Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tour de France Over

COL D'AGNES, FRANCE - JULY 11:  11:  Lance Arm...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Well the Tour de France is over. Contador took the yellow. Schleck was 2nd and Armstrong was 3rd. I feel pretty good about my predictions. All three of them were in my top five, and in that order. The two I messed up on were Cadel Evans, who (as my business partner Will is fond of saying) asploded, and Levi who had to abandon the Tour because of a broken wrist. I feel really bad about Levi, first off I think he deserves to be a team leader on his own team, not riding support for someone else. Secondly he hasn't had a lot of luck in the Tour and to have to leave it prematurely again is a real tragedy.

There were lots of controversies in this year's tour. First was the whole dust-up about Contador dropping Klöden on the Col de la Colombière. The recriminations came because there was this idea that Astana might be able to sweep the podium, and by dropping Klöden, Contador made that impossible. Well Bruyneel has been publicly saying that whoever is the strongest would be the team leader. So Contador has that on his plate, and then people expect him, additionally to get two of his team-mates on the podium as well?

Also let's say that all the time Klöden lost on the Colombière went away, well then, yeah, he is on the podium, but he knocks Armstrong off, so you still don't have three Astana on the podium... So while I think the majority felt that the attack was a mistake, in the final analysis, it either didn't matter or was exactly the sort of thing Contador needed to do to win.

One of the other big dust-ups was Cavendish made the claim that the only way Thor could win the Green Jersey competition was by complaining about Cavendish and getting him relegated. So Thor goes on a big attack and manages to take two intermediate sprints to put Cavendish in his place. Cavendish ends up apologizing and basically says that Thor deserves the green jersey. Well guess what, when the smoke finally cleared, he was right. Thor won the green by fewer points than Cavendish lost from the relegation. Another case where the convention wisdom says one thing and in retrospect they were wrong, but no one bothers to point it out...

Overall the Tour could have been better. One problem is that rather than enhancing the drama the Armstrong vs. Contador battle just annoyed me. Also Ventoux was kind of anti-climatic, and not much really happened in the first two weeks. 2010 though, is shaping up to be very exciting. For one thing, I'd much rather see an Armstrong vs. Contador battle with them on different teams then with them on the same team.

2009: First Japanese riders to reach Paris


Blogger Fr. Dismas said...

Well, the bickering would make for an interesting "re-match," although I think Armstrong's chances of winning it all would be even slimmer next time.

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Ed said...

Saw this in an unrelated column (it was "10 Sporting Events to See in Person Before You Die").

"5. Tour de France -- Like trying to get to 20 Super Bowls in 23 days, but worth it. Pick a climbing stage, bring friends and a bike, ride the course in the morning before the race (you're allowed), have lunch in a hamlet atop some exquisite Alp, watch the heart-skipping finish, have a bottle of Bordeaux, spend the night, bike down in the morning. Rinse and repeat."

Leaving the Bordeaux aside, you ever thought of doing something like that? Cool they let you ride it before it opens.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Ross said...

Indeed. I've thought about it a lot. Definitely on my "Life List".

10:27 PM  
Blogger Lollipop said...

Are you going to blog again or are you giving it up?

10:54 AM  

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