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One of the best tours ever coming up?

Apr 10, 2009
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think about it for sec,

the line up in the 2009 tour is going to be amazing! its going to be down to the wire no doubt! many sleepless nights during july but who do think will honestly win it? there is 10-15 guys who could all fire off a win, but will lance really take his 8th tour?

what are your thoughts? is it the best line-up we have seen in years?
 
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Anonymous

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erm... in a word.. no...

outside of astana i dont think there is a serious competitor.. not this year anyway.. i still think schleck is a couple of years away, cadel has always been a couple of years away, outside of astana i think the only team that is strong enough to support a leader throughout the three weeks is cervelho, but i think they will fall away...

frankly im uninspired unless something happens over the next couple of months to excite me... i do love the route though, and im dying for ventoux.. much better way to finish the tour than three or four flat days..

we have booked our hotel in paris though.. so i better start getting excited soon.. :D
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Personally, I think the only way to pick a winner for this years tour is to put all the names on a list, grab a pin, close your eyes, take a stab at the list and whatever name you stick the pin in is your winner! :)
 
majikat,

There is now a chance Armstrong will be banned.

Contador isn't building up for the Tour; He is built up and will stay built up. Armstrong pumps up Contador.

People like Christian VdV, Sastre, Evans Schleck etc. are not in the same race.

It may be a great tour. It may not. We'll watch anyway.

Astana could field 2 teams.

***One of the best things We can hope for is to see Armstong and Contador duke it out for 3 weeks on the same team. Their team may be strong enough to eliminate the competition enough to give those 2 room to brawl.

Oh that would be good.
 
I think it could go a few different ways. Dimspace, I'm choosing to be more optimistic than you and hope that it remains competitive. I think both Schlecks could be quite potent challengers (if they have an inspired time trial), and guys like Evans, Sastre, Menchov, Rogers, maybe VdV are all consistent and if they can catch a break or have on-fire form can really challenge Astana's on-paper dominance. But the really interesting thing for me is that the parcours don't have enough huge difference-making days to really eliminate the guys who are strong but not quite strong enough in the mountains... I mean, someone like Kirchen, or Sammy Sanchez, who wear out just a little too much in the mountains, can maybe be within a shout when the Ventoux rolls around and if either has a good day, can take it. Or who knows about guys like Gesink or Dekker? Basso, if he rides? Valverde, if he pulls a Houdini and escapes CONIs trap, would be a strong challenger.

Anyway, it's far too far away to really know what's going to go on. But I think back to 2007, where before the Tour I thought it'd for sure be a battle between Vinokourov and Valverde for the top 2 podium places, maybe gave Cadel a shot at the podium, but didn't even have Rasmussen or Contador or Levi on the radar screen. Just because Astana's good on paper, and because Contador looks like the real deal when it comes to Grand Tours, doesn't mean it's a foregone conclusion, is all I'm saying. The Tour often surprises.

Just my two cents.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I've said it before, in the opening prologue, both Contador and Leipheimer will beat Armstrong or even win, setting up the Astana team hierarchy for the rest of the race. Chances are Contador will dance away from the rest of the Astana team in Pyrynees, Alps and Ventoux. Contador will finish highest of the Astana boys. Whether this means that he wins the Tour, I don't know. All I do know is that I'm not betting on anybody other than Contador. :)

I see Leipheimer on the podium with probably LL Sanchez if he doesn't ride the Giro. A Schleck and Gesink are my outsiders to round out the top 5.

I am expecting this year's race to be as exciting as last year if not better. Certainly, making Ventoux the penultimate stage maintains the suspense right through to the end of the race. Good work, ASO.
 
