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Tour De France 2009

A very good stage today; it lived up to the hype. I have to give Armstrong a lot of credit today for his ride. He never looked like he was in any danger. Next year should be very interesting with the emergence of Andy Schleck and Bradley Wiggins and genuine GC threats. That coupled with Contador not being the sharpest tool in the shed and almost certainly not having Bruneel behind him, then I think it could be a four way shootout between Contador, Andy Schleck, Lance Armstrong, and Bradley Wiggins.
  • BigRon
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 14,778
Originally posted by fzrdave:
then I think it could be a four way shootout between Contador, Andy Schleck, Lance Armstrong, and Bradley Wiggins.

I would love to see that. Armstrong and Wiggins would be fun to watch. If either could win at something other than Time Trials then they would have a shot. But if they elect to stay with the peleton for the duration like this year, that would give Contador another title.
Andy Schleck's accelerations today looked like they put the hurt on his brother Frank more than Lance.
Originally posted by BigRon:
Originally posted by fzrdave:
then I think it could be a four way shootout between Contador, Andy Schleck, Lance Armstrong, and Bradley Wiggins.

I would love to see that. Armstrong and Wiggins would be fun to watch. If either could win at something other than Time Trials then they would have a shot. But if they elect to stay with the peleton for the duration like this year, that would give Contador another title.

All things considered, I was really impressed with how well Wiggins climbed throughout the tour. Nobody was expecting that from him. With a little off-season conditioning and his team working primarily for him, then he might be able to challenge for a mountain stage win next year. That coupled with his superb ITT skills and he could definitely win a Tour or two. Andy Schleck, on the other hand, has to improve his TT skills a little bit. He still did a lot better than I expected on Thursday, but not good enough to win the Tour just yet. As for Armstrong, I don't know what you can say about his climbing. He was obviously being a good teammate on more than one occasion which caused him to lose a lot of time to Contador, and on a couple other occasions he looked like the old Lance. On the other hand, I thought he was nowhere near up to speed during the two TTs. It might be because he wasn't quite 100% yet after breaking his collarbone, but he really wasn't a threat at all on either ITT. Lance is going to have to find a way to improve that because he's not going to get his eighth if he can't come close to winning an ITT stage. As for Contador, the guy is a loose cannon. He blew Paris Nice this year and he pulled a couple bonehead moves during this Tour, so he might have a much more difficult time than you would think if he doesn't have a superstar team like Astana and a brain trust like Bruneel working 100% for him. It's all speculation right now, but I'll be eager to see how the next Tour plays out. It could be a good one!
Originally posted by SoCal9er:
Andy Schleck's accelerations today looked like they put the hurt on his brother Frank more than Lance.

I totally agree. It also looked like he was putting a little hurt on Contador a couple times too. If Andy Schleck can make a similar quantitative improvement on his ITT skills much like Contador has over the last couple years, then Andy Schleck will probably win a Tour or two himself.
Lance's perfromance is actually pretty phenomenal. After 4 years a way, less than a full season of training and a broken collar bone that took him off his regular training regimen he still finished on the podium.

IMO with a full season of training, no broken collar bone and a team working entirely for him he can compete in this race again. He is certainly one of the strongest contendors.

Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador promise to be very tough at next years race. Contador is a beast in his prime. 2 tour wins already and he is poised for more. I think Andy Schleck will win but he has to forget his brother. He held himself back sometimes just trying to help his brother. He has to forget that and ride for himself and then he may someday win.

Mark Cavendish from the Isle of Man is a real beast in those sprints. 6 stage wins is excellent. I can't believe he had 6 stage wins as a sprinter and still somehow didn't win the green jersey... Franco Pellizotti was really impressive in the mountains and somebody to keep your eye one in the future. I think Tyler Farrar from the U.S. proved himself to be a good sprinter and somebody to watch in the future. If not for Cavendish I think Farrar would have won some stages. I thought Kloden and Vande Velde rode well. George Hincape had a pretty good tour for him.

Overall it was an interesting tour IMO. I don't think Lance showed he can't compete at the highest level anymore. 4 years away plus an injury and less than a full season of training and he was still one of the best. Maybe he can do it again. Next year is probably his best chance. Eventually the age will really start kicking in. 2010 is his best remaining chance for sure and 2011 maybe. But after that I think no.
  • BigRon
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 14,778
Listening to the commentators this morning, it seemed to me that they were saying that this might have been Contadors last Tour win if he has to try to put a team together for himself. All four commentators made mention of his lack of intelligence to put together a team. I couldn't believe my ears. This kid just won the Tour and they were all gushing on Andy Schleck and his future and not on Contadors.

I am not a fan of Contadors, and I think he won't win next win, But this was his day in the sun and he was given cloud cover.
Originally posted by BigRon:
Listening to the commentators this morning, it seemed to me that they were saying that this might have been Contadors last Tour win if he has to try to put a team together for himself. All four commentators made mention of his lack of intelligence to put together a team. I couldn't believe my ears. This kid just won the Tour and they were all gushing on Andy Schleck and his future and not on Contadors.

