Stage 7 – The first mountain stage of three mountain stages in the Pyrenees Mountains. For today’s stage there are five major mountains. The Cote de Monteserrat that is a category 4 climb, then the Port de Solsona that is a category 3 climb, then Col de Serra-Seca that is a category 1 climb (4.8 miles with a grade of 7.1 %), then Port del Comte that is a category 3 climb and lastly, the Andorre Arcalis that is a beyond category HC climb. (6.6 miles with a grade of 7.1%). In addition to the Andorre Arcalis being an HC category climb the Andorre Arcalis is the 3rd highest climb ever in Tour de France history.
Does this matter you wonder? Of course. Every commentator and the world pulled stats and facts and whatnot and the conclusion that was deduced was that everyone agreed to was that the overall GC winner of the first mountain stage in the Tour de France in the past 10 years or so won the overall Tour de France in Paris. Stats don’t lie.
Today is the longest stage in the Tour de France, so far, at 139 miles.
At the beginning of the stage 7 there are 177 riders that have started the Tour de France. The three riders that have not started are all out of the Tour de France with broken bones. And not because of abandonment
Johan and L.A. had big smiles and good cheer being shown on TV interviews on Versus.
According to Phil and I quote “Every second will count” and today “is the true test of the GC.” Only 1 rider on Team Astana can be leader after this stage. Phil and Paul both agree that there is no need for Team Astana to attack, yet Paul and Phil state the overall GC winner of the Tour de France of the first Mountain stage wins the Tour de France after three weeks of racing. Paul and Phil show stats, graphs and state what they just say about the overall GC winner winning the first mountain stage of the Tour de France.
Today is also the only Mountain top finish in the Pyrenees Mountains for this year’s Tour de France.
Now, to the recap. There was a nine rider breakaway. Fabian had two flat tires (front and read back tire), which probably did not help him to retain the yellow jersey at the end of today’s stage. An interview segment that was shown on today’s stage with L.A. was quoted that L.A. was in the Tour de France to win. Readers, it was announced last year by L.A. that L.A. was riding in the Tour de France to raise cancer awareness as well as his foundation Livestrong to the world about cancer awareness. Funny how L.A. does not remember what was said prior to him joining a team riding in the Tour de France. Or in my case not funny at all, just a two faced rider watching out for himself. Also, 23k from the finish line Levi Leipheimer and Mark Cavendish crash
I will admit that it would be hard to be a “workhorse” rider or commonly known as a “domestic” rider in the Tour de France, after being a winner more than once in the Tour de France. Johan was also interviewed prior to the start of the Tour de France and to quote Johan he said “no specific plan.” Yet, we true followers of the Tour de France know that Johan wanted, as well as L.A., for L.A. to be the wearer of the yellow jersey at the end of this stage. The smiles, the good mood and the non-serious questions by the press totally ignored Alberto Contador. In the end, Alberto showed his team as well as the rest of the world who the “true” leader of team Astana is.
You Readers may be persuaded by the American Press as well as the American Commentators and writers that Alberto should not have attacked, but if it was L.A. that attacked then it would not have been viewed as an attack against the team Astana, but as the 7 time former, yes former, champion of the Tour de France making a “special” comeback and dominating on this stage of the Tour de France. Alas, it was Contador that made the “something special” and now he is viewed by the American supporters of L.A. as the “bad rider” of Team Astana. Of course, there are the former riders of the Tour de France who also agreed that Alberto should not have attacked, but I believe that they too also supported L.A.’s comeback to the Tour de France and want L.A. to win.
This is pure speculation on my part, but it is hard not to see this scenario playing out. I have made it no secret that I do not care for L.A. and that I will not wear that Livestrong bracelet. Yet, what I saw today was team Astana setting the tempo and eventually set up the strongest rider to take control of the Tour de France. Even though every General Manager says / hints toward that holding onto the yellow jersey in the first week of the Tour de France is not the best thing to do, Johan and L.A. hinted that L.A. was going to be the wearer of the yellow jersey at the end of the stage today. Unfortunately to their surprise, Alberto made a fantastic move on the Andorre Arcalis to show who the best mountain climber of the GC contenders were.
