.: LarsonsWorld :.
just another persons waste of time
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others,
are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
.: Tour de France Archive :.
(2003 - 2010 Archives)
26 July 2007
.: reactions to the latest scandal to hit this years tdf :.
As team Rabobank sits on the back of the peloton today with no ambition left, in fact Menchov just stopped riding today, the papers are going crazy with news items. In fact, many are calling for the Tour to close shop and call it done. A sad state of affairs for the grandaddy of the classic tours.
Menchov quits as Rasmussen hits back - Eurosport/Yahoo
Top Rabobank rider Denis Menchov has abandoned the Tour de France as former team-mate and Michael Rasmussen protested his innocence. The Dane, who led the race by over three minute, was sacked by his team late on Wednesday for lying about his training whereabouts.
The Rabobank team, said by a spokesman to be "confused, angry and sad", met late into Wednesday evening to determine whether to continue the Tour.
... He (Rasmussen) told Danish tabloid BT: "I am shattered. I am on the verge of tears. I was not in Italy. Not at all. That's the story of one man who believes he recognised me. There is no hint of evidence.
Read on ...
One French newspaper ran a mock obituary for the scandal-tainted Tour de France. Another said the race had become a joke and should be canceled.
France reeled Thursday from the news that race leader Michael Rasmussen had been ousted by his team for lying about his whereabouts during pre-race training, the third blow this week to the venerable 104-year-old Tour. In recent days, two riders — including star Alexandre Vinokourov — were thrown out because of positive drug tests.
France Soir newspaper ran a mock death notice for the Tour de France on its cover. It said the tour died Thursday "at age 104, after a long illness."
Liberation newspaper's editorial read: "The Tour must be stopped."
"This procession of cyclists has been transformed into a caravan of ridicule," Liberation wrote. "If the organizers really want to save cycling, they should stop the competition and declare a pause of a few years, enough time to treat these athletes-turned-druggies."
L'Equipe sports daily, by contrast, was more positive, saying the blow was an opportunity for organizers to clean up the Tour de France — "but the Tour must seize it quickly."
Read on ...
Despite extreme doping scandals and waning interest at home in the Tour de France, U.S. sponsors are more hesitant than their European counterparts to drop ties to the world's largest cycling event.
Sponsorship is key to the Tour de France - a symbiotic relationship exists between the teams and cyclists desperate for funding and the corporations eager for exposure. Few images of the Tour are absent a company name emblazoned on a bike, jersey, helmet or team van.
But the race hit a doping high Wednesday when race leader Michael Rasmussen was removed after winning the day's stage, at the order of the Dutch team sponsor Rabobank. The Cofidis squad also confirmed its rider Cristian Moreni of Italy had failed a doping test, prompting the withdrawal of the entire Cofidis squad.
Read on ...
25 July 2007
.: holy shit! can things get any stranger? :.
After 10 days in the yellow jersey, Michael Rasmussen appeared to have beaten back all challengers in his pursuit of the top spot on the Tour de France's final podium in Paris this coming Sunday.
On Wednesday, he handily dispatched his nearest challenger - Discovery Channel's Alberto Contador - winning the Tour's most difficult stage and adding to his already-formidable lead as the race made its final trip into the mountains.
But Rasmussen was apparently unable to defeat the growing skepticism surrounding his performance and his behavior over the past few months. On Wednesday evening, when the Dane should have been celebrating his all-but-certain victory, his own team withdrew him from the Tour and fired him.
"He broke team rules," explained Rabobank spokesman Jacob Bergsma, who said team officials believed Rasmussen had lied to them regarding his whereabouts in June of this year, when UCI and Danish Cycling Federation officials had been unable to locate the rider for out-of-competition testing.
Read on ...
Cofidis can't win for losing - VeloNews
Italian rider Cristian Moreni woke up Wednesday just five days away from finishing the Tour de France as a member of the French Cofidis team - one of seven teams that had just announced a new rider's organization geared towards cleaning up the sport, and kicked off its existence with an anti-doping protest at the start of stage 16.
Moreni ended his day in the back of a police car at the top of the Col d'Aubisque, charged with using testosterone and breaking France's tough laws against using and trafficking in doping products. The 35-year-old former Italian champion admitted to administering himself with a synthetic version of the male sex hormone and did not ask for his B sample to be tested. Moreni tested positive following stage 11 in Montpellier. He's now out of the Tour, and expected to be out of a job as well.
The contrast of Cofidis riders protesting the use of doping products at the start of the stage with the image of Moreni leaving the race in police custody seven hours later was just another unimaginable moment in a Tour de France that seems to grow more surreal by the hour.
