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TDF Stage 17 - Thursday, July 22 2010, Pau - Col du Tourmalet, 174 km

.....

The Showdown



Moose McKnuckles said:
I don't think we've seen a single day this important in the Tour for a long time. .



Side note: This stage will take place on Thursday, but is being put up now because it is the main event.

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The moment weve all been waiting for. The ride onto the dreaded "col du Tourmalet"

The stage is set, and 4 champions remain.

For Andy Schleck, 25 years young, this is his last chance. He simply has to attack. He has come 2nd before, but it was never this close. Perhaps he wont come this close again. There will be no second chances. 2 minutes minimum is what he needs. Most doubt he has the strenght to do this.
But there is hope yet. He has been strong in the mountains. Perhaps strong enough. Dont forget he won his 1st grand tour stage a week ago. The mountains are his playground. He will be in no mood to lay down, not with the painful memory of 2 days previous still fresh in his mind. Perhaps this will prove to be enough to move the young Luxemburger into cycling history. THis will be hard. This will be painful. And make no mistake about it, if Schleck is to win, he will need to pry the yellow jersey from his rivals cold, dead hands.

And to win he will have to beat the one. The great champion of our time. He will have to beat the 4 time Grand tour winner, the man from madrid who has not been beaten in a GC battle yet, and perhaps never will. The defending champion. Alberto Contador Velasco. Make no mistake, it is he who is in pole position. Contador has been king of the mountains for the last 3 years. No one has come close to him. With the stage set on the Spanish border, he will be favourite to ride away from the competition and prove once again that he has simply to much class. But with his speciality the time trial coming up, might he hesitate to take that risk? For remember, he does not need to gain any time on his rival. Perhaps defense will be his best option. All he has to do is stay with his young pretender. If he can manage this he will only need to reach out his hand and a historic 5th grand tour will be his.

But there are others remaining in this race. For Dennis Menchov and Sammuel Sanchez, the maillot jaune was never a realistic possibility. And yet going into the big one, they lie a mere 2 minutes behind the leaders. The Russian knows what it takes to win grand tours. Hes done it before. The Time Trial might suit him more than the others. A podium spot at the very least seems to be his to lose. But dont rule out the Olympic Champion. In the deep dark mountains of the Basque country he is a hero. This is his territory. Early on, it was only he who managed to stay with the top 2. And in the last few days, there have been signs that these are the 2 riders peaking for the main event. They finished 15 seconds ahead of the top 2 on a lesser stage a few days ago. Could this be a sign of things to come. Or might their rivals commit the fatal mistake of only marking eachother. There are those who will be quick to pounce on such an event. There are more than 2 men in this race yet.


The stage is set.

Once all the dust is settled, once all the smoke is cleared... who will it be?
 
As far as I can see, Schleck has only one possible tactic. Send Voigt/Cancellara up the road, launch it on the Soulor and ge towed down the other side, then kill it up the Tourmalet. Then he may get enough time. Otherwise, it's Cancellara's Gruber Assist for the TT time.
 

ttrider

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Apr 23, 2010
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Its going to be very good!
No way Shleck can launch on the Soulor he even says himself hes focussing on the tourmalet....
Contador to be stronger though and win to give his overall victory the gloss it deserves, its his favorite climb and he can simply wait on Shlecks wheel and counter in the last km to win
 
May 13, 2009
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Last chance for AS to walk the walk. I am curious to see if he can actually drop Contador. Unless Contador bonks, I don't see him gaining 2 minutes. You never know, you need 21 good days to win this thing but only 1 bad day to lose it.
 
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Contador seemed to really get strong after the last rest day. I think there is a better chance of Schleck cracking than AC giving up more than 10-15 seconds.

I could see Contador and Schleck dropping everyone, with AC not competing for the stage at the end. Perhaps even giving up the jersey by a few seconds.
 
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AC is not close to his form of last year but it should be good enough to resist Andy's attacks. I expect them to come across the line together. If AC is feeling good, though, after Andy's first couple of attacks, I expect him to go for it.

One thing's for sure, this stage will not live up to the hype.
 
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Moondance said:
Dark-horse pick for Jurgen Van den Broeck.

i think he attacks first. he has absolutely nothing to lose, i don't think he'll be dissapointed if he lose a couple of places in gc. 5 or 7, makes no sense
 
Dekker_Tifosi said:
For the stage, maybe, but if you want a good outside bet I'd say Menchov.

The way he has been riding lately seems to suggest he actually peaked at the right time and he could actually follow accelerations by Contador and Schleck. He might suprise.

Although that may be a function of how far down he is on GC relative to AC. Though I suspect, knowing AC, he's not going to want to leave things to chance. He's going to follow wheels and then counter-attack and try to get a gap.

Frankly, barring a hunger knock or a post-rest day bad day (and that is the REAL risk for all of them), he's in a pretty good position (he doesn't have to attack, just follow).
 
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Schleck will win this I think. And if it isn't Schleck then it's either Contador or a breakaway that will succeed again.

Oh, and Thor is going to do a pussy break away on the first climb to get those points.
 