The post interview of Lance stating that he had to ride the wheel of the next opponent’s wheel is true. However, it is true since he should not endanger the “true leader” of the Tour de France. There should never be two teammates jockeying for the overall lead since any of the opposing opponents will try to keep in touch (within distance) of the overall leader of the Tour de France. If the second rider of the GC tour leader board is trying to catch the overall leader of the GC rider then the teammate of the overall leader should not try and match the pace of the overall leader. Why? You do not want any other team to be motivated or inspired to rider just as fast as the teammate of the leader of the Tour de France. The teammate needs to follow the next rider who is trying to close the gap to first place before the finish line. That lets the opponent decide whether or not to chase the leader and not to give an opponent the reason or a second wind to try a catch the overall leader. Some times following a teammate is like dangling a carrot in from of a horse. It is there and you will do anything to get that carrot.
Yet, in the end the overall winner of the stage was Brice Feillu who is one of the youngest riders in this year’s Tour de France at the age of 24 years old.
Until the next time
The Fallen Athlete
Stage 8 – The second mountain stage of three mountain stages in the Pyrenees Mountains. For today’s stage there are three major mountains. The Port d’Envalira at 3,980 ft. that is a category 1 climb, then the Col de Port at 4,098 ft. that is a category 2 climb (7.1 miles with a grade of 5.5 %) and lastly, the Col d’Agnes that is a category 1 climb. (7.7 miles with a grade of 6.5 %)
Today, the riders will reach the highest point in the Tour de France, so far.
At the beginning of the stage 8 there are 175 riders that have started the Tour de France and 15 teams that have started with all their riders on the team roster.
The thing that I have heard so far during the Tour de France is to get HD. Watch the Tour de France in HD. See the rider’s team jerseys in the Tour de France in HD. Check out the scenery in HD.
Interesting. Last year I saw the US Open Tennis in HD and I was amazed. The white lines on the hard court, the tennis balls (and the fuzz) and I have to admit everything was sharp and clear. In some cases a bit too clear.
So, with Versus and Phil saying go and get HD to see the Tour de France in HD I am not sure if I agree. Yes, there are going to be some scenery that are going to look fantastic in HD, but I have to admit that I am not sure that seeing the Tour de France in HD is going to be that much better. There are so many cameras in the Tour de France and all those cameras are on the move – whether by a camera operator on the back of a motorcycle or a helicopter(s) flying along a stage in the Tour de France. Otherwise, the focus of the camera bearing HD is really focused on the riders. So any HD viewer is really only going to see colorful team jersey, sunglasses, bikes, bike helmets, facial hair and the occasional chest hair (if any) of the Rider of the Tour de France.
Those things I mentioned are not incentives for me to see the Tour de France in HD. Again, this is my opinion. And should I see the Tour de France in HD I may change my tune, but for now I can only speculate and form an opinion on what I would really see in HD. Readers, there are the occasional aerial Helicopter views that show very nice scenery, but in my opinion those occasional spectacular views are not the reason why to get HD.
Onto the recap – today was the day that “The God of Thunder” came out to play and showed why he is “The God of Thunder.” Along with “The God of Thunder” there were nine other riders that got away from the main group to form a nine rider breakaway group. Where was Mark Cavendish you are perhaps wondering? Well, he was well behind the peloton. Mark Cavendish was in the Autobus, which I think finished about 22 minutes behind the winner, Luis Sanchez, Stage 8 in the Tour de France. Cadel Evans was initially in the breakaway group, but the Peloton managed to catch him and bring him back into the main field of the Peloton with all other GC riders. Once that was done, any non-GC rider was basically allowed to ride out without any sort of attack from the Peloton. Unless, those riders got too much of a time lead then the Peloton would go into attack mode and reel in the breakaway group to a lesser time gap.
The God of Thunder was able to win two (the first two intermediate sprints) of the three intermediate sprints in the stage today. Unfortunately, the third intermediate stage sprint was after the Col d’Agnes, which was the third major mountain climb and to top that off it was a category 1 climb. Yet, I knew that after “The God of Thunder” won the first two intermediate sprint points he would be happy with those 12 points he gained today. After all, there are two more weeks until the end of the Tour de France. No need to wear yourself out for 6 more points in the Green Jersey competition and with Mark Cavendish well behind “The God of Thunder” he knew that Cavendish would be getting no green jersey points for this stage to add to the overall points for the Green Jersey competition.
