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Marginalizing the Col du Tourmalet [article] - Why minimize this epic TDF climb???

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I have heard rumblings of the Tour losing its popularity in France? Not sure if this has any real truth behind it. But it seems that the race has been designed to suit riders getting into long breaks ... possibly French riders? Although i am not sure why a French rider would be any better at this than any other nationality. Will this help the popularity in France? It is the first Tour in a while where we have had 3 French winners.

Incidently I am sure that the riders who fancy winning in a break looked at the parcours and rubbed their hands together. I am also sure that JB looked at it and rubbed his hands together - it's a straight forward race to control. In the old days Lance would have won this at a canter IMHO.

The only way I can see Lance winning is for two things to happen...

1. Riding a good ITT and being up their with AC - this will need him to ride a better ITT than we have seen him ride since his return - not sure he has it in him but we'll see. And then...

2. On Ventoux the Astana boys set a high tempo thin out the field and then...it may well be that if it is still close betweem Lance and Contador on the GC - Contador gets impatient and goes (too?) early on the climb - he skips out to 30 seconds or so maybe even a minute but then sticks...and starts to run out of gas. The rest of the contenders (schleck, evans etc) peg him back and Lance like the good team mate he is - just sits in the wheels. When AC gets caught Lance attacks, takes yellow and makes history.

How likely is this... not sure but if it's close in the ITT then I think this is very likely to be the plan for Lance going in to Ventoux.

But we have a week or so to wait - lots can happen between now and then. :)
Mar 10, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
MellowVelo and I have been complaining about this route for weeks, months. It turned out worse than we expected.
Too early to say it is a real failure, but I will agree that the today and yesterday were ill-conceived stages. Mountain stages should favor mountian goats. If not finishing on top, then at least have the finish close enough where the first riders over the top can benefit. Personally, I like the Briancon style finish in a mountain stage - after cresting Galibier or Izoard finish with a nasty 1.5km 10% sprint - like we regularly see in the Giro.

Or just finish on the damn top.

And anything that finishes with 30+km of flat should not have cat. 1 or H.C. climbs. Cat. 2's a long way out, or peppered with 3's and 4's. Like this:



dimspace said:
i will say one thing in defence of this years stages, routing, finishes

wiggins :D

Gotta say, I really like seeing he and VDV there. I will hold any elation in check, but I have to say it does give me a little hope. Plus I love to see someone progress like that. He clearly has always had a motor, and he now has tuned it for a different effect.
Jul 11, 2009
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Thoughtforfood said:
Look at the Giro, it was exciting from start to finish and they had a far harder course. This is a weak tour.

Yeh I agree the Giro had the harder first two weeks for sure, but that third week is going to be very hard, everyday has something to offer with the best saved until last. Although like someone has already said, today could have finished at Hautacam or Luz Ardiden.
Mar 13, 2009
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This course reminds me of when drafting was introduced to triathlon. Until tactics evolve it makes the racing more boring. A close race at the end is not necessarily a good race to watch. In triathlon now everyone stays together until the run and then predictably small gaps open.
A course like this years will see the same small predictable gaps until the ventoux and final TT. However tactics can evolve and riders could take risks like Evans. Having said a finish 70 km after a climb, trying would be a very low percentage gamble. I hold much hope for courses like this one.
I agree the TTT should be modified so it isn't so decisive. I like short TTTs and real time counting.
Mar 11, 2009
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After watching today's stage, I thought "Please someone wake me up when they get to the Alps." But now I'm afraid that might be too soon. This stage was abysmal. Andy Schleck's puncture and the two-man sprint are the only things I'll remember about it.
Jun 16, 2009
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Escarabajo said:
Luz Ardiden climb:


They could do a itt up Luz Ardiden. That climb was awesome in 03 and is scary to look at. In 2003 They did a similar stage to yesterday except started at Bagneres de Bigorre to Luz Ardidden and had the Aspin + Tourmalet right before Luz Ardiden. Spectacular climb. Great to watch in 03 would of been great to watch this year.