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Official thread- TDF Stage 7 Barcelone - Andorre Arcalis 224km

May 15, 2009
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OK, now it is the showdown time, we have a super-strong Astana squad and a coalition of favorites who lost their time in TTT (Evans, Sastre), Menchov, who is an unknown factor and young guns like Nibali or Kreuziger.

Will Contador put his stamp on this race, or Armstrong crush the opposition like he always had on the first mountaintop finish? Will we see Astana riders bonk and lose time to their rivals, and how well will Cancellara and Saxo Bank boys climb?

The answers-tomorrow, discussion starts today.

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Jun 26, 2009
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Damn . . . 4k of climbing at an over 8% average to get things started. Bring on the pain . . . time to seperate the contenders from the pretenders. Guess we will finally have an answer to how well "that old guy from Astana" has returned to form . . . or not.

Frankly one of the spectacles I am most interested in is Contador and A.Schleck mano a mano up a steep incline like this. Who comes out on top there is a toss up . . . . as of today at least.
 
Jun 29, 2009
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Should be freakin intense right from the bottom, lots of riders have to make up time and even Contador might attack early as he wants to end the debate about the #1 spot at the Astana team.
It's gonna be interesting what Kloden does, who seems to be in excellent shape, would he follow the leaders if Contador can't or even attack himself?
 
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The ramp at 195K looks pretty fun too. I think the big thing is that they will climb for the last 68K which means teams like Saxo and Astana CAN turn the screws for a long time if they want.
 
Jun 30, 2009
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Sophistic said:
It's gonna be interesting what Kloden does, who seems to be in excellent shape, would he follow the leaders if Contador can't or even attack himself?

it's weird, but klöden seems to be totally cool with being a #2 (or 3 or 4 or 5) rider for a team. has he ever been the leader? telekom, t-mobile, vino-era astana?
 
Mar 10, 2009
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greeting sfrom Andorra-la-Vella. after getting my **** kicked on Col du Granon two days ago and facing a 25km/hr headwind on the Lauteret yesterday, I escaped the Alps, driving 10 hours down here this morn. Looking forward top an early morning "jaunt" and an interminable wait for the fireworks. Hoping there is a big screen atop Arcalis like Tignes had in '07.

Anyhoo - wow... this will be interesting. MellowVelo, I haven't has a chance to check the threads, but I have to imagine you are none too happy with the state of affairs - understandable. The fact that the Schlecks, Cadel, Denis and Carlos are in dire straits kinda $uck$, even for me. I was hoping for tomorrow to be the kick-off of a wide-open affair. Now it's primarily going to be a intra-squad sociological case study, like '85, and '86. I do hope that ASch or Sast can pull off a one-day exploit, but I fear that's all it will be.

Few thoughts to get caught up.... tired of reading Brunel's drivel in l'Equipe.... amused by the utter jublilation displayed by the race organizers on France2 when LA came up .22 short - sadly goofy, they were... loving Aldag and Stapleton's daily lash-outs and the *** at the back of the peloton... "if they don't want to win, they'll suffer"... "I'm not sure if some teams are actually racing the Tour this year"... LA was 100% justified in being in the echelon... shame on AC for riding like Danielson that day... good on JV for his TTT strategy - very unique approach... chapeau to the little chunk-meister Voeckler, though when Jensy basically told him pre-stage that they would not chase, welllll... sad to see Tyler can't even get out of the slipstream of the Manxman - not a reflection on TF, more just a statement about Cav's scary strength...

OK - time for bed. Look for the Voeckler-sized dude in red and white about 2km from the finish. I'll be holding a "ThoughtforFood for WADA President" sign!!
 
Jun 26, 2009
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ilillillli said:
it's weird, but klöden seems to be totally cool with being a #2 (or 3 or 4 or 5) rider for a team. has he ever been the leader? telekom, t-mobile, vino-era astana?

