win on one of the hardest, muddiest stages and his general “never say die” attitude won him a lot of fans (plus the points jersey). He’s riding with Team BMC this year, another team that seems unable to give him much support (although he’ll have Hincapie and Ballan riding support and they were both missing at the Giro). He also seems much happier at Team BMC where the management seems more supportive of him (and thankful because they know he’s their ticket to the TdF.)

6. Ivan Basso (http://www.bikenews.it/2006/GIRO/TAPPE/21/Ivan%20Basso%20bacia%20la%20coppa%20del%20giro%202 006.jpg)– Basso was last seen at the TdF leaving in disgrace after being kicked out for his role in Operation Puerto. He’s served his two year suspension and avoided the TdF last year, although he had solid “near podium” finishes at a number of big races in 2009. His 2010 campaign got off to a great start with a triumphant win at the Giro d’Italia. He leads Liquigas at the TdF, but how much did that silly-hard Giro take out of him? Liquigas gives him solid support with Kreuziger and this year’s revelation, Peter Sagan (he’s riding the Tour, isn’t he?)

7. Carlos Sastre (http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/imageBank/c/Carlos%20Sastre%2010.jpg) – Sastre won the Tour with Team CSC (now Saxo Bank) in 2008 and promptly left for the then newly formed Cervelo Test Team. Last year he finished a dismal 16th at the Tour and never was in the mix. He had a relatively weak 8th place finish at the Giro d’Italia this season, and there was some question if he’d start the Tour. But he’s leading Cervelo once again, although his form is a big question mark.

Garden Kitty
06-28-2010, 02:25 AM
Green Jersey contenders

Sure, most of the attention goes to the yellow jersey contenders, but it’s hard to beat the greeny jersey contenders for emotion, excitement and polemica! As you may recall, HTC’s Mark Cavendish dominated the sprints last year winning 5 stages, yet he failed to win the green jersey which also rewards consistency. Mark got relegated to last place for some aggressive sprinting (he naturally contested the call) on one stage, and those points may have cost him the jersey. He gave his usual blunt interview angrily suggesting that the relegation wasn’t fair and was a bad way to decide a jersey and appearing to question the legitimacy of Thor Hushovd’s obtaining the jersey that way. Thor responded the way he usually does, on his bike and without words, and went on a long solo breakaway on the following, hilly stage, scoring intermediate sprint points that gave him the jersey even without the relegation. Mark graciously complimented Thor on a ride that showed such heart, and commended him as a worthy winner. So who are our contenders this year?

1. Cavendish (http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01249/mark_cavendish_1249017c.jpg) has not been shy about admitting the green jersey is a major goal this season, but his season has gotten off to a very rocky start. Dental surgery delayed his season for some time, and he hasn’t really found his form. He was peeved the team sent him to the Tour of California instead of the Giro, and his early season press was about a fight with a teammate. The always quotable Cav responded to Greipel’s criticism by saying that Greipel gets “sh** results in sh** races” and insisting the two would never race at the same race again. Cav seemed to be finding his way at the Tour of Switzerland, until he was involved in a crash at a sprint finish, that took down a lot of contenders (http://estaticos01.marca.com/albumes/2010/06/15/vuelta_suiza/1276624581_extras_albumes_0.jpg). Cav was penalized by the race organizers who found him at fault, and the riders protested the next day as a sign of their displeasure with Cav and his possibly spitting at the riders. Will Cav finally find his form at the TdF? The famed HTC lead out train is still impressive, but Cav is quick to note how much he misses George Hinacapie who transferred to Team BMC. Cav seemed to have a lot of respect for George, and I suspect George helped keep him in line a bit.

2. Thor Hushovd (http://www.roadcycling.com/artman2/uploads/1/thor_hushovd_green_jersey_paris_2.jpg)won the green jersey this year and is generally considered a quiet giant who avoids a lot of controversy. However, he also had a rough start to his season when he broke his collarbone when he collided with a young girl while he was out training. His training was disrupted, but never count Thor out as he is generally very consistent.

