Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tour de France; Stage 9 report

First off, it is only fair that I tell everybody that the Cub Reporter had her report to me several hours ago- probably only minutes after the stage today. Today, she is clearly the better reporter. A tip of the virtual hat to Jessi.

So stop if you think that you've heard this one before; Freire wins close sprint, McEwen is second and Zabel is third. Turbo Tom is fourth after starting his sprint a little too early. Early breakaway gets a boatload of time and then is reeled in shortly before the line to set up the field sprint that Tom looses. Sound familiar? Sure does to me...

Tommorow is The Day. The first real climbs and the first real test of the GC contenders. Expect the real climbers to be less than stellar and the non-climbers to still suffer. The GC guys will be the ones to watch as they find out where their legs really are. The first day in the mountains is always harsh on the legs as riders switch riding styles from long days of steady tempo in the big ring to constant tempo changes and spinning smaller gears. It is actually quite hard on the legs and usually sees riders getting shelled pretty badly the first day. My pick for somebody to watch? Guys like Chris Horner (Lotto-Domo), Giuseppe Guerini (T-Mobile), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) or possibly even Axel Merckx (Phonak). The true climbers like Simoni or Rujano won't really profit from this stage because the last climb is too far from the finish and it just isn't the type of grueling stage that usually suits them. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if CSC sent Carlos Sastre on the attack. He's won a stage of the Tour before, so he knows what it takes and CSC needs some good news.

We shall see...

Nobody else seems to be noticing the cheesy coincidence of this day; 7/11. The 7/11 team of the 80's and 90's was the first US-based team to ride the Tour, the first US-based team to win a Grand Tour (Giro- '88- Hampsten), the first US-based team to win a stage of the Tour (Davis Phinney) and the first US-based team to grab the American eye- especially for guys my age. Many of the riders were cycling heroes to many of us. Sure LeMond was already over there winning races and Boyer had been there before LeMond, but these guys were a team of Americans and Europeans, riding together and winning important races... and not looking like asses. Part of what makes this significant to me and this particular post is that the Cub Reporter's "boss" is Bob Roll, who was on that historical team. Bob (Bobke) was one of my favorites. Partly because he didn't look like the Euros. He looked like "us"- kind of a normal looking guy with a goofy grin and a "blue collar" ethic to riding. The riding was hard and it wasn't always glamorous. He didn't try to look pretty like many of our European heroes did- he made riding ugly look good. (Bob- I swear I mean that as a compliment.) So, today, I want to raise my beer to the original 7/11 team and all of the great riders that wore the jersey... thank you for giving lowly American teenagers like me the real belief in dreams. I can't begin to thank you enough!

And now, before she has a fit and kicks my ass, the Cub Reporter;


Why doesn't anyone comment on this blog? That's a little perplexing to me. Isn't that the glory of a blog? TJMG tells me that you are all afraid of him yet BKCR knows better than that. My readers are MUCH smarter than he gives them credit for.

So I think Floyd is the man unless his geriatric hip starts to agitate him in the mountains. I've got some questions. I would like some comments responding to this – consider it your homework. Ok. Why in the hell after the first week of the TdF does all this hip jargon come out? There were Outside Magazine cover stories, CycleSport coverage, Bicycling Articles and a few I'm failing to mention and not a PEEP about any of this. He said to the New York Times that if he wasn't a bike racer he would have had surgery two years ago. What gives? Why is this all of a sudden a big deal? Is he taking something that may be questionable because of his "degenerate condition"? (that is the description on
cyclenews.com, not mine) Is he going to test positive for a drug to get him sent home? I freaking hope not.

Let's take a look at my hero, Curious George. I keep bringing him up, not to agitate Dang Right Donna and TJMG, but because he has been training with Lance for over seven years and there were times (in the first week – around stage 9 ish) that LA was down by a hell of a lot more that two and a half minutes. I'm just saying, Boy George still has a chance to get to the podium, folks. That's all. I'm not going to count him out

I'm still pushing for an all American podium. I still think we have a shot with Floyd, Zabriskie (who's still in the top 8), George and possibly Vandevelde who is about three and a half minutes behind the leader. Apparently, Mr. Vandevelde has been a domestique for most of his career, though I personally think they are the best all around athletes on the team. So, all in all, US Cycling still has a shot.