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Anonymous

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oh i love the route, theyve done a great job in doing something different instead of the week of sprinting, alps, couple of flat days, pyranees, flat, time trial, paris approach... i love ventoux where it is, we have already figured which parisien bar we are going to waste a day of our holiday sat in watching it on the big screen (strangely to the amusement of most of the french who last year just poked there heads in, asked who was leading and wandered off again.. seems parisiens really arnt bothered by it.. maybe the lack of contender has put them off)

weve still got three months to go.. 12 weeks.. a lot can happen between now and then.. lets see how the contenders shape up over the next couple of months.. then ask me again
 
Mar 11, 2009
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majikat said:
think about it for sec,

the line up in the 2009 tour is going to be amazing! its going to be down to the wire no doubt! many sleepless nights during july but who do think will honestly win it? there is 10-15 guys who could all fire off a win, but will lance really take his 8th tour?

what are your thoughts? is it the best line-up we have seen in years?

If the French go ahead and punish Armstrong for him taking a shower after a ride I think the teams should boycott this race and let french amateur teams ride it. I'm no fan of Armstrong but this is absurd. How did the french press get ahold of it anyway?

The Giro is the race of the year, always has been. Better race, better place, better teams.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Pietro said:
The Giro is the race of the year, always has been. Better race, better place, better teams.

This is patent nonsense. The quality of the race and place is wholely subjective. Yes. there are great stages in both races and there is nothing to choose between two great countries. As for better teams, when people refer to The Tour, do they refer to the Giro? In Italy, perhaps. In the rest of the world, no. It's France. Pro cycling knows this. And are (non Italian) teams likely to send their best teams to the Giro over Le Tour? No.

For clarity, I prefer the RACING of the Classics.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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When I lived in France my neighbour wore yellow for 3 weeks and was glued to every stage - the crowds were huge every time the race came anywhere near our village (once came right past my front door) and were huge for any local race. Never extrapolate from Parisiens what the attitudes of most French people are ;)

Pietro, if you're saying that all riders should be able to break the rules as they like, why don't we just let them stuff themselves to the gills with PEDs and get on with it - WWF on wheels. The rules are there for a purpose - or is it just certain riders that should be able to get away with breaking them?

I like the route - and I think Prudhomme's parcours will only get better - still hoping he makes good on his suggestion that he would include Puy de Dome one year. It's always an interesting race to watch, often as much for the surrounding dramas as for the racing itself, for the morning pre race build up and the Velo Club gossip post race, for the Equipe coverage and the insights of Jaja on his moto. Perhaps if the Giro had been chosen to become the sports centrepiece in the 70s with the forced introduction of international fields then it would have outstripped the Tour. There's no doubt that the parcours and the racing in Italy are compelling but, like it or not, the Tour is the Blue Riband event of the sport
 
My feeling is also that the feeling I had before the tours of 2006, 2007, and 2008 were all better than what I'm feeling about this years tour.

I have a feeling the Astana team will control the race to much in the same way US postal/Discovery controlled the race for Armstrong in the past which in my mind lessens the fun in the race. Astana will set a high pace going into each mountain that will put preassure on the competitors to keep up. This leads to less attacks and thus less fun to watch.

In my mind the 1997 and 1998 tours (disregarding the scandals) were much more fun to watch than the 7 that followed and the last 3 years has brought that level of fun back that wasn't there during the Armstrong years. I'm afraid this year will go back to the same old boring calculated controlling racing that Bruyneels team is famous for.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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I will disagree with those saying that it is a foregone conclusion Astana will control things easily.
Rabobank will have a very strong team there and I think Menchov, who is a strong TT man, with the help of Gesink in the mountains, will be a match for the Astana boys.
Also, Evans will have Van den Broeck there with him, so he won't be able to say he's alone in the mountains.
I'd like to see how the younger Schleck will go. Sure, he can go in the big mountains, but can he limit his losses in the TTs?

Will it be the best Tour in years?
Probably better than the last three editions we had, and probably cleaner too.
 
Mar 12, 2009
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I think it's going to be great tour also, former winners X3 and some other notable podium finishes in the start list. and I wouldn't be 100% convinced Astana are going to dominate so much as people think, Saxo are looking strong also and this is the tour - it always suprises!
 
