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Posts Tagged ‘Lance Armstrong’

So if you looked at the result of last night and saw Greipel from Sagan from Boassen Hagen, you’d likely think “Aaah just another bunchie” – it was certainly the finale that I was expecting!  And was far from the finale that actually happened.

BMC took advantage of the stiff crosswinds and tough little wall 25km from the finish to send Cadel shooting off the front of the bunch.  Clearly they are still sniffing around to do some damage and hopefully get Cadel back into the race!  The result was no change for Evans, although he did blow the peloton to smithereens and made Sky work a lot harder than they otherwise would have

Atop  the climb there were only twenty or thirty riders still in contention, and when Alexandre Vinokourov attacked with Michael Albasini, the pressure was kept high, making it very difficult for any riders who were attempting to bridge up to the front bunch from closing the gap.  One group who did were the boys from Lotto Belisol, with the big fella (Greipel) in tow.

It then became a drag race between two very strong lads in front, and the Lotto train behind.  While the inevitable happened and they were caught a couple of km from the finish, the damage had been done, and the race was between the few who remained. Greipelh ad used all of his soldiers in shutting down the break, so had no train, and no one else was interested in delivering the few fast men there to the line.

And then the unheard of happened.

The Yellow Jersey lead out the sprint.  There are always anomalous times when the bloke who happens to be in yellow isn’t the leader of the team, so does some work for whoever it is that is the boss: Hushovd helping out Farrar last year for Garmin is an example, as is  Victor Pena riding for Lance back in 2003.  Neither man was any chance of winning the race at the end of the Tour.  That the Yellow Jersey rode for Boassen Hagen yesterday speaks volumes for the respect Wiggo has for him, and had he have set the Norwegian up for the win, would have paid back a lot of the work done throughout the race.

Greipel eventually won out over Sagan, with the latter consolodating his lead in the Green Jersey as Gossy didn’t get over the climb in touch with the lead bunch.  What a cracking finale to a stage that many would have penned in as a “boring” bunch sprint.

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I was reading the GreenEdge site this morning and saw that Whitey made mention of Australian fans abusing Richie Porte & Mick Rogers for the “sin” of riding “against” Cadel.  These people are idiots.  If Australian football was ever blessed with two players who were talented enough to be starters for Chelsea and Manchester United, would one be considered un-Australian (whatever that means) because he was playing against the other??

Lance & some intense fans

One of the many beauties of bike racing is that the fans can be so close the action as to see the superstars of the sport passing within metres of them.  This is also one of the great risks.  In the past the peloton has been shot at with a pellet gun (resulting in the most bizarre injury to any athlete in my care – Jules Dean ended up with a fingertip infection from being shot by a BB gun while riding the Tour de France); and Lance Armstrong was famously spat at during THAT Alpe D’Huez time trial back in 2004.

I would have hoped that Australian fans, with sport being such an integral part of the society in which they grew up, would have understood how sport works and been better than that.  Clearly not.

Mick Rogers and Richie Porte are riding FOR their team.  In the same way that a club level Rugby League player is not a traitor when they play FOR their state if they are lucky enough to play State Of Origin footy.  To any Aussie fans out there thinking Dodger and Richie are anything other than brilliantly performing athletes flying the flag for Australian cycling, wake up to yourselves.

Rant over.

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Peter Sagan has now won three stages of the Tour this year: two uphill sprints, and a straight-up bunch kick.  I’ve already mentioned it, but he’s still got more than ten Tours de France in his future (all things being well).  How good is this kid going to be?  I’m already looking forward to a year when he and Cav are genuinely duelling for the Green Jersey (when Cav’s team are backing him for it, rather than putting their eggs in both the yellow and green baskets) – sport is so great when super talents go head to head!

In other news for the stage, sadly Ryder Hesjedal’s battle for the overall is done before it really got underway.  Other big names to be out of the battle for Yellow (or more realistically, high GC finishes) include Alejandro Valverde and Robert Gesink.  That is the first week of racing at the Tour – frantic, dangerous, and desperation-filled; and sadly there are almost always riders who will suffer for it.

Regardless of what comes to light in the forthcoming trial that Lance Armstrong will be fighting, his ability to stay out of trouble for SEVEN consecutive years was a truly amazing sporting feat.  Fluorescent green blood, clean-as-a-whistle blood, or somehwere in between, Lance’s racing nous, “game-face” focus and final performances were incredible.

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