Astana strategy per "that older guy":

“I think the others will have to attack before we do,” Armstrong said. “We’re in a position where we can wait and watch the others, Sastre, Evans, the Schlecks. I don’t know if we need to attack.”

http://www.velonews.com/article/94826/arcalis-will-answer-many-questions

Probably a smart but not exciting play. Let the others that need time lead out and then just ride wheels until the last few Kms. Let them burn the energy. Astana is in the drivers seat and they know it. Whether he has the legs or not is a big question but one question already answered is that the "old guy" clearly still knows how to ride smart.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Thoughtforfood said:
The ramp at 195K looks pretty fun too. I think the big thing is that they will climb for the last 68K which means teams like Saxo and Astana CAN turn the screws for a long time if they want.

That ramp starts at the front door for me tomorrow. Sheeiiittte. Nice freakin' warmup. But my altrenative is to ride down the valley. Sweet options.
 
Jul 7, 2009
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byu123 said:
Astana strategy per "that older guy":

“I think the others will have to attack before we do,” Armstrong said. “We’re in a position where we can wait and watch the others, Sastre, Evans, the Schlecks. I don’t know if we need to attack.”

http://www.velonews.com/article/94826/arcalis-will-answer-many-questions

Probably a smart but not exciting play. Let the others that need time lead out and then just ride wheels until the last few Kms. Let them burn the energy. Astana is in the drivers seat and they know it. Whether he has the legs or not is a big question but one question already answered is that the "old guy" clearly still knows how to ride smart.
That old astana dude also says that there is no internal power struggle between him and contador... not sure I believe anything that comes out of his mouth

Translation: He hopes that astana controls the race with tempo riding and he is crossing his fingers that alberto does not attack
 
Jun 26, 2009
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sometriguy said:
That old astana dude also says that there is no internal power struggle between him and contador... not sure I believe anything that comes out of his mouth

Translation: He hopes that astana controls the race with tempo riding and he is crossing his fingers that alberto does not attack

Saxo

Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis said all the pressure is on Sastre and Evans to move.

“They’ve lost time and they have to do something. They cannot wait until the Alps,” Riis said. “One thing is sure, if no one takes the initiative and everyone is waiting on the others, we will do it. We cannot just let Astana ride to the top unchallenged.”

Contador

“Tomorrow, it’s a stage that’s pretty interesting. There are a lot of riders who have to try from afar. They are way back in the GC and they have to risk,” said Contador, third overall at 19 seconds back. “They have to try something. Everyone is asking who will attack, who won’t attack. We’ll have to see what happens.”

Contador’s destiny perhaps lies in the hands of others. With his team's domination the race, he won’t be obliged to attack. But if a rider like Andy Schleck (14th at 1:41) darts clear, Contador will have a free pass to punch the accelerator.

Armstrong on Contador

What will Armstrong do? He suggested Thursday that if Contador is on a great day, he might sit back and watch.

“I know Alberto wants to assert himself in the race. I don’t need a team meeting to tell me that,” Armstrong said. “I know he’s ready to go. If he does – and no one can go with him – I will just hang back and stay with the other leaders.”

But . . . the winning/killer instinct means . . . .????

"With the yellow jersey waiting at the finish line, it’s hard to imagine Armstrong being a spectator for long if he has the legs."

All from this article http://www.velonews.com/article/94826/arcalis-will-answer-many-questions
 
Jul 7, 2009
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sometriguy said:
That old astana dude also says that there is no internal power struggle between him and contador... not sure I believe anything that comes out of his mouth

It's nothing more than the kind of positive PR spin a married couple who fight in private puts out in public. Why do people feel we are entitled to see their private disagreements, tensions? What do people expect, the entire invasion plan in a .pdf posted on the internet?
 
May 13, 2009
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ilillillli said:
it's weird, but klöden seems to be totally cool with being a #2 (or 3 or 4 or 5) rider for a team. has he ever been the leader? telekom, t-mobile, vino-era astana?
He was leader when Pereiro won. That's when he podiumed at #2 (after Landis DQ'ed). He would've won that if not for one lazy stage.

