Official Thread: Stage 20: Montélimar - Mt. Ventoux 167km

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Apr 10, 2009
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Cobblestones said:
True enough. But I think most riders are worried about this part.

Actually Stelvio beat me to it. The lower slopes of the Ventoux are the hardest. It actually feels like you are going downhill for a while when you come out above the tree line and the breeze cools you down again. Then it kicks again if I remember right.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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I think we'll see an epic final battle between AC and Schleklet. I'd like AS to win, but I expect AC to win. There will be chaos behind them on the mountain.:D
 
May 13, 2009
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slowoldman said:
Actually Stelvio beat me to it. The lower slopes of the Ventoux are the hardest. It actually feels like you are going downhill for a while when you come out above the tree line and the breeze cools you down again. Then it kicks again if I remember right.

The steepest part is between Les Bruns and Chalet Reynard. Agreed those 10 km hurt. But going downhill afterwards? Slowoldman, you put me to shame. It did not feel like that for me. It felt harder and harder the higher it went and the sun did not help at all.

Anyway, where do you think the attacks will start? On the lower, but steeper slopes for the opportunity to make up a lot of time but the chance of self-destruction or the higher parts? From the time differences, if it's all about 3rd place, there's not much point in early attacks. If on the other hand Andy plans to jump on Bertie or Lance on Andy, I think the attack has to come early.
 
Apr 3, 2009
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The question is when will Sastre place his attack? He wants to, he needs to, and he most certainly will. But it's obvious he can't wait for Contador and the Schlecks to start their battle, because there's no way he could ever keep up with them when they go all out. So he has to go rather early to get some time between him and Contador/Schleck/Wiggins before they place their attack. It's the only way for him to stay ahead and maybe keep up when they would catch up with him. But if he goes too early, he will blow his engine up for sure.
 
May 13, 2009
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Jasper said:
The question is when will Sastre place his attack? He wants to, he needs to, and he most certainly will. But it's obvious he can't wait for Contador and the Schlecks to start their battle, because there's no way he could ever keep up with them when they go all out. So he has to go rather early to get some time between him and Contador/Schleck/Wiggins before they place their attack. It's the only way for him to stay ahead and maybe keep up when they would catch up with him. But if he goes too early, he will blow his engine up for sure.

If he attacks very early, who will try to jump on his wheel or chase him? Lance said he wants the stage win. Will he chase Sastre on the lower slopes? Probably not. The only two which could realistically fight for the stage win (Bertie and Andy) probably won't chase either. Wiggins or Frank could jump on Sastre's wheel in the hope to gain a podium spot, then it's up to Astana to chase, so that won't happen.

Most likely, when Sastre attacks early, everybody just rides tempo utterly unconcerned. He didn't get away on the lower slopes of the Colombiere. Who knows what he can do on the Ventoux.

Sastre attacking late presupposes that he's still in the selection which isn't a given regarding his form.
 
A

Anonymous

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Stelvio said:
What is often forgotten about Mont Ventoux is the part from Les Bruns to Chalet Reynard. Those are ten really hard kilometres, entirely in a forest and virtually no switchbacks. This means no wind and hot (especially since Mont Ventoux isn't so high, in an Alpine perspective).

After Chalet Reynard the road climbs steadily following the contours of the mountain side so I guess the wind's effect can be rather local. According to wikipedia the Col de Tempêtes (about 1k from the finish) is the windiest part, but with Cobblestones' forecast of 15mph winds, the wind will not be a big factor (as an aside, I don't recall much wind from when I climbed it early July a few years ago). The temperatures doesn't seem extreme either.

Bravo on the post, gotta love someone who takes the time to provide visual references for his post. Thanks!
 
May 13, 2009
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I think Kloden takes the 3rd podium spot. He is stronger than LA and Wiggins, and I dont think F Schleck can make up the time on him. And AC for the win.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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sorenmj said:
anyone think Cavendish or Hushvold will go for intermediate sprint points?

I would have expected it, were it not for the post-race interview with Cav where I saw him say that he'd never gone so deep before as he had to today. If that's true, he should be happily pedaling in the bus and 'saving' himself for Paris.
 
May 26, 2009
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Cobblestones said:
The steepest part is between Les Bruns and Chalet Reynard. Agreed those 10 km hurt. But going downhill afterwards? Slowoldman, you put me to shame. It did not feel like that for me. It felt harder and harder the higher it went and the sun did not help at all.

