Sunday, July 25, 2010

TDF 2010 Stage 20: A Relieved Contador Rides into Paris

July 26, 2010
...and the Relentless Marketing Machine Drills On
Alberto Contador rode into Paris with a broad smile on his face for the third time as winner of the Tour de France since 2007.

This year's race wasn't as easy for him as in the past, he admitted. “It is a Tour in which I had a lot of pressure, especially physically as I was not at my best level," he said.

"For example, everyone said I had already won the Tour after the stage to the Tourmalet. But we saw yesterday, in the race against the clock, that it was not fully played out. Today is therefore a great relief for me, " he added.

Mark Cavendish bested the top sprinters to the line on the Champs Elysees in Paris, but the Green Jersey was awarded to Alessandro Petacchi who had won the most sprint points in this year's Tour.  Only 11 seconds separated the Cav from the Green.

Although the Manx man was philosophical about the narrow win he was happy to have 5 tour wins: “I’m disappointed this year not to win the green jersey. I set out to do so – it was a target for this year – but I had some bad luck in the first days and was out of the running but the team fought back, did our best and I lost it by 11 points."

Andy Schleck was second on the podium, and Denis Menchov was third.

It was a Tour for narrow wins that's for sure. Schleck who was within 39 seconds of his rival Contador, won the White Jersey for best young rider for the second year in a row. He also gained second place on the podium for the second year--not bad for his young 23 years of age.

The Luxemburger said he wasn't going to dwell on the 39 seconds, but at the same time, he feels he came a lot closer this year to wearing the coveted Yellow Jersey.

“It’s a completely different feeling to when I came second in 2009. I got up there and looked at the yellow jersey now and I realize I was so close – but in the end it’s so far away." 

This final 102.5 km from Longjomeau to the Champs-Elysées in Paris, was delayed because of a little brouhaha between the RadioShack team who wanted to wear black jerseys with “28” on the back, representing the 28 million people around the world living with cancer.

The UCI jury said that in accordance with race regulations, the jerseys had to be changed back to their red (regular) ones.

RadioShack did replace the jerseys for the nine riders from the squad that won the team classification--including Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Andreas Kloden and Chris Horner, but they also had to ensure their race numbers were properly pinned on.

The mix up caused a long delay in proceedings on the day that Lance Armstrong says will be his last day of competition.

The team did however wear the black jerseys on the podium in Paris when they won first place in the team competition. It was just another reminder of how marketing has become an all inclusive package for the Tour de France. Back in the day, 100 years ago when riders crossed sections of the Pyrenees for the first time, they did so on steel bikes, alone without a caravan of support vehicles and radio communication with team managers.

It also was not broadcast on television--there was no television--like today when there are millions of dollars being poured into advertisements, among them Cadillac, RoadID, Nissan, and RadioShack, Izod, and even a beer company showing Lance relaxing (oh my!) with a cute brunette (double oh my), their relationship mysteriously undefined. The ads were relentless, the jingles habit forming. Even the experienced commentators for this year's Tour, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, were forced to call replays by the name of the sponsor, or remind viewers of how gorgeous France is as a place to visit.

Somewhere behind those cajolements may have been a promise of money or a quid pro quo for freedom to cover the Tour by Versus. What's more, lost from their reporting entirely was the back story about the developing cheating scandal opened by Floyd Landis, so you could hardly call it real reporting. It was more like a glossy travelogue of the Tour.


The forces of marketing also took over the peloton on the last day: As customary, the first hours of the final stage were spent with riders idling along the course, and posing for photo opportunities, covering only 25 km in the first hour.

But once the peloton arrived in Paris, the Astana team came to the front for the symbolic first crossing of line, the beginning of eight laps of the circuit on the Champs-Elysees.
An escape group formed as it passed the ‘Haut des Champs’ for the first time prime – won by Kuchinski (LIQ) – and then 11 riders broke free of the peloton, among them Sorensen (SAX), Casar and Roux (FDJ ), Riblon (ALM), Martin (THR), Kroon (BMC), Knees (MRM), Pauriol (COF), Perez Lezaun (EUS), Hondo (LAM), and Perez Arrieta (FOT). Through the stage they were only 25 seconds ahead of the peloton at any time.