Read on ...
CyclingNews reports Cofidis withdrawing from the tour.
Man, can you believe this? At some point you have to wonder when the professional cycling collapses on itself. If the powers to be in the sport ever want the sport to be big in the US they better get this under control.
Hey .. wait a minute ... scandal, lies, drugs, police searches, accusations ... maybe if they can just get Paris Hilton and Linsey Lohan involved, this could just be the thing to get America drooling over it.
Can't wait to see what ticketmaster/bike news reader has to say.
24 July 2007
.: vino' -
amazing recovery man :.
Double stage victor Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)learned Tuesday that he had tested positive for homologous blood doping following his victory in last Saturday's stage 13 individual time trial.
Vinokourov and his Astana team have reportedly withdrawn from the Tour.
The 33-year-old had lost all chance of winning the Tour with a dismal performance in Sunday's 14th stage but then bounced back to take Monday's 15th stage in the Pyrenees.
Read on ...
Hmm ... this reminds me of something ... what could it be ... oh yea, I remember now, last years TDF winner and his amazing ride back into contention.
This is just what the sport of cycling needs to help its already cloudy reputation. Nice going Vino'.
Here is an article also from VeloNews, written in 2004 during the Tyler Hamilton controversy explaining what blood doping is:
Astana manager trusts test more than Vino' - VeloNews/Agence France Presse
Astana team manager Marc Biver said he had confidence in the blood doping test which has snared his star rider Alexander Vinokourov and caused a scandal at the Tour de France.
Biver was speaking only hours after being told that 33-year-old team leader Vinokorov, the winner of two stages on this year's race, had tested positive for homologous blood doping.
If a test on his 'B' sample also tests positive, it means that Vinokourov has injected red blood cells from a compatible donor to enhance his performance.
"We can't condemn Alexandre until we know there has been a clear doping violation, and we have to wait for the result of the 'B' sample," said Biver. "But for us, if his 'A' sample tested positive then he is guilty until the 'B' sample proves otherwise."
Read on ...
lol ... be sure to read the comments - they are classic
23 July 2007
.: vino - amazing recovery man :.
I was hoping for Vino yesterday, especially after his time trial, but it was not to be. So, watching today, I was amazed at his recovery to win the stage. You have to give him credit for shear determination.
I can't wait to watch on Wednesday to find out how Vino does along with the new Disco boy Contador and his battle with Rasmussen.
19 July 2007
.: fact and fiction on doping and athletic performance :.
Doping in Bicycle Racing - Fact and Fiction - dailypeloton.com
We are being harassed almost daily by news stories about professional bicycle racers cheating by using illegal drugs to increase athletic performance. These news stories have resulted in a general acceptance by many people that drugs can really improve athletic performance. Many amateur athletes now use these drugs, sometimes with devastating results.
What are the facts about doping and athletic performance in the Tour de France? Is there a magic potion that can turn weak little Asterix into a superhuman athlete who can win the Tour de France?
Bjarne Riis admitted, in May 2007, to using erythropoietin in the 1996 Tour de France when he was the overall winner. The administrators of the Tour de France have stripped him of his title because of his admission. Did erythropoietin really help Bjarne Riss win the Tour de France?
Read on ...
14 July 2007
.: finally, first 2007 tdf post :.
Lets see, it is day 7 of the Tour de France and I am finally watching a bit of the racing this morning on VS. The tour has hit the beginning of the Alps, ahh, the mountain stages. I really haven't followed the tour this past week, so I have some to burn some midnight oil to catch up and find out what is happening.
It has been fun listening to Phil and Paul again.
The weather was balmy, the course beautiful, the race exciting, but the crowds in Burgundy were generally small for the fifth stage of the Tour de France.
That does not mean, however, that the Tour is not alive and well in the heart of the country.
One explanation for the sparse turnout in three days so far in France is that the Tour has been traversing regions that do not attract vacationers, the usual bulk of spectators. A test of that theory will come in the Alps, starting on Saturday, and in the south next week.
For now, however, as it passed through villages so remote that cellphones went blessedly dead, the Tour showed on Thursday that, despite all the doping scandals and suspicions surrounding bicycle racing, it retains its traditional grip on such places as Lormes, population 1,300, most of whom turned out to celebrate the race's visit.
Read on ...
Casey Gibson takes the best photos!
20 July 2006
.: beer is good food :.