Oh, by the way Readers, with winning the first intermediate sprint all “The God of Thunder” needed was 1 point to take the Green Jersey off Mark Cavendish’s back and become the new leader of the Green Jersey and the first time this year for “the God of Thunder” in the Tour de France to don the Green Jersey for the next stage start – stage 9.
At the end of this stage there is now a new leader of the King of the Mountain – Christophe Kern. He now has “bragging rights” to be the best climber in the Tour de France (as well as in the world) for now.
Fabian Cancellara finished over nine minutes behind the winner of the Tour de France on yesterday’s stage, which took him out of the yellow jersey for the start of this stage in the Tour de France. From what I saw he was not a happy rider on today’s stage. He was in a breakaway group, but apparently he was not happy with his “fellow” breakaway riders. Only one can assume that none of the other breakaway riders were pulling their turn at the front of the breakaway group. That is a reason to be pissed off, but this is a race. If you want to win then you have to want to win it. You cannot rely on other opponents to help you ride. You want to win, then lead. If you had a teammate who was on your team then obviously there would be nothing to be complaining about. So for Fabian to be pissed off at rival teams was totally uncalled and unacceptable for Fabian to be pissed off about.
Of course Fabian could be pissed off for losing the yellow jersey yesterday as well as getting two flat tires on Stage 7. As my former old boss would “Sucks to be you.”
Anyway, Rinaldo Nocentini remained in the yellow jersey at the end of this stage.
Readers, a bit more information on the King of the Mountain competition. It was 35 years ago that a sponsor officially asked for the King of the Mountain Jersey be recognized in the Tour de France and become an ongoing competition in the Tour de France. Though, the King of the Mountain competition was first introduced in the 1930’s. Currently, at the end of the Tour de France the overall leader of the King of the Mountain jersey is awarded about 35 thousand dollars or 25 thousand euros. (estimated).
Lastly, the biggest news that Versus commentators (Phil, Paul, Craig & Bob) made was the way that Alberto rode away from L.A. If the roles were reversed the news would be totally different. Bob, Craig, Paul and Phil would be hard up to talk about how L.A. asserted himself on the first stage of the Pyrenees Mountain to show all other GC contenders that the 7 time winner of the Tour de France was back.
Alas, this did not happen and now all who is American related are asking questions of Team Astana. And guess what Readers; they are interviewing riders and the General Manager that we know of – Levi, L.A. and Johan. Either the reporters could not interview Alberto or he politely declined a one on one interview. Alberto did give all the press a post race conference and stated that he saw the other riders doing ok on the climb, but he saw a opening to attack the other GC riders and he took it.
24 hours ago, Paul, Phil and the rest of the world were amazed how Contador rode off from the other GC contenders as well as his teammates on Astana. As Phil stated and I quote again “Every second will count” yet on the pre-race show of today’s stage Phil chastises Alberto for “attacking” his teammates. When in reality, Alberto was attacking the entire GC rider group. This shows how bias and hard up Phil and Paul, as well as Bob, for L.A.’s comeback in Tour de France. Bob even stated that Contador should not have attacked his teammates for the few seconds he did get, but you know how much Bob’s opinion means to me – zilch.
Just like Bob Roll was a guest speaker on the Ride the Rockies in Aspen in this year’s 2009 Ride the Rockies; There was no fucking way that I was going to sit in the school’s auditorium to listen to Bob speak. I have to be blunt Readers – he is a fucking idiot with his commentary, his hand gestures and his off hand comments on other riders who are not L.A. He was just a good rider in the Tour de France when he rode in the 1980’s, but that was it – just good, not great nor “awesome”. Bob was a pissed off rider during the Tour de France and when nothing worked for him, he threw tantrums which were caught on camera. Throwing his bike, yelling at no one and everyone. What a fucking sore loser, in my book. Again, take your fucking licks like a man; don’t act like a fucking 3-year-old child throwing a temper tantrum just because he did not get what he wanted.
Until the next time
The Fallen Athlete