Apr 1, 2009
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To me, the best race would be the Giro route, in Belgium (because of the fanatic fans), with the field that only the Tour can bring, and the Phil Liggett commenting the race (screw bob roll)
The tour is a great race and the giro is a great race. they are just different. both are a circus though
 
Apr 1, 2009
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Dr. Wattini said:
To me, the best race would be the Giro route, in Belgium (because of the fanatic fans), with the field that only the Tour can bring, and the Phil Liggett commenting the race (screw bob roll)
The tour is a great race and the giro is a great race. they are just different. both are a circus though

Now, for real racing I pick the classics
 
As far as overall contenders we have the following:

Contador
Leipheimer
Armstrong
Menchov
Kirchen
Van De Velde
Schleck Andy
Evans
Sastre (if he rides, last thing I read he's racing Giro & Vuelta and skipping Le Tour)
Sanchez LL
Pereiro

I think that's just about everybody with a shot at the podium. A lot of pretty darn good riders - should be a good race.
 
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BikeCentric said:
As far as overall contenders we have the following:

Contador
Leipheimer
Armstrong
Menchov
Kirchen
Van De Velde
Schleck Andy
Evans
Sastre (if he rides, last thing I read he's racing Giro & Vuelta and skipping Le Tour)
Sanchez LL
Pereiro

I think that's just about everybody with a shot at the podium. A lot of pretty darn good riders - should be a good race.

podium.. yes...
overall....? i think betting on 9 of those would be wasting your money...
 
The last three Tours were close to the end, and had some dramatic racing. Unfortunately they were also badly tainted by doping.

My only complaint about the Tour (versus the Giro I suppose) is that the Tour seems to follow the same format nearly every year with where it places it's climbs and TT's. I also think they throw in too many long semi-flat stages, especially in the 2nd half of the race, that do almost nothing to GC - meaning the race is actually only decided on 4-5 stages.

In the last few Giros, the Italians have tried to do things like toss in some short uphill finishes at the end of a few more stages, encouraging GC contenders to mix it up more. It looks like this year's Vuelta is going to be the same way. Great course design by them this year, btw. The Giro also tosses mountain stages next to flat stages, next to TT's, then back to mountain stages, etc. Great anticipation as to what's coming up next.

To the Tour's credit, putting Ventoux where they did this year was brilliant. Should be fun to watch.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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I like the idea of a dark horse. Astana definitely has the odds in their favour, but are there too many cooks in the kitchen? Be great to see LA and AC duke it out. SaxoBank may have a strong enough team to set either of the Schleck brothers up and withstand the Astana onslaught, as long as Andy or Frank can keep pace in the TTs. I still don't think Cadel has a strong enough team, but who knows? I don't see Christian Vandevelde pulling another rabbit out of the hat. My dark horse - Michael Rogers. Highroad are a strong team and have been performing well all year. Rogers can climb and TT, he has the team to support him (as long as they do not expend too much energy in getting Cavendish to the line), and he has been getting decent results since returning from illness. Dark horse, but why not! As far as the most exciting tour, I doubt it considering the last three years have been nail biters in one way or another. Despite the way it turned out, I really enjoyed the 2006 TdF, particularly the comeback stage 17.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I'm content that there is a prologue and 20 great stages with the potential for a new "winner" every day. If one of those riders ends up on the podium, all the better. For me, a podium pick who never races to win so much as a stage makes for a less interesting Tour and a rider who's just a little "too safe" for my liking.

Hell, it's le Tour, anything can happen, and everyone deserves to be hopeful. Just don't be timid or ride with such calculation that watching le Tour morphs into watching paint dry <nudge-Leipheimer, really big nudge-Evans>. It's a race, after all.

Haven't quite got my picks sorted out yet, but I will tell you Astana is NO favorite of mine.
 
Ya, I'm expecting Columbia to have a fairly strong setup for the mountains. Rogers, Kirchen, Lövkvist, Monfort, Siutsou, Hincapie. Add to that Cavendish and a couple helpers like Eisel and Burghardt for him and you have their tour setup done.

The problem for them might be if they have anyone that can stay with the favourites in the long run. Last year Kirchen was able to stay with them on shorter climbs but got dropped on the big decisive climbs. Rogers might be a tad stronger so he might have a chance. I'm guessing if Rogers has a good tour he can break the top 5. Otherwise they might have to settle for a top 10 place and a couple more in the top 20.
 

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