3. Tyler Farrar (http://image3.examiner.com/images/blog/wysiwyg/image/farrar(2).jpg) - US rider Tyler Farrar rides with Team Garmin and always seemed to be just a few seconds off on his timing at the tour last year. However, Farrar has gotten some stage wins at the Vuelta and the Giro in the interim and may be maturing nicely as a sprinter at the right time.

4. Missing from action are Tom Boonen (http://rushracing.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/tornado-tom2.jpg)( :( ) with a knee injury and Heinrich Haussler (http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01363/Heinrich_Haussler_1363359c.jpg) who reinjured his knee in the horrific crash with Cav at the Tour of Switzerland.

Key Stages:

Stage 3: Wanze to Arenberg – Cobbles Baby! A little part of Paris-Roubaix at the Tour de France

Stage 8: Station des Rousses to Avoriz – the first big mountain stage and right before a rest day. Some riders may be saving themselves for the ending weeks, but this could kick one of the yellow jersey contenders out of contention.

Stage 14: Revel to Ax-3-Domaines – another big mountain stage with an HC climb, long descent, and another hefty climb. The start of the last big mountain stages.

Stage 17: Pau to Col du Tourmalet – The Queen Stage! A quick warm up on Mount Blanc before hitting the Tourmalet with a 7.5% gradient for 18.6 km

Stag 19: Bordeaux – a 53 km relatively flat ITT. Many people find ITT’s boring to watch, but this stage will likely have an impact on the podium.

Stage 20: Longjumeau- Paris – 101km of ceremony, picture taking and champagne, followed by a deadly serious sprint in Paris. The prestige stage for the sprinters who managed to make it over the mountains. I’d say the podium backdrop is hard to beat, but those darn troublemakers at the Giro ended their race in an ancient coliseum with marble benches. (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/ap/20100530/capt.57463b727ceb432a98a3ab08a51a8028-57463b727ceb432a98a3ab08a51a8028-0.jpg?x=400&y=200&q=85&sig=oNBear5R4Y9D0i20yuQtAg--)

Garden Kitty
06-28-2010, 02:33 AM
Useful Links:

Cyclingfans (http://www.cyclingfans.com/) - best place for live internet coverage links

Steephill: (http://www.steephill.tv/) the site can be a little cluttered and hard to navigate, but another great site for coverage links and stage profiles

Cyclingnews: (http://www.cyclingnews.com/) more stage profiles, results and a live ticker

PezCycling (http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/) - usually "on the scene" reports and descriptions of the locations with a bit of an edge.

Twitter links for all things cycling (http://twittercycling.tumblr.com/)

Le Tour official site (http://www.letour.fr/indexus.html)

Ok, so is everyone ready to head to, errr, Rotterdam? (http://www.tourdefrancerotterdam.nl/wp-content/themes/tour-de-france/english.php)

06-28-2010, 07:12 AM
Major hot points lost with no Boonen. Speaking of Boonen I watched Ghent-Welvegem 2002 the other day. Featuring an interview with Neo Pro Tom. He was 21 and it was his first classics season racing for Discovery. It was the cutest thing ever, chubby cheeks and excited about his first season of "real" racing as a pro. Aw... :swoon: He will be missed :(

Heinrich is out? I thought he was in! :wuzrobbed

:cheer2: Tyler!!! :cheer:Tyler!!! :cheer2:

I loves me some sprinters :)

another useful link Velonews (http://velonews.competitor.com/)

06-28-2010, 07:28 AM
Also, since GK talked about the sprinters I would like to give honerable mention to two of Cav's lead out men. Both of these guys are talented enough to be the lead sprinter on smaller teams. Cav would be the first to admit he depends on them to win (they are also both really hot and I want to post gratuitous pictures, I have no shame but at least I am honest.)