In one of the most audacious and bravest rides seen in the modern era of the Tour de France, Phonak's American rider Floyd Landis turned the despair of his stage 16 implosion into a stage-winning breakaway that put him back into the role of favorite to win this extraordinary race.
Landis stunned Tour de France observers when he lost more than 10 minutes on the slopes to La Toussuire on Wednesday; but they were floored by his performance in Thursday's 200.5km stage from St. Jean de Maurienne to Morzine, the last day in the Alps.
It was an attack that stemmed from a quiet beer Landis shared with team manager John Lelangue on Wednesday night, when the pair resolved that the Tour was "not over." Landis, still glowing with a winner's look, even joked about that beer during his post-race press conference
Asked about his constant calls for extra water during Thursday's stage, run in searing conditions, he said, "It was very hot. Maybe that was the explanation or maybe it was the beer I had last night."
I can't wait to catch the time trial on Saturday. It could be a very interesting one to watch.
And as Ben Franklin said: Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
~ ~ ~ ~
Friday's Foaming Rant: Beer me, Floyd - an excellent report filed by Patrick O’Grady, VeloNews editor at large, asking the question we all want answered; what kind of beer did Floyd have on Wednesday evening?
19 July 2006
.: a tough day in the saddle for all :.
More than half the peloton is totally fatigued. That was confirmed on Wednesday's epic stage up the Galibier, Télégraphe, Glandon, Croix-de-Fer and Mollard passes before the death march to the 5595-foot summit of La Toussuire. If the normal time cut of 12 percent had been applied, only 67 riders would be left in the race. The other 80 finishers were outside the 40:20 time limit, so the race officials again used a little-known UCI rule to increase the time cut by 2 percent to 47:03.
09 July 2006
.: tour tech :.
Check out PezCycling's look at this years TT bikes.
04 July 2006
.: a hand thor? :.
Someone offers one of the PMU green hans to Hushovd prior to stage 2. Thor has said he was actually cut by a camera.
03 July 2006
.: recent cycling/tdf stuff :.
Breaking Away - Early on, Floyd Landis Learned the Last Shall Be First. Then Came the Tour de France. - Washington Post
Hincapie relished time in yellow - VeloNews
Big George in Yellow. An interesting thread on the BBC message board about George. There are some rather opinionated people posting there
.: tour photographs :.
Be sure to check out GrahamWatson.com for his photos from Le Tour.
02 July 2006
.: tdf - stage 01 :.
What? Last year he won his first stage and this year after the first stage he is in the maille jaune? Way to go George! Now you get to learn about keeping it and the pressure that goes with it. I beleive he has a good friend whom he can talk to about these pressures.
From his post race interview
I was very disappointed to lose yesterday by such a small margin. I
couldn’t sleep last night because I was thinking of everything that I
could have done to improve on my time.
To get the yellow jersey today today is a great honour and I’m really pleased with that it all came together.
With the breakaway gone, we didn’t think about chasing time bonuses. I knew that, coming into the finish, the sprinters teams would be in control and saving themselves for the final sprint so I thought, ‘Why not try?’ And it was a good decision (to chase the time bonuses at the intermediate sprint with nine kilometers to go).
I knew I was less than a second behind in the general classification and to get two seconds was all I needed.
I started off the tour in great shape and I’ve never has the opportunity to lead a team. I don’t know what to expect but I know that anything is possible, there’s not reason to set limits. I don’t know how I’ll respond but I’ll just hope for the best.
© Graham Watson
Although Thor Hushovd's injury looked bad, current news stories are now say it is not that bad. As a result of his injuries the PMU cardboard hands are now ging to be banned in the last 2 kilometers of the race.
That is unfortunently one stain that may not come out of the maille jaune, so sad.
.: tour de doping? :.
© Casey Gibson
With all the recent doping news these past few days, I am sure we will be seeing a few signs like this for the next 3 weeks.
31 July 2005
.: la vie en jaune :.
© Jeff Parker - Florida Today - 07.25.2005
25 July 2005
.: number 7 :.
24 July 2005
.: license plate :.
Check out the license plate on the Discovery Subaru. Number 7!
23 July 2005
.: the icons :.
Here are the 10//2 icons that have been on Lance's bike since stage 15. 26 icons where designed by Futura that where then developed into 40 symbols by Mike Smith at Nike. All the symbols are on the solid TT wheel Lance used in the prologue. He didn't use the solid wheel today because of the winds on the course.
Set #1 - Stage 15
* Lance grew up in a trailer park, in Texas, he got cancer - when he learned to LiveStrong, he received chemotherapy, how close to death he came, he wins in Paris less than 3 years after being diagnosed with cancer.