Anyway, about stage 7. I've said it before a few times, but I'll say it again. There's no way the Astana 4 will all survive on top of the GC. I think LL is the weakest of the 4. He peaked during the ToC, then tried to peak during the Giro but found himself already on the decline. I just can't see how he could have the legs now (and keep my post 'clean').

I think the second one to peel off will be the old guy. 3.5 years away from the sport, and looking at him during the Giro, I just can't see how he'd do it. I still think he tried to attack during week 3 for a stage win (after Popo failed and LL was out of contention) but was reeled in very easily. After his 'time-out', Basso couldn't come back to where he was during the Giro. I don't see how the old guy could do it (barring of course the big scary 'D').

Kloden looks strong. The shadow of Freiburg is looming over him, he might just go full out and surprise everybody. Might be his last chance to do it.

AC is the favorite of the Astana 4. And here we need to cut to the heart of the matter. The rift in the team is not a media stunt. It's real. More so because of the apparent show of unity now. But what about the TTT I hear you asking! Well, a good ride benefited all of them, so it was in everybody's interest. The drama before the TTT is far more telling.

For AC, the worst which can happen is an Astana train (slowly) dragging up the old man and no attacks. If no attacks, then LA will get yellow (assuming they do shed Canc) and unwritten rules will make life hard for AC. I think AC should try to get more time into the Schlecklet and Kreuziger, if he has the legs (if not he should be happy about the train). But he really can attack only if they shed Lance first.

Will others attack? Likely. But will others attack at opportune moments for AC? As AC, I wouldn't count on it. What AC needs is someone from another team who attacks (and sheds LA) at a point of AC's choosing. That's why I think someone will make a call to someone else this evening, and tomorrow, at one point, you'll see Sanchez attack, AC to counter, and LA going backwards. (Thanks for the Dauphine btw.)

Who else will play a role? Hard to say who's in shape before the first mountain. Conventional wisdom says Evans, the Schlecklet, Menchov, Sastre. Reasonable other choices are T. Martin, Kirchen, VdV, Nibali, Kreuziger and probably a few more. Some of them will disappoint (Menchov, they're on to him and he's not risking it), some of them will not be in top form (usually the Euskaltels) and some might even surprise (the Leakyguys maybe).

Bring it on.
 

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Mar 17, 2009
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Five time Tour de France champion Bernard Hinault is backing Alberto Contador in his power struggle with Astana team mate Lance Armstrong. “If I were Contador, I would attack Armstrong tomorrow in the climb to Arcalis to set the record straight and show him who’s the boss,” he told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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For AC to counter, there are plenty of compatriots that will want to invite him for a dance.

There's Arroyo from Caisse, who did well in the Giro - (does this stage resemble tomorrow's stage?) - as well as the 'fanatic' Euskatel boys such as Anton and Asterloza. Does Sastre already have the legs to take back some time, perhaps 10-20s on others? Although the climb isn't too punishing, perhaps he needs to waltz over the Astana train.

I think from what I read, Riis does not want Astana to freewheel to Paris, so some CSC rider could open the ball as well, someone like Frank Schleck.

Cadel Evans, will have to start showing his best moves soon, because he has already lost much time in the last 6 (!) days. Dauphine showed he can attack, tomorrow could be his first test...

Menchov, an enigma as always... His gap with 'el pistolero' has already become unsurmountable, so he will try to win a stage instead. The pyrenees are his terrain, and after the more gradual climbs, he has a good finish... The form (or focus, or motivation, or...) however is lacking.

Kreuziger, Pellizotti and Nibali
, the green engine that runs on gas, they could put on a 1-2-3 show to derail the Astana diesel.