Health update. I've been on about 4 different meds, some simultaneously in conjunction with a few beers, but today I'm getting serious about the drug stuff because I feel like total crap. The body aches and the head is stuffy. I'm pretty confident in today's drug of choice, which is not EPO, so tomorrow I plan on being a whole new woman.

Paul just said the funniest freaking thing about Sandy Casar. "....he was knocked off of his bike by a spec TATER trying to get a photo on a mo BILE phone" That's funny ass shit. Phil must be tired or under the weather.

Here's to tomorrow's Pyrenees. Looks like you Westies have to get up nice and early for day one in the mountains. Three days until I go! I wonder if I will meet the Conehead family. Can't wait to hear your comments.


Here's to the hills!

(PS- Don't even bother to point out how late I am posting. I know already...)


Donna Tocci said...

Hey Cubbie - Just how many comments do you need before it is 'no comments'? Yesterday you had 8 comments (so far) to the dual interview. The whole color of the jersey thing struck a chord in people. You never know what will strick people's fancy enough for them to comment.
Floyd - why now? Don't have a clue. I did read somewhere that he is able to have cortisone injections during le Tour for pain that are legal, if that eases your fears about him getting sent home any. Then again, apparently all that needs to happen is your name is on some random list and you can get sent home so who really knows? Before people jump on me, I say 'random' because of the doctor's statements that there are people on the list he doesn't know and then people still in le Tour that he has treated. Cubbit had it right yesterday about the system not being right - that's all I mean by this comment.

Anyhoo...I think 'our boy Floyd' is going to be just fine in the next five mountain stages. After all, Robin Williams calles him the bad Mofo of the mountains. Bad hip or no, this guy is Tough As Nails. I've still got the faith.

Tim, I'm with you, this is The Day the Tour really begins. For me, anyway. I'm a mountains kind of person. I love the energy of the people. I watch Bobke's coverage every night with fascination at all the paint on the road and screaming fans in the faces of the peloton.

I can't wait to watch tonight!

Allez Floyd!!!

iheartbikes said...

I was thinking of the 7/11 thing yesterday also. We had a conversation at the office about how 7/11 is 7-11 day and should be free slurpee day. Wouldn't that be great. I could use a free slurpee while I think about the old 7/11 cycling team watching le Tour.

mmmmmmm... cherry cola slurpee...

Reva said...

Graper slurpee with Absolut in it was always my favourite! But we have no 7-11s here any more....

The mountain stages are the most fun. Always fun to wager who will crack & when. Not that I could do any of them but it is fun to watch!

James said...

Why is the timing of Floyd’s announcement such a big deal? If he had announced his condition in an “Outside” or “Bicycling” interview, people would be saying the same thing, that it was a publicity stunt right before the tour. It is obviously a real condition that he had to announce sometime. So what if it is during the race? Besides, based on my own racing experience, the middle of a race is the perfect time to announce any and all of ones ailments. If a rider can’t think of any physical problems, he can always fall back on the old “I haven’t been riding much” line. That is usually a pretty good indication that that the “under trained” rider is about to smoke the field.

I think it is too easy to make the argument that the ruined hip announcement is kind of like Pascal’s wager. Maybe it is true that he has a lot to gain and nothing to lose by providing a built in excuse midway through the race. Still, what is he expected to do. Maybe he thought he could cover it a bit longer but the pain is just getting to him at this point. Maybe he planned all along to announce it now for maximum effect. Either way, a bum hip is nothing he wished on himself. I see it as an inevitable announcement rather than a potential excuse.

Bitch Kittie Cub Reporter said...

Donna - I gave today's write up to TJMG before I saw all those. I find it amusing that the rest day, when we're just goofing around is when we get the comments. Ironic? I think not.
James - I think the thing with Floyd is just a curiosity deal. Even Bobke calls me asking what everyone here is saying about it. Again, for the record, I am all for the USA, whether it's Floyd, Georgie, Levi (where is he these days?) etc. . . . I feel like a broken record on this one. . . .
Keep it real.

Fritz said...

TJMG's blog gets plenty of comments; I'm with Donna on that one. So you went a day here and there without the comments, big deal.

I like the gap between the teeth -- that's about as mid-America as you can get. Makes me think, "What, me worry?"