Set #2 - Stage 16
* Stage 10 (Lourdes to Hautacam) was a pivotal day, Lance finished second on the day to Atxoa but went several minutes up on his rivals, it was rainy weather, it was cold as well, the effort put Lance in yellow, it was a difficult day that cracked many of his rivals
Set #3 - Stage 17
* His son Luke, his three children - Luke, Isabelle and Grace, 3 children + 3 wins = six sides?, Isabelle, Isabelle and Grace are twins, Grace. Of note also in this set is that the number 3 is pink, an homage to Jan Ullrich and his pink uniformed Telekom / T-Mobile team.
Set #4 - Stage 18
Lance is the Sheriff / Patron of the Peloton, the vaunted Blue Train, Lance is the king of American Tour cyclists notching his 4th victory, (not sure about the heart and eye), and he needs 1 more Tour win to join the club of 5
Set #5 - Stage 19
An homage to the 2003 Tour de France: Luz Ardiden, bad weather, Lance got angry, off-road to avoid the Beloki crash, five wins, he joins the “club” of men with 5 Tour victories
Set #6 - Stage 20
An homage to the 2004 Tour de France: July 21 was the Alp d'Huez TT, Lance did it in 39'41", he locked up the race, it's the first time anyone has won 6 times, he's the King of the TdF, 6 wins!
** Update **
Set #7 - Stage 21
An homage to all 7 wins. The last one is the number 7 and a walking cane. Can you say retirement?
.: george's new helmet :.
Here is the helmet that Lance has given to George as a gift for all his support over the years.
.: can't say it better :.
© Friedemann Vogel
17 July 2005
.: don't try this at home :.
How to get run over in the Tour de France
Ouch, that must have left a mark!
This is why these crazy fools who run with the riders need to be more careful.
.: holy crap, hincapie wins! :.
© Graham Watson
For the first time since 1999 a team mate of Lance Armstrongs has won a stage in the Tour de France. And how appropriate that it is his loyal lieutenant George Hincapie, the man that has been by Lances side for all 6 of his tour wins and what could be his 7th win.
"I'm really in a state of shock," said Hincapie, who said he had originally set out with the idea of helping Armstrong on the final climbs but decided otherwise once his breakaway group's lead had grown to 18 minutes.
"I just thought I would wait for Lance when he needed me, but once we got an 18-minute break I spoke to (team manager) Johan (Bruyneel) and he told me the peloton probably wouldn't be coming back and just told me to go for it. From then on I was just thinking about going for the win."
"I knew Pereiro was strong and that Boogerd was a good climber, but I also knew that the day I was pulling on the Galibier they weren't there," said Hincapie, referring to his efforts in the Alps a few days ago and why he didn't take any pulls today.
05 July 2005
.: the disco boys to it again :.
For Team Discovery it was a three-peat, although this time it was a bit closer than ever before. The Disco boys eeked out a 2 second win over CSC in the TTT today, which put Lance in the maillot jaune.
Discovery's efforts over the course in 1hr 10min 39secs, an average speed of 57.32 km/h, smashed the previous record (54.930 kmh) for a team time trial set by Gewiss-Ballan in 1995.
I feel sorry for David Zabriskie with his fall 1.5 km from the finish line. The poor guy. Had he only made it the officials would have had to go to 100's or 1000's of a second to figure who would be wearing yellow at the end of the day. He ended up losing 1:28 with his fall. The kid is going to be sore tomorrow, did you check out that road rash on his thigh. Ouch doesn't do it justice.
For CSC team manager Bjarne Riis, the team was simply unlucky. "This is a lousy way to lose the stage, and the yellow jersey," said Riis. "David's in a lot of pain, but I don't know how bad he's hurt. We'll see that later."; "We're disappointed. We should have won the stage and kept the jersey."; "Let's say that Armstrong and his Discovery team were luckier than we were."
OK, I'm ready for the mountains now, this flat stuff is getting boring! Athough, I will give you this, the sprints at the end of these stages are crazy. Man, it is just a jungle in there with those guys. That whole McEwen thing yesterday leaning so far into O'Grady was nuts. It looked like he wanted to rest his head on O'Gradys' shoulder and take a nap he was so far over on him. Boys will be boys.
Let's see in 4 days we start to see some mountains and in 7 days the Alps are fully upon the boys on bikes. I can't wait.
03 July 2005
.: boonen outsprints mcewen for stage win :.