Vandevelde had a seriously good TTT, so he seems to be doing fine, just like LL Sanchez. Efimkin on the other hand is the sly Eastern European who always manages to squeeze in a top 10 classification when the tough gets going.
 
Mar 15, 2009
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whiteboytrash said:
Five time Tour de France champion Bernard Hinault is backing Alberto Contador in his power struggle with Astana team mate Lance Armstrong. “If I were Contador, I would attack Armstrong tomorrow in the climb to Arcalis to set the record straight and show him who’s the boss,” he told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Which if Lance reads, will only make him want to win harder.

I think that the duel heightens interest in the race and if Astana is feeling OK then they ride together.
If Alberto has a chance to slay his out of team rivals then he goes full gas.

Its a hard climb for him. Steep at the bottom would be good to attack but he's not in the past been an attack at the bottom and stay away for 8 km kind of climber.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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byu123 said:
Damn . . . 4k of climbing at an over 8% average to get things started. Bring on the pain . . . time to seperate the contenders from the pretenders. Guess we will finally have an answer to how well "that old guy from Astana" has returned to form . . . or not.

Frankly one of the spectacles I am most interested in is Contador and A.Schleck mano a mano up a steep incline like this. Who comes out on top there is a toss up . . . . as of today at least.

I hope we see that battle. That would be a great spectacle.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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whiteboytrash said:
Five time Tour de France champion Bernard Hinault is backing Alberto Contador in his power struggle with Astana team mate Lance Armstrong. “If I were Contador, I would attack Armstrong tomorrow in the climb to Arcalis to set the record straight and show him who’s the boss,” he told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Not an Armstrong fan but can you imagine if Lance takes yellow and Hinault is doing the zipping? The word frosty comes to mind.

Hinault should just shut up at this point. It's unbecoming of a man in his position in the tour to be making comments like these.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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richwagmn said:
Not an Armstrong fan but can you imagine if Lance takes yellow and Hinault is doing the zipping? The word frosty comes to mind.

Hinault should just shut up at this point. It's unbecoming of a man in his position in the tour to be making comments like these.

Yeah . . . true d!ck head like Hinault can't help . . . ya know . . . being d!ck heads . . . even if it is unbecoming and everyone else sees it as such.
 
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richwagmn said:
Not an Armstrong fan but can you imagine if Lance takes yellow and Hinault is doing the zipping? The word frosty comes to mind.

Hinault should just shut up at this point. It's unbecoming of a man in his position in the tour to be making comments like these.

If it happens, lets hope whomever it is has more class than Ben Stiller
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He pouted almost the whole time.
 
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byu123 said:
Yeah . . . true d!ck head like Hinault can't help . . . ya know . . . being d!ck heads . . . even if it is unbecoming and everyone else sees it as such.

He and Mr Armstrong have much in common.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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Thoughtforfood said:
He and Mr Armstrong have much in common.

Never said "that old guy from Astana" was soft spoken . . . but Hinault makes him look like a humble saint. Did you read his rant a few weeks ago where he basically flamed everyone . . . including all of the French riders. Guy is an a$$ of the first degree.
 
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byu123 said:
Never said "that old guy from Astana" was soft spoken . . . but Hinault makes him look like a humble saint. Did you read his rant a few weeks ago where he basically flamed everyone . . . including all of the French riders. Guy is an a$$ of the first degree.

No, its like comparing apples to apples that came from the same tree, began growing at the same time, ripened exactly the same, and were picked the same day. To suggest that Lance has shown more class in his career in terms of his comments is to overlook his comments.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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Thoughtforfood said:
No, its like comparing apples to apples that came from the same tree, began growing at the same time, ripened exactly the same, and were picked the same day. To suggest that Lance has shown more class in his career in terms of his comments is to overlook his comments.

Yeah but if you go buy the cliche that . . . "you are only as good as your last game" . . . then "the old guy from Astana" wins hands down. He seems to have mellowed some if anything, and Hinault has seemed to become more of a jerk.