Anyway, where do you think the attacks will start? On the lower, but steeper slopes for the opportunity to make up a lot of time but the chance of self-destruction or the higher parts? From the time differences, if it's all about 3rd place, there's not much point in early attacks. If on the other hand Andy plans to jump on Bertie or Lance on Andy, I think the attack has to come early.

The forecast tells us they'll have wind blowing from the north which should (if I recall correctly) make it a headwind on the final part of the mountain. I rode up Ventoux a week ago and the wind was blowing quite hard after Chalet Reynard and it nearly blew me down a few Ks before the summit.

This makes me say that anyone who wants to get a best possible time won't try to go it alone after Chalet Reynard except maybe in the last kilometre or two. If there wouldn't be a headwind it would be a good place to attack but with the wind slowing you down a coordinated chase by two or more riders would quickly catch the solo rider. An example of this is what happened in the Dauphiné: Valverde went up the mountain doing relays with another rider. Evans had to chase him alone and he lost minutes to him.

This leaves the first 10K of the climb (after you take the sharp left and the road really kicks up) and the last 2K. Sastre will want to go at the start of the climb so he can ride his own tempo. Fränk can't leave it to the last 2K so the Schlecks will have to make sure that they crack Armstrong quite early in the climb. This would be best done by Andy attacking early, drawing Contador and his brother with him and then setting such a high tempo that Armstrong couldn't follow them or would be dropped quickly. Just my thought though, never been good at estimating how stages unfold...
 
May 13, 2009
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Its hard to predict how mountain stages unfold but I dont think the Schlecks are that worried about LA. He hasnt proven he can climb with them. Kloden has. I think it will be AC and AK vs. the Schlecks.
 
Cobblestones said:
If he attacks very early, who will try to jump on his wheel or chase him? Lance said he wants the stage win. Will he chase Sastre on the lower slopes? Probably not. The only two which could realistically fight for the stage win (Bertie and Andy) probably won't chase either. Wiggins or Frank could jump on Sastre's wheel in the hope to gain a podium spot, then it's up to Astana to chase, so that won't happen.

Most likely, when Sastre attacks early, everybody just rides tempo utterly unconcerned. He didn't get away on the lower slopes of the Colombiere. Who knows what he can do on the Ventoux.

Sastre attacking late presupposes that he's still in the selection which isn't a given regarding his form.

If Saxo are serious of putting Fränk on the podium they are likely to go through Bédoin in high speed (probably starting to ride hard no later than Aurel/Sault, considering that from the top of Col des Abeilles there are just 20 easy kms to Bédoin). Anyone not in the top 7 will probably need to start the climb with a few minutes in the bank to have even a slim chance of the stage.

With the battle for second and third as hard and close as it is (and with so many riders with a shot) I don't see them letting anyone go, and stay gone, once they reach Ventoux.
 
Cobblestones said:
Two brothers on the podium...Strange that it hasn't been hyped in the media so far (at least not on Vs).
Not with Lance around. It's all Lance/Alberto/Astana, all the time.

Thoughtforfood said:
At the top of the TT climb, he wasn't even breathing hard. Contrast that with Mr Armstrong. And in Lance's words the year after letting Pantani win Ventoux, "NO GIFTS!!!."
Uh, I believe that is what Hinault said to Lance after Lance rode past Klodi in 2004. No?

dgodave said:
Anybody know anything about the WIND up Ventoux?
Try this link. :)
 
Agree with Stelvio's good posts.

I have yet to see anything from Lance since his comeback that tells me he not only won't win the stage, but will at some point get dropped. But who knows.

To me, all indication is that Contador will win the stage after probably riding with the Schlecks, and maybe a straggler such as Montcoutier, Sastre, Nibali, Pelizotto, though those guys should get dropped as well.

I don't see Klodi, Lance, Wiggins, being able to keep up towards the top.

If Andy cracks, it will be because of lack of experience coupled with exuberance, but I imagine Riis will constantly be in his ear telling him to take it easy, and giving the brothers constant splits to where Lance and Wiggins are.
 
If it turns out to be a scrap between the big guns then I think Contador will put his stamp on the race (even more) and take the win.