I guess that tooth wasn't that bad. Tom Boonen who threatened not to race in this years tour wins todays stage in a mad sprint at the end beating out Robbie McEwen and Thor Hushovd. I think Robbie thought he had it there for a few seconds, but Tom, riding on McEwens wheel, put on a big burst of speed and went right by Robbie.
Thomas Voelker, last years tour surprise, was part of a four man breakaway that was caught with about 6 km to go.
It will be interesting to see how long Bjarne Riis lets his CSC team defend the maillot jaune in the days to come. It's good press, but you don't want to wear out the team before the mountains arrive. As an interesting side note - they are getting ready to renew the cycling teams contract with CSC in the months to come.
.: tdf bingo :.
Here are two links for bingo cards while watching OLN's coverage of the tour:
This one is for Phil, Paul and Bobke
This one is just for Phil and Paul
.: jan's journal :.
Jan writes about yesterday and being passed by Lance.
02 July 2005
.: tdf stage 1 - the line is drawn :.
Well stage #1 is over and the big story is whether Jans Tour is already over. Lance was impressive today with his leaving Jan in his wake. It was an amazing performance. I wonder what was going through the "Kaisers" mind at that point let alone what his team manager was screaming in his ear? I doubt either where pleasant, happy thoughts. Lance definitely sent a loud message to his rivals and laid down the gauntlet. One thing to remember, yesterday Jan crashed into the rear window of his team car while scouting todays route. He did say his injuries where minor.
Check out George coming in 4th, a pretty good run for him. With Lance coming in second the Disco boys can "relax" and let CSS defent the maillot jaune for the first few days.
Stage 1 - results
1. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC, 19km in 20:51 (54.676kph)
2. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, at 00:02
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), T-Mobile, at 00:53
4. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, at 00:57
5. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), Credit Agricole, at 00:59
6. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak, at 1:02
7. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), Fassa Bortolo, at 1:02
8. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at 1:04
9. Vladimir Karpets (Rus), Illes Balears, at 1:05
10. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Sp), Liberty Seguros, at 1:06
16 February 2005
.: lance will race in tour again :.
Lance Armstrong has ended speculation, announcing he will race in this year's Tour de France.
Armstrong plans to start his season early next month in the Paris-Nice seven-day stage race. He will then compete in the Tour of Flanders on April 3, before returning to the United States to defend his title at the Tour de Georgia that month.
Armstrong says he is excited to get back on the bike and start racing, though he said his condition is far from perfect. This year's Tour de France, where he will aim for a seventh straight victory, begins on July 2 and features 21 stages covering nearly 3,600 kilometers.
07 November 2004
.: armstrong could opt out of Tour :.
Six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has hinted he could miss this year's race.
Armstrong has not competed since his last Tour win and opted to miss out on the Olympics in Athens, leading to speculation over his long-term future.
And he told l'Equipe newspaper: "Honestly, I don't know whether I'll be at the start of the Tour.
"This year, I achieved a dream. I won a sixth Tour and I made history. Now it's time to try something else."
Armstrong's team boss Johan Bruyneel earlier said the Texan's chances of going for win number seven were a "50-50 possibility".
But Armstrong said: "There are a lot of other things I'd like to accomplish on a bike before I retire. And I tell myself 2005 could be the right time to give it a try.
"I prefer for it to be flexible for I want to be free to decide at any given time about my participation in any given race.
"If it's the Tour, then I'll make a decision when it suits me. It'll be the same for Paris-Roubaix."
From: BBC Sport
08 August 2004
.: hinault analyses armstong era - interview :.
As of July 25, 2004, Bernard Hinault is no longer the Tour de France's most-wins master. Hinault -- along with fellow five-time winners Jaques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain -- has been supplanted by the six-win-and-counting performance of American Lance Armstrong. How's Hinault handling it? In an exclusive interview, The Badger tells all.
Bernard, what memories will you keep from this Tour de France?
Great memories. Armstrong, of course, who ruled this race. Virenque as well, who secured a seventh polka-dot jersey -- another never-done-before feat. I'll also remember the resurgence of a younger generation. The future of the sport, and in particular [Thomas] Voeckler, who put on great show.
Was Armstrong too strong or were his rivals too weak?
It's tough to say. Who's too strong, who's weaker than they should be? It's difficult to calculate. There's no tool for measuring the differences mathematically. The bottom line is that Armstrong dominated the race. And he did it with panache, winning stages and proving that he's the boss of the peloton.
Outside of Armstrong, did the final podium surprise you?