Bernhard (http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/photos/races09/tdf09/tdf09st01gc-eisel465.jpg) Eisel (http://www.roadcycling.com/artman2/uploads/1/eisel_wins.jpg)

Mark (http://cdn.media.cyclingnews.com/2009/08/06/1/mark_renshaw_600.jpg) Renshaw (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f7/Mark_Renshaw_2.jpg)

yes, each one gets two links ;)

06-28-2010, 10:16 AM
pff I live so close (well relatively...like 2hrs away) but I'm afraid I am at work...but maybe I can arrange something for the afternoon... I'd love to go to Rotterdam and see something

ETA: it starts at 4! there is hope :P

Garden Kitty
06-28-2010, 03:03 PM
A few other miscellaneous side notes:

Others to watch:

Brent Bookwalter: BMC's young American rider is riding his first TdF, and second Grand Tour. He made a bit of an impression in his first Grand Tour earlier this year with a second place finish in the first time trial. Plus he's funny and his tweets and blogs are worth checking out.

Liquigas hasn't named its team yet, but I can hope it includes the lovely, but easily injured sprinter, Daniele Bennati (http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/imageBank/c/CAVENDISH-BENNATI1.jpg). I don't expect him to contend for green, but he would help make up for the loss of Boonen in the hotitude ranks.

Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara isn't going to contend for yellow, but he's likely to spend some time in the yellow jersey. He's favored to win the opening prologue and may be able to defend it for a few days. Even if he doesn't, it's always good to post this pic. (http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i16/CyclingPictures/CancellaraOlympicTT08.jpg)

The always quotable Jens! Voigt (http://farm1.static.flickr.com/63/195610532_a003ec4cec.jpg) left the race last year after a terrifying crash. Jens is one of the most liked guys in the peloton, and a lot of people wondered if he'd be back this year given the injuries and the fact he's probably close to retirement. Some riders never recover mentally from a crash like that, but Jens is back and his spirit once again seems indomitable.

Just noticed that 2006 TdF winner Oscar Pereiro didn't even make the Astana team. Bert can give all the interviews he wants about how Radio Shack is stronger overall than Astana, but leaving Pereiro off the team suggests Bert is very happy with his support team.

I hope you get to make it to Rottedam, deedee. It should be fun. :cheer:

ETA: Liqui announced their team and no Benna :(

Garden Kitty
06-29-2010, 04:17 PM
Pereiro disappointed to be left off Astana's TdF squad (http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/4704/Tour-de-France-Pereiro-disappointed-with-non-selection-will-retire-this-season.aspx?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+velonation_pro_cycling+%28Cyc ling+News+%26+Race+Results+%7C+VeloNation.com%29) and says this is likely his last year as a pro cyclist.

Profile of British riders at the TdF (http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/474713/brits-at-the-tour-de-france-2010.html)

06-29-2010, 10:14 PM
Provisional Start List – 2010 Tour de France (http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/06/news/provisional-start-list-2010-tour-de-france_123741)

No Heinrich Haussler :wuzrobbed

06-30-2010, 12:08 AM
Does anyone have any advice on where I can get information on going to the last day of the tour in Paris?

06-30-2010, 12:21 AM
Do you want to see the finish on the Champs-Élysées? I know people who've gone in the past, they said you need to get there hours and hours and hours beforehand (if not the day before) to get a good spot to watch.

To get a good spot for Tour of California (near KOM or finish) I had to show up hours in advance. I can't even imagine what the TdF crowds are like . I don't know of any websites but I will ask around for you.


There's a map of the stage, I would imagine the last stretch thruy Paris along the Seine is going to be packed for hours before the peloton rolls thru.

Garden Kitty
06-30-2010, 01:27 AM
Does anyone have any advice on where I can get information on going to the last day of the tour in Paris?

I'd recommend posting a question at a cycling forum like Podium Cafe (http://www.podiumcafe.com/). The site seems confusing at first, but it's really very simple. You'd just register and then start a "fan post" with your question (over in the column on the right hand side of the site).