But HTC-Columbia, Sky and Katusha were working behind them to line their sprinters up for the finish, and caught with 11 km to go.

Sky had numbers in the front with 1,500 m to go, then Lampre came to the front and drove the peloton after the ‘flamme rouge’. 

Then, on the place de la Concorde Cervelo led to the final straight and Hushovd was in a good position for the victory but Cavendish started his sprint 200 m from the line, and the rest of the sprinters were history.


Roll of Honor at the End of the 2010 Tour de France

1 CONTADOR Alberto ASTANA 91h 58' 48"
208 PETACCHI Alessandro LAMPRE - FARNESE 243 pts
153 CHARTEAU Anthony BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM 143 pts
11 SCHLECK Andy TEAM SAXO BANK 91h 59' 27"
TEAM RADIOSHACK 276h 02' 03"


General Classification Standings at the End of the 2010 Tour, Paris

1. CONTADOR Alberto 1 ASTANA 91h 58' 48"
2. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM SAXO BANK 91h 59' 27" + 00' 39"
3. MENCHOV Denis 191 RABOBANK 92h 00' 49" + 02' 01"
4. SANCHEZ Samuel 181 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 92h 02' 28" + 03' 40"
5. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 101 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 92h 05' 42" + 06' 54"
6. GESINK Robert 195 RABOBANK 92h 08' 19" + 09' 31"
7. HESJEDAL Ryder 54 GARMIN - TRANSITIONS 92h 09' 03" + 10' 15"
8. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin 77 KATUSHA TEAM 92h 10' 25" + 11' 37"
9. KREUZIGER Roman 44 LIQUIGAS-DOIMO 92h 10' 42" + 11' 54"
10. HORNER Christopher 23 TEAM RADIOSHACK 92h 10' 50" + 12' 02"
11. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 161 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 92h 13' 09" + 14' 21"
12. PLAZA MOLINA Ruben 168 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 92h 13' 17" + 14' 29"
13. LEIPHEIMER Levi 25 TEAM RADIOSHACK 92h 13' 28" + 14' 40"
14. KLÖDEN Andréas 24 TEAM RADIOSHACK 92h 15' 24" + 16' 36"
15. ROCHE Nicolas 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 92h 15' 47" + 16' 59"
16. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 9 ASTANA 92h 16' 34" + 17' 46"
17. LÖVKVIST Thomas 37 SKY PRO CYCLING 92h 19' 34" + 20' 46"
18. DE WEERT Kevin 133 QUICK STEP 92h 20' 42" + 21' 54"
19. GADRET John 85 AG2R LA MONDIALE 92h 22' 52" + 24' 04"
20. SASTRE Carlos 91 CERVELO TEST TEAM 92h 25' 25" + 26' 37"

Stage Standings at the End of Paris, End of Tour

1. CAVENDISH Mark 111 TEAM HTC - COLUMBIA 2h 42' 21"
2. PETACCHI Alessandro 208 LAMPRE - FARNESE 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
3. DEAN Julian 52 GARMIN - TRANSITIONS 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
4. ROELANDTS Jürgen 108 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
5. FREIRE Oscar 193 RABOBANK 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
6. CIOLEK Gerald 142 TEAM MILRAM 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
7. HUSHOVD Thor 95 CERVELO TEST TEAM 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
8. BRESCHEL Matti 12 TEAM SAXO BANK 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
9. MC EWEN Robbie 75 KATUSHA TEAM 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
10. OSS Daniel 46 LIQUIGAS-DOIMO 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
11. MAASKANT Martijn 56 GARMIN - TRANSITIONS 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
12. MONDORY Lloyd 87 AG2R LA MONDIALE 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
13. TURGOT Sébastien 158 BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
14. ROJAS Jose Joaquin 169 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
15. PEREZ MORENO Ruben 186 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
16. ARASHIRO Yukiya 152 BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
17. HAGEN Edvald Boasson 36 SKY PRO CYCLING 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
18. BOOM Lars 192 RABOBANK 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
19. BALLAN Alessandro 122 BMC RACING TEAM 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"
20. HONDO Danilo 205 LAMPRE - FARNESE 2h 42' 21" + 00' 00"

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