Yes, absolutely. No one thought Kloden was capable of finishing second at the Tour de France. The same goes for Basso. Now, we have to hope that both these riders -- plus all those who were sub-par this year -- stay in top form for 2005. We need a good show next year.
There are those who say that even if Armstrong has now won six Tours de France, he can't be compared with you or Eddy Merckx. All he does is the Tour, while you raced everything from February to October...
It's impossible to compare the two eras. The riders are different, roads are different, it's not the same technology nor the same training techniques. How can you compare the era of Merckx to the modern day? It's impossible. Armstrong is the king of his era, like Merckx was the king of his era and Anquetil before him.
Will Armstrong be back in 2005, and if so, who can beat him?
I think he'll be back at the Tour next year. At least I hope he'll be back. Right now, it's difficult to peg his adversaries. There are a few up-and-coming prospects: Cunego in Italy, Valverde in Spain. Kloden will have gained confidence, as will Basso. And maybe Ullrich will re-find his physical peak. There are a lot of pretenders to Armstrong's throne.
Was the 2004 Tour de France lacking in suspense? Did you find it boring?
If you were bored at this race it means you don't like cycling. Me, I'm never bored because there's always something interesting going on. Everyday there's something that reminds me why I love this sport.
Eurosport - Interview by Stefano Bernabino - 26/07/2004
27 July 2004
.: tdf 2004 :.
Underconstruction, but viewable, is an area for Tour de France items. Currently there all the stage results from this year and photos from last year. I am organizing my collection of this years photos and that could take a week or so to get the pages built. I will be adding articles and quotes soon.
Tour de France Index
.: LiveStrong 6 :.
25 July 2004
.: henri leconte article in le monde :.
The following is a rough translation of a Henri Leconte, a French tennis great, article from Le Monde. It is a tribute to Lance and more or less calls the media a disgrace in the way they negatively portray Lance.
Armstrong seen by Henri Leconte: a man a lot of humor
For me, Lance Armstrong is someone that practices a sport of high level, that fought against the disease and that the overcame. But this is especially someone of absolutely normal one. A man more very kinder, more generous and more respectful of the others. This someone of fantastic one and the picture carried by the media seems me totally false. This picture of distant man is very moved away from reality: he has the heart on the hand and his engagement in the fight against the cancer proves it.
His fight against this disease is a true life lesson. As a friend, I think that his victory against the cancer will remain his bigger victory all current. He proves that, for himself some go out, it is necessary always there to believe and be able to surpass himself.
The attitude of the media following his personal problems the a lot disappointed. Today, this is a man that protects itself from media excesses. I had the same problem with the press: this one does not describe us as us are in the true life. Of all manner, the athletic ones that evolve to the highest level always are criticized.
Launch speaks very well the French, this that is rare with the athletic Americans. He had the decency to learn our language. Besides, he always liked France. When he lived with his first woman, he passed several months per year in France. Remainder, loves the French cooking.
I met him four years ago, to Monaco, and we got along right away. The people do not know it, but Lance has a lot of humor. This is a very funny man. At the time of roland-garros, while I had just passed to the antenna, he sent me a texto: "Not poorly the look!"
Lance is a cyclist out of the ordinary in his manner to pedal: he grinds enormously in comparison with the others. His five victories in the France Tour, this is something magic! Person did not again win a sixth France Tour. If he there reaches, it is exceptional. And this do I wish to him.
18 July 2004
.: q and a with bernard hinault :.
An interview with Bernard Hinault is in the July 26th issue of Newsweek. Check out this response to the a question about Greg LeMonds recent comments:
Q: Your former teammate Greg LeMond told French daily Le Monde last week that Armstrong "would do anything to keep his secret" about what he's on, and why whatever it might be has never been detected. What is your feeling on this?
A: This is something that keeps coming back, and I think that some of it may be linked to LeMond's jealousy of Armstrong. The fact is that Armstrong has never tested positive. And as long as you don't have evidence I don't see how you can accuse him
.: johan bruyneel article :.
17 July 2004
.: oh, leave me alone lance :.
Check out this article on George Hincapie. It has this great quote:
The one time it's truly tough is when we're on some of the Tour's steeper climbs, I'll be helping Lance out early on and he'll be wanting to lift the tempo even further.
You know you need to but your body's just saying: "Oh, leave me alone Lance."
.: "el jefe" takes the stage :.
Up at 4:30 am to get ready for the big last Pyrenees stage this morning.
Was it worth it. Oh, Yea!
But the day started off sad with Tyler Hamilton parking his bike because of back pain from his fall. This has not been a good week for him.
