Friday, July 23, 2010
This mostly flat stage from Salies de Bearn to Bordeaux is the last opportunity for riders to make a name for themselves by winning the stage from a breakaway, or for one of the sprinters to gain more points. That would include Mark Cavendish, Alessandro Petacchi, or Thor Hushovd.
The riders will finish the 198 km stage to the city of Bordeaux for the 80th time this year, a record only bested by Paris. The city is a UNESCO world heritage site, the city also boasts sustainable urban project, "putting in place the conditions for new collective economic, social and cultural development." according to Letour.fr. Sounds like the kind of place we should all live at.
After the punishing stages in the Pyrenees however, and despite a breakaway that is 2 minutes and 15 seconds ahead, the peloton seemed to be pedaling along like a bunch of school children. And in an interview this morning Cavendish admitted that he had bronchitis, which could partially explain why the Lampre riders are out in front to protect the position of their sprinter Alessandro Petacchi: he might actually have a chance today against the weakened Manx Missile.
An early break included Matti Breschel (SAX), Alexandre Popovych (RSH), Di Gregorio (FDJ), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Carlos Barredo (QST), Gerdemann (MRM), and Perget (GCE), but it soon was brought back to the peloton.
Soon after, at 11 km from the start another attack established a break of four riders, again including Matti Breschel, who took with him Daniel Oss (LIQ), Jerome Pineau (QST) and Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ) (there go those Frenchmen again!)
It's anyone's guess if the break can stay away: at 63 km to the finish they only have 2 minutes and 15 seconds to the peloton--a peloton full of anxious and aggressive sprinters wanting to do damage on each other.
Yesterday CBS reported that thanks to the Bitter Landis effect, Lance Armstrong has hired a criminal lawyer to represent him in the broadening investigation about possible fraud and cheating in bike racing.
His lawyer, Bryan D. Daly is a partner at the firm Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton and has some experience in the field as a formal federal prosecutor based in Los Angeles.
The news was first reported in The Daily Journal, a legal trade publication, and then by the New York Daily News.
Another bitter cyclist who has had it out for Amstrong, denouncing him in public in a deranged fashion, Greg LeMond said on Tuesday that he thought the evidence against Armstrong would be "overwhelming" and he was looking forward to responding to a subpoena for a July 30 appearance in federal court in Los Angeles to testify in the investigation.
It's been often alleged that LeMond has done his fair share of injections over the years particularly when he was winning the Tour de France, though in those days there were no tests, the drugs were different and there are no frozen tests to go back to. Quel domage. Wouldn't it be fitting if we could open an investigation of him too.
A more inspiring message came from President Sarkozy when he visited Lance Armstrong after the Texan completed yesterday's grueling stage over the Tourmalet. Funny the president of France who is also a cyclist should choose Armstrong over Contador or Schleck (though no word that he did NOT visit them), but Armstrong is reported to have said that they are both "two old cyclists."
No doubt the honor comes because Armstrong has helped transform cycling from a marginal U.S. sport, to a one that is finally gaining respectability. Just look how he went from 65th after his day of three crashes, to now 17th. Hmm, let's see how the "old man" does in the time trial tomorrow.
On that I could say more, though we still have a long way to go. How it burns me that the World Cup was played in every bar in New York City, but you have to get a subscription to see the Tour de France, and if it's playing in your local bike shop, you're lucky.
Adding to the Lance Gossip, his son Luke is traveling with him at the Tour for a couple of days. And check out the half naked pics of Lance testing out a new radio headpiece. After selling all those yellow Livestrong bracelets, Lance should try his hand at nude calendars-- I think that would make a lot more money. You should see Andreas Kloden in his skivies. Who can beat male cyclists in this department? Not many.
So guys--sorry I don't have any pics of naked podium girls. You'd have to be a serious competitor to be able to see that.