I am not a fan of Contadors, and I think he won't win next win, But this was his day in the sun and he was given cloud cover.

I think they were just saying that Armstrong will put together a much better team than Cantador next year (which he will for sure). And Cantador will be on a less quality team. Also they were stressing how much the team matters in the outcome of the Tour De France. And it does. A lot of the attacks and responses and strategey is about the team. They were saying it could be a different race if Lance has a team working entirely for him and I agree.

Contador is great but it is real possible he doesn't win next year. I think Andy Schleck or Lance Armstrong definitely could win. As could Cantador and a handful of other guys.
  • BigRon
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 14,778
If I had to pick the podium next year, it would be Andy, Lance and Bradley. The guy that would scare me the most would be Cavendish should he learn how to climb.
Originally posted by BigRon:
If I had to pick the podium next year, it would be Andy, Lance and Bradley. The guy that would scare me the most would be Cavendish should he learn how to climb.

Lance has a definite chance to win next year IMO. Andy Schleck has a chance to win but you have to figure the team around him won't be nearly as good as Armstrongs (always a big factor). I don't think Bradley will win. Cavendish is super impressive but not a threat in the overall classification. The best sprinters aren't always great climbers too. At this time Cavendish is not a great climber. I doubt he ever will be. He is more of a pure sprinter. A great one at that. Not taking anything away from the guy. I just don't see him as a threat in the overall classifcation.

The bottom line is this. Lance Armstrong will have the best team around him next year. He will probably have the best director or one of the best. He will certainly have the most money backing him and his team of any rider.

If he trains insanely hard for an entire offseason without stopping and doesn't get an unfortunate injury like a broken collar bone he has a pretty good chance to win. I don't think it's automatic though. There are some good young riders. Andy Schleck and Alberto Cantador will be big factors.
Well, it's all over now, but it was a good Tour. The one thing I didn't like was all the long downhill finishes in the Pyrenees and the Alps, but I guess that was the Tour organizers trying to keep it close up to the penultimate stage yesterday. On the other hand, I really enjoyed that tough mountain stage yesterday.

Next year looks pretty interesting at this time. Contador will not have a super-team working 100% for him nor will he have Bruyneel keeping him from making stupid moves. A couple good strong teams with GC contenders could hurt him big time if they make multiple attacks on him up the Pyrenees and the Alps. If he bonks on one of those stages then he could easily lose eight or more minute (just like at Paris-Nice this year) and there will go his next Tour aspirations. Bradley Wiggins was, of course, the big surprise this year. If he could lose another ten pounds or so and just improve his ability to climb just a little bit more, then he could be a real threat. As the commentators said today, Andy Schleck needs to put away his nice-guy-looking-out-for-his-brother self. If he would have kept attacking yesterday instead of trying to pull Frank up the mountain, then he might have put Contador in trouble. He's definitely one of the few who could put Contador in trouble next year on the climbs. With a little more self-centered attitude and another 45 seconds to a minute better per ITT, then he could very well be the man to beat. He also has a very strong team behind him with Team Saxo Bank (formerly Team CSC, a perennial top UCI Pro Tour Team and winner of the Tour last year). The brain trust of Team Saxo bank is Bjarne Riis who is maybe only second to Johan Bruyneel for tactical strategy, and he even won the Tour de France himself back in 1996 (yes, he doped, but who didn’t back then?). And of course you cannot forget Lance Armstrong. He didn't look too good on the ITTs, but was otherwise very strong especially mentally when he twice got with a break and gained eight and four seconds advantages - smartest and toughest mind out there, period. You know he's going to put together a great team and I'm sure Bruyneel is going to be on it, so you know Armstrong is going to be in the thick of it. I would also bet that he’s going to be a lot better in the ITTs next year.

Those are the favorites, but you never know who might come out and surprise. Under the right circumstances, Levi Leipheimer could win a tour. He's a very good climber and sometimes an unbeatable ITT ace himself. Someone like Franco Pellizotti could come out of nowhere and be a contender too. He finished 3rd at the Giro d'Italia this year and you know he can climb – this year’s winner of the polka-dot jersey, so he would be my pick to surprise next year.
Originally posted by fzrdave:
Well, it's all over now, but it was a good Tour. The one thing I didn't like was all the long downhill finishes in the Pyrenees and the Alps, but I guess that was the Tour organizers trying to keep it close up to the penultimate stage yesterday. On the other hand, I really enjoyed that tough mountain stage yesterday.