I have to say those boys in blue showed stellar organization for the nth day in a row. Just an amazing performance and self sacrifice they all put in for Lance.
Then there is that one Thomas "The Yo-Yo" Voeckler. He's dropped, he climbs back! He's dropped, he climbs back! He's dropped, he climbs back! That Maillot Jaune is kind of like "The Force" I think!
Ivan Basso has truly become an up and coming star of the tour in the years to come. Not bad for a guy who hadn't won a stage or race in a couple years. Good call by Riis as everyone is saying.
Now I just have to figure out how to call in sick for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I guess I should have planned this July out a little better.
At the end of the climb you could tell Lance was all prepared to win the stage, he zipped up his jersey a few hundred meters from the line.
Todays finish with zipped jersey:
Yesterdays finish with unzipped jersey:
You make the call.
16 July 2004
.: big days ahead :.
Well the Pyrenees are finally here. These next two days at the tour shall be interesting to watch, that is for sure. Does Lance still have it? Can his team give him the support that he needs? Will Jan or Tyler or somebody else finally upset him? Time can only tell.
I have the VCR going and can't wait to get home tonight and watch the results. I am just having problems watching OLN's primetime coverage will Al and Bob. Phil and Bob, I feel, do such a better job of commentating on the race.
13 July 2004
.: q and a with lance :.
from Belgian TV:
Question: You seem very relaxed after the difficult first week?
Lance Armstrong: "More relaxed because it's over, not because I'm more relaxed in general, just glad it's over, I'm glad we didn't have any major problems. Yesterday was a bit stressful with the long stage, the long transfer, but so far, so good."
Q: Has the Tour just begun?
LA: "The first week is finally over and we can worry about the hard stages now."
Q: The harder stages are coming now, is the day after La Mongie is harder?
LA: "It's definitely harder than La Mongie. That stage is not so difficult, especially compared to the day after."
Q: Tyler Hamilton, your fellow American, just a few seconds behind, and Jan Ullrich, who do you fear the most?
LA: "I still fear Ullrich the most. He's the one with the most experience and the most desire to succeed this year. I don't know why, but to me he's the biggest threat and the one to watch the closest. I'm glad we have a bit of a cushion on both of those guys. I would not want to be in the reverse position and have to make up a minute on Ullrich. We have a bit of a cushion and we can be more conservative in the mountains and we'll see what happens. We'll still attack if we have to attack."
Q: The team has ridden perfect.
LA: "The team is great, better than ever. Chechu, Jose is great, George is like always. It's a similar team to last year, almost the same guys - Heras is not there. Roberto is a great rider, but to be honest, Azevedo fits in the team much better. I think his personality and mentality is a better match for this team than Roberto. Roberto is probably destined to be a leader and it's good to be where he is. Azevedo is a really cool guy."
Q: What are the possibilities of Tyler?
LA: "He has a lot of possibilities. He can win the Tour. He can be on the podium, he can win stages. He's a complete rider, he can time trial, he can climb. He's a friend, at some point you have to be professionals, you have to race the bike race and put friendships aside. He's a damn good biker and as we saw last year he's a tough bike rider, so if he has problems he doesn't give up."
10 July 2004
.: yellow helps you win :.
Notice that winners of stages 04 thru 07 all wear
yellow. While the commercial may say "Yellow makes me suffer",
apparently it makes you win stages, too!
- USPS - winners stage 04
- Bradley O'Grady - winner stage 05
- Tom Boonen - winner stage 06
- Filippo Pozzato - winner stage 07
photos © Graham Watson
03 July 2004
.: tdf '04 - prologue :.
Well the prologue has come and gone and Lance (-1") has shown he is ready for the next 23 days. He lost the TT by just 1 second to Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland. More importantly though, he let Tyler Hamilton (-17") and Jan Ullrich (-16") that they will have there work set out for themselves if they wish to beat Lance this year.
Something to consider, Iban Mayo had a good time and is only 20" down. Not bad for a guy that is usually not very good in TT's.
29 June 2004
.: 10 reasons to care about the tour de france :.
In the Tour’s 101-year history, nobody has ever taken more than five Tour de France victories, and only one other cyclist has matched Armstrong’s five consecutive victories. If Lance succeeds, this will be one for the history books.
9. Sheryl Crow
The rock superstar is bright, talented -- and dating Lance Armstrong. It’s enough to make the rest of us don spandex, start shaving our legs and riding bikes.
8. Robin Williams
Believe it or don’t, but Mork from Ork is a very, very serious cyclist, a huge Armstrong fan and a personal friend of Lance. He’s been spotted riding in the Postal team car during the last couple of Tours, he’s been known to take meals with the team and provide a little improv entertainment.