There are a number of more than capable climbers, however, who are at last half an hour off the pace and should therefore be given enough leeway to either get in an early break or not be chased if they attack early on the climb:

Christophe Moreau (30-1) - Form has been surprisingly good in recent days and this will almost certainly be his last serious stage in a Tour De France. He'll be giving every last drop of blood to go out on a winning note. Plus, he has done well at Ventouxpreviously.

Cadel Evans (30-1) - Sure, it's been a disappointing Tour for him but ... he did go up the moderate climb in the time trial faster than anyone.

Igor Anton (100-1) - Given how active Euskaltel have been, its a little unusual that maybe the best rider on their team hasn't doen anything whatsoever.
 
Apr 11, 2009
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frizzlefry said:
Its hard to predict how mountain stages unfold but I dont think the Schlecks are that worried about LA. He hasnt proven he can climb with them. Kloden has. I think it will be AC and AK vs. the Schlecks.

Makes sense.

If the Schlecks go early, as they must if they are really amibitious, this is going to present Lance with a dilemma:

a) go with Frank S. who is double teaming Contador with Andy, and risk blowing up; OR

b) take Wiggo's wheel and let him do the work and hope to drop him later. Risky for him if Kloden is up the road with Alberto (i.e., taking third on podium).

A lot depends on who Kloden goes with (bet Bruyneel forces him to stay with lance, given Alberto's 4 minute cushion and the goal to get Lance not Kloden on podium). Would be unfortunate, because Kloden's a better bet than Lance.
 
Jul 14, 2009
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I don't think Andy Schleck is safe at all, this is the type of climb where you can lose time in a hurry. Having said all that, I don't think the other GC contenders, excluding AC, have the legs to drop him. The stage could possibly go to Pellizotti, he sat up today to rest up (I think) for a long break. Other stage contenders could be Sastre, Anton, and Moreau.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Jasper said:
The question is when will Sastre place his attack? He wants to, he needs to, and he most certainly will

I think he'll time it so, that he takes off 40-45 mintues before the finish line. I believe that's what he is physically capable of, when climbing at a maximal speed without blowing his doors off.

In last year's TdF he did the Alpe in about 39′30″ over 13.8k? That's around 20.8 km/h.

So for the Ventoux, could that be around 10-11k before the finish, factoring in the wind?

Unfortunately for him, Riis and/or the Schleques might know what he is capable of...
 
I think tomorrow Contador will sit in the wheels on Ventoux. He will only follow Andy S and I expect if he has the opportunity to win the stage he will attack in the last couple of kilometres. I don’t think Armstrong or Wiggins will have the legs to put any distance into anyone – they will be hanging on. There is a good chance that Frank will make up the 40 s he needs to get on the podium and push Lance into 4th.

I would not expect Contador to be going out of his way to help Armstrong or Kloden – he needs to keep focussed on winning the tour. And it won’t matter on Ventoux – Armstrong and Kloden will either be able to stay up their or not.

It's going to be awesome!
 
Jul 21, 2009
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180mmCrank said:
I think tomorrow Contador will sit in the wheels on Ventoux. He will only follow Andy S and I expect if he has the opportunity to win the stage he will attack in the last couple of kilometres. I don’t think Armstrong or Wiggins will have the legs to put any distance into anyone – they will be hanging on. There is a good chance that Frank will make up the 40 s he needs to get on the podium and push Lance into 4th.

I would not expect Contador to be going out of his way to help Armstrong or Kloden – he needs to keep focussed on winning the tour. And it won’t matter on Ventoux – Armstrong and Kloden will either be able to stay up their or not.

It's going to be awesome!

Contador, A. Schelck and Sastre in third.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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i've got a funny feeling that Wiggins is going to do well on tonights climb. so far he has been racing one day at a time, not sure of what he is capable of or what is coming. but this weeks racing no doubt has helped him understand his limits and I suspect we will see you use whatever reserves he has left.

i also think Lance will do everything to limit his losses to the schelcks. so while he doesnt have their accelerations we may see him ride a high tempo to limit the attacks.

whatever happens i'm sure there will be fire works and I think guys like Cadel and Sastre might try to get into an early move.
 

iceaxe

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Jul 10, 2009
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I hope Lance tries a little harder on this final competitive stage. I get the distinct feeling that he has been half hearted throughout the race. He can make up 5 minutes if just wakes up. He will disappoint a lot of people if he does not pull up his socks and act like a Champion.