A number of the cycling forums are sort of intimidating, but these people are generally very nice and helpful. Plus they're from all around the world, and there are a lot of people who've been to the race many times and would likely have good advice.

Patoche always used to go, but she hasn't posted here in ages. She'd lways go to the Champs because not only do the riders do that loop multiple times at the end of the race, but after the race the teams take their victory lap and there's usually a lot of happy, silly riders posing for pics and enjoying themselves.

Garden Kitty
06-30-2010, 04:19 PM
Pre TdF article about Bradley Wiggins, (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/health/article-23850955-when-every-gram-of-muscle-counts.do) whose "game weight" is 73 kilos (about 161 pounds) for a 6 foot 3 frame. and 4% body fat There go any illusions I had about winning the polka dot jersey at the Tour :lol:

Edited to add some pictures:

Recon on the cobbles of stage 3 (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/rids/20100630/i/r3090702916.jpg)

It was practically a full stage out there, with a number of teams doing recon on the cobbles today. (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/rids/20100630/i/r2120889308.jpg)

Rotterdam dresses for the Grande Depart (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/sp/getty/eb/fullj.c633a5f92b84734204cf1b6b9a4a7ca7/c633a5f92b84734204cf1b6b9a4a7ca7-getty-topshots-cycling-fra-tdf-2010-feature.jpg)

However, the truly fashionable pin little yellow jersies to their hats! (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/sp/getty/94/fullj.c198f8205a8ab14dca05ea22e73d5f9f/c198f8205a8ab14dca05ea22e73d5f9f-getty-cycling-fra-tdf-2010-rotterdam.jpg)

Only 3,641KM to Paris! (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/sp/getty/a4/fullj.a305f59ccc10f6f46225a476740f999b/a305f59ccc10f6f46225a476740f999b-getty-cycling-fra-tdf-2010-feature.jpg)

Garden Kitty
07-01-2010, 05:39 PM
BMC waits to go up for the presentation (http://tweetphoto.com/30169976)- what did people do before iphones and blackberrys?

signs of the TdF are everywhere (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/sp/getty/86/fullj.f0ae716b4c1fab2a91f0d61a41b91fde/f0ae716b4c1fab2a91f0d61a41b91fde-getty-cycling-fra-tdf-2010-team-presentation-feature.jpg)

Frank looks hungry (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/sp/getty/5a/fullj.2586b407d34ef9976fc6b70bd715263a/2586b407d34ef9976fc6b70bd715263a-getty-cycling-fra-tdf-2010-training-schleck.jpg)

Frank seems to be missing his bike (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/sp/getty/4f/fullj.7be48673400732eca40d6ae6653790a8/7be48673400732eca40d6ae6653790a8-getty-cycling-fra-tdf-2010-training-schleck.jpg)

Vino's here (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/sp/getty/98/fullj.693fdf769d8a1a63e3a29ce69a99dda4/693fdf769d8a1a63e3a29ce69a99dda4-getty-cycling-fra-tdf-2010-training-vinokourov.jpg)

Bert strikes a pensive pose (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/sp/getty/a8/fullj.a7c0d9942d3bc9ebdaabcf5ca487c87b/a7c0d9942d3bc9ebdaabcf5ca487c87b-getty-cycling-fra-tdf-2010-training-contador.jpg)

Edited to Add: Tour de Schmalz preview (http://nyvelocity.com/content/features/2010/tour-de-schmalz-preview-2010) - a very funny take on the race (there are daily reports), with guest commentator cyclist Michael Creed for the first three stages. If you read Creed's tweets, you'll be looking forward to his Tour de Schmalz writing. :cheer:

07-03-2010, 09:03 PM
Fabian!!!! :cheer::grope::swoon: Not that it's a big surprise.

Also, good for Lance. His time trialling was pretty poor last Tour; it looks like he's had better preparation this year.