7. No halftime-show hype
Although a massive publicity caravan precedes the racers along the Tour route, we don’t see any of it here in the States. In other words, we don’t get deluged with pre-game hype about the halftime show (and we aren’t subjected to thinly veiled publicity stunts from the likes of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake).
6. America looks good, for once
With U.S. foreign policy as unpopular as ever, it’s good for the world to see Americans in a positive light. We will figure prominently in this year’s Tour, led by Lance and his U.S. Postal Service squad, and backed up by countrymen Tyler Hamilton, Levi Leipheimer and Bobby Julich. Le Tour is one of America’s few chances to be a positive presence on the world stage.
5. Tyler Hamilton
Aside from Armstrong, Hamilton is likely to be the top-placed American in the Tour. He broke his collarbone in last year’s first stage pile-up, then gritted his teeth and continued on to Paris, even chalking up a coveted mountaintop stage win and taking fourth place in the final standings. If he stays healthy this year, Hamilton could even capture the overall title.
4. No need to call in sick
France is 6-9 hours ahead of us time-wise, depending on where you live in the U.S., meaning that in many cases, you can watch live coverage of the race on OLN or at http://www.letour.fr, and still make it to work on time.
3. It’s grueling
This year’s race is more than 2,100 miles long, spread out over 21 stages (technically, a prologue plus 20 stages) of racing. Watching these guys suffer takes the romance out of being a professional athlete, but it sure makes you appreciate your own job.
2. It’s enormous
More than 1 million people will line Belgian and French roads to see the Tour live, with another 1 billion tuning in via television, radio and the Internet. It's the most followed annual sporting event in the world, beating even the Super Bowl. Only soccer’s World Cup and the Olympics -- both of which occur every four years -- have more devotees.
1. Lance Armstrong
A comeback from cancer, then five straight Tour victories -- arguably the most inspirational story in sports history.
Garrett Lai is the former editor of Bicycle Guide Magazine and is a freelancer based in Southern California.
27 June 2004
.: just 6 days left :.
There are just a mere 6 days left till the Tour de France is once again upon us. I am eagerly awaiting to start so I can see what the outcome will be on the 25th of July. I can't wait to see if the alpha dog can put on a 6th consecutive Maillot Jaune in Paris.
USPS Team Roster (aka: Armstrong's Army)
Lance Armstrong - America
George Hincapie - the only rider to have ridden with Armstrong in all of his Tour victories - America
Floyd Landis - America
Viatcheslav Ekimov - Russia
Pavel Padrnos - Czech Republic
Jose Azevedo - Portugal
Manuel Beltran - Spain
Jose Luis Rubiera - Spain
Benjamin Noval - Spain
Hincapie, Padrnos and Ekimov will be expected to protect Armstrong in the long flat stages that dominate the opening week of racing while, Azevedo, Beltran and Rubiera are key mountain men.
Interestingly, team director Johan Bruyneel left Victor Hugo Pena (Columbia) off the team, who rode with Armstrong last year and briefly held the maillot juane. Luxembourg's Benoit Joachim , a 2003 team member, was also left off the team.
Armstrong is quoted in a team press release as saying, "Basically, we have the same team as the other years. We have a very experienced team and more than anything else, we have a very committed team. They know what it takes to win the Tour and they want to do that again."
Some recent and interesting updates:
- David Millar will miss the Tour de France because of a doping investigation.
- Joseba Beloki will not ride in this year's Tour de France after leaving his French team.
- Alexandre Vinokourov, third in the 2003 Tour de France, will miss this year's race.
Armstongs top rival, once again, will be Jan Ullrich, who recently won the Tour of Switzerland. Definitely in the hunt will be Tyler Hamilton, now riding with Phonak, who came in second to Iban Mayo in the Dauphine Libere. Mayo is a possible contender himself.
14 June 2004
.: vinokourov to miss tour :.
via BBC Cycling:
Alexandre Vinokourov, one of the favourites for this year's Tour de France, has pulled out of the race with an injury. The Kazakhstani tore ligaments in his right shoulder in a crash on the Tour of Switzerland no Sunday.
"It is a bitter moment for us all. He was on the way to being in top form," said a spokesman for his T-Mobile team.
Vinokourov was a strong third on last year's Tour and was considered one of the few threats to Lance Armstrong.
T-Mobile's director of sport Mario Kummer added: "Vino will be a big loss. Now the team must come more closer together."