Next year looks pretty interesting at this time. Contador will not have a super-team working 100% for him nor will he have Bruyneel keeping him from making stupid moves. A couple good strong teams with GC contenders could hurt him big time if they make multiple attacks on him up the Pyrenees and the Alps. If he bonks on one of those stages then he could easily lose eight or more minute (just like at Paris-Nice this year) and there will go his next Tour aspirations. Bradley Wiggins was, of course, the big surprise this year. If he could lose another ten pounds or so and just improve his ability to climb just a little bit more, then he could be a real threat. As the commentators said today, Andy Schleck needs to put away his nice-guy-looking-out-for-his-brother self. If he would have kept attacking yesterday instead of trying to pull Frank up the mountain, then he might have put Contador in trouble. He's definitely one of the few who could put Contador in trouble next year on the climbs. With a little more self-centered attitude and another 45 seconds to a minute better per ITT, then he could very well be the man to beat. He also has a very strong team behind him with Team Saxo Bank (formerly Team CSC, a perennial top UCI Pro Tour Team and winner of the Tour last year). The brain trust of Team Saxo bank is Bjarne Riis who is maybe only second to Johan Bruyneel for tactical strategy, and he even won the Tour de France himself back in 1996 (yes, he doped, but who didn’t back then?). And of course you cannot forget Lance Armstrong. He didn't look too good on the ITTs, but was otherwise very strong especially mentally when he twice got with a break and gained eight and four seconds advantages - smartest and toughest mind out there, period. You know he's going to put together a great team and I'm sure Bruyneel is going to be on it, so you know Armstrong is going to be in the thick of it. I would also bet that he’s going to be a lot better in the ITTs next year.

Those are the favorites, but you never know who might come out and surprise. Under the right circumstances, Levi Leipheimer could win a tour. He's a very good climber and sometimes an unbeatable ITT ace himself. Someone like Franco Pellizotti could come out of nowhere and be a contender too. He finished 3rd at the Giro d'Italia this year and you know he can climb – this year’s winner of the polka-dot jersey, so he would be my pick to surprise next year.

Pellizotti is an excellent rider and a potential condender for overall champion IMO. He has to improve some of his other disciplines but boy can he climb. And climbing is the toughest one to master. If you have that you can work on the others.

[ Edited by SanDiego49er on Jul 26, 2009 at 20:40:43 ]
Originally posted by SanDiego49er:
Originally posted by fzrdave:
Well, it's all over now, but it was a good Tour. The one thing I didn't like was all the long downhill finishes in the Pyrenees and the Alps, but I guess that was the Tour organizers trying to keep it close up to the penultimate stage yesterday. On the other hand, I really enjoyed that tough mountain stage yesterday.

Next year looks pretty interesting at this time. Contador will not have a super-team working 100% for him nor will he have Bruyneel keeping him from making stupid moves. A couple good strong teams with GC contenders could hurt him big time if they make multiple attacks on him up the Pyrenees and the Alps. If he bonks on one of those stages then he could easily lose eight or more minute (just like at Paris-Nice this year) and there will go his next Tour aspirations. Bradley Wiggins was, of course, the big surprise this year. If he could lose another ten pounds or so and just improve his ability to climb just a little bit more, then he could be a real threat. As the commentators said today, Andy Schleck needs to put away his nice-guy-looking-out-for-his-brother self. If he would have kept attacking yesterday instead of trying to pull Frank up the mountain, then he might have put Contador in trouble. He's definitely one of the few who could put Contador in trouble next year on the climbs. With a little more self-centered attitude and another 45 seconds to a minute better per ITT, then he could very well be the man to beat. He also has a very strong team behind him with Team Saxo Bank (formerly Team CSC, a perennial top UCI Pro Tour Team and winner of the Tour last year). The brain trust of Team Saxo bank is Bjarne Riis who is maybe only second to Johan Bruyneel for tactical strategy, and he even won the Tour de France himself back in 1996 (yes, he doped, but who didn’t back then?). And of course you cannot forget Lance Armstrong. He didn't look too good on the ITTs, but was otherwise very strong especially mentally when he twice got with a break and gained eight and four seconds advantages - smartest and toughest mind out there, period. You know he's going to put together a great team and I'm sure Bruyneel is going to be on it, so you know Armstrong is going to be in the thick of it. I would also bet that he’s going to be a lot better in the ITTs next year.

Those are the favorites, but you never know who might come out and surprise. Under the right circumstances, Levi Leipheimer could win a tour. He's a very good climber and sometimes an unbeatable ITT ace himself. Someone like Franco Pellizotti could come out of nowhere and be a contender too. He finished 3rd at the Giro d'Italia this year and you know he can climb – this year’s winner of the polka-dot jersey, so he would be my pick to surprise next year.

Pellizotti is an excellent rider and a potential condender for overall champion IMO. He has to improve some of his other disciplines but boy can he climb. And climbing is the toughest one to master. If you have that you can work on the others.

I completely agree.
How nice of Contador to call out Lance after the race.

Contador will never admire Lance
Originally posted by VaBeachNiner:
How nice of Contador to call out Lance after the race.

Contador will never admire Lance

The race may be over, but the poo slinging is just starting.