Nickbeam said:
i think he attacks first. he has absolutely nothing to lose, i don't think he'll be dissapointed if he lose a couple of places in gc. 5 or 7, makes no sense
On the contrary, if you watch his interviews Vandenbroeck has been saying he doesn't want to risk anything and not lose his place.
He doesn't look to top 3 and beyond places. Vandenbroeck is more interested in keeping his place and riding on his own limit, not beyond...
 
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Dekker_Tifosi said:
On the contrary, if you watch his interviews Vandenbroeck has been saying he doesn't want to risk anything and not lose his place.
He doesn't look to top 3 and beyond places. Vandenbroeck is more interested in keeping his place and riding on his own limit, not beyond...

i've read his interviews, but u know, i kinda don't believe the GC men anymore :)
 
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What a shame that we are already at the last mountain stage with the most decisive moments so far being Contadors involvement in a crash and Schleck not able to shift gears properly....bzzzz
However, Schleck needs a hot pace from the start and should push already at the Soulor, no way that he is gonna jump away from a fresh Contador on the Tourmalet.
 
ttrider said:
What about Samuel Sanchez he was dropped at one point today is that an indicator of his form? I can see him going backwards

Depends. How well does he recover after today's effort and tomorrow's rest day. But it certainly is possible. I think Menchov and Sanchez will be gapped by the changes in rhythm that result from Andy's repeated attacks. It will be an AC/AS battle royale. Just curious at what point he launches his attack...
 
Sophistic said:
What a shame that we are already at the last mountain stage with the most decisive moments so far being Contadors involvement in a crash and Schleck not able to shift gears properly....bzzzz
However, Schleck needs a hot pace from the start and should push already at the Soulor, no way that he is gonna jump away from a fresh Contador on the Tourmalet.

He doesn't have a team capable of doing that. If the pace gets too hot, he'll be isolated.
 
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Honestly, I am more looking forward to Charteau-Moreau showdown on Marie Blanque and Soulor.

Well, actually Astana can blow everyone apart on Marie Blanque. That climb is very steep.
 
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Publicus said:
Although that may be a function of how far down he is on GC relative to AC. Though I suspect, knowing AC, he's not going to want to leave things to chance. He's going to follow wheels and then counter-attack and try to get a gap.

Frankly, barring a hunger knock or a post-rest day bad day (and that is the REAL risk for all of them), he's in a pretty good position (he doesn't have to attack, just follow).

Poor Schleck (Schlepp)! He will have the rare opportunity to drag everyone up the final climb and shake hands with them at the end. Last year, he had his brother Frank. It was Frank, Andy, and Contador. This year it will be Andy, Contador, Menchov and Sanchez. The final tally will be Contador, Sanchez, and Menchov, and What was his name? There is no way that Sanchez is going to let Menchov get away from him. The time trial adds a bit of uncertainty, since it suits Menchov some what better, but Sanchez has heart and will try to do his best. Sanchez's effort in the time trial may be good enough but Menchov may squeak bye. Either one deserves it but both will be on the podium. I do not think that Schleck will be a factor anymore. I do not think that I appreciated his attitude very much, whereas I previously thought he had more character than what he has shown. Sneaking in to 5th will be Rodriquez and if Schleck drops another shift or two, then Rodriquez may move in to fourth, especially if Rodriquez gains time on the Tourmalet, which is unlikely but possible.
 
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reubenr said:
Poor Schleck (Schlepp)! He will have the rare opportunity to drag everyone up the final climb and shake hands with them at the end. Last year, he had his brother Frank. It was Frank, Andy, and Contador. This year it will be Andy, Contador, Menchov and Sanchez. The final tally will be Contador, Sanchez, and Menchov, and What was his name? There is no way that Sanchez is going to let Menchov get away from him. The time trial adds a bit of uncertainty, since it suits Menchov some what better, but Sanchez has heart and will try to do his best. Sanchez's effort in the time trial may be good enough but Menchov may squeak bye. Either one deserves it but both will be on the podium. I do not think that Schleck will be a factor anymore. I do not think that I appreciated his attitude very much, whereas I previously thought he had more character than what he has shown. Sneaking in to 5th will be Rodriquez and if Schleck drops another shift or two, then Rodriquez may move in to fourth, especially if Rodriquez gains time on the Tourmalet, which is unlikely but possible.

I don't know if Andy can drop Contador. I can possibly envision Menchov on a good day sticking with Andy. But if Andy attacks the climb rather then playing cat and mouse with Contador, there is zero chance that he won't podium at the finish of the Tour... and it's very unlikely he won't get 2nd.

He's going to try to drop Contador... but if he doesn't he's going to work to consolidate second place. He's not in a polition to mess around anymore.
 
Yeah, Astana should send him up the road if Saxo try something.

Just hoping that Menchov can hang in there. Schleck is riding to protect second rather than try for first.

Otherwise, another French mountain victory? Clean sweep of the Pyrenees :p Be good if Moreau gets away for the early climbs to take polka dots in his last Tour.