Monday, July 27, 2009

What now?

Now the Tour is over, and I have this big empty space in the day.  No more watching the stages and no more poring over the results to calculate the Fantasy Tour.  The worst part is that the end of the Tour signals the coming close of summer vacation and the return to the teacher's life.  I aim to wring as much enjoyment out of the remaining bits of summer vacation that I can as a way of fighting back against the dying of summer.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Provisional Results

The provisional results of the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France -

Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    13271
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    12267
Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    12177
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    12035
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    11751
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    11490
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    11422
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    11192
Grom     Team CrashWagon    11093
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    10985
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    10966
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    10890
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    10648
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    10508
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    10499
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    10271
Steven Boike    RPM    10141
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    10052
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    9991
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    9962
Player barrett    team player    9217
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    8702
Charles Bennett, our yellow jersey winner, needs to come on down and pick out his Specialized glasses.  Ron Swenson can come down and pick up his Pedro's pit kit cleaning supplies.  Nicole Thomas can come down and pick up her 3rd place prize.  Scott Staley, you will be getting your prize at the first 'cross race of the season!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

She's singing

Neither Jeff nor I was able to watch today's stage since we were busy at the Day on the Greenway.  Sounded like an interesting, yet ultimately unfruitful stage.  Like him or not, Armstrong's 3rd place finish is pretty impressive given his age and coming out of retirement. 

Our own Fantasy Tour de France is shaping up to be a bit of a nail biter as 2nd and 3rd place are still up for grabs.  Charles Bennett has locked up the top spot of the podium and Scott Staley has locked up last place as well.  A message to Scott: a) manpri's are a statement of confidence in one's manhood, and b) it isn't the pain train you really need to watch out for, it's the Night Train!

Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France GC -

Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    12783
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    11782
Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    11514
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    11460
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    11398
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    10941
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    10884
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    10697
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    10680
Grom     Team CrashWagon    10585
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    10504
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    10426
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    10133
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    10077
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    10018
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    9841
Steven Boike    RPM    9739
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    9708
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    9701
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    9654
Player barrett    team player    9012
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    8370

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mont Ventoux looms

Big day tomorrow with the Luna Cycles Day on the Greenway. See you at the Lower Creek greenway from 8 to 2!

Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France General Classification -

Charles Bennett Bernanke's Bumblers 12330
Nicole Thomas Espresso Train 11100
Peter Purcell Team Heal With Steel 11083
Ron Swenson Team Theoretical 11078
Mellie Black Team Limp Along 10897
Shane Norris Team Inizio 10524
Eddy Winkler Team Not Caught Yet 10459
Grom Team CrashWagon 10249
John Hansen Lumpy skates 10240
Grant Dunstan Lone Beer Ranger 10226
Charles Hicks Team Buuurrnn! 10166
Chris Thomas Dessel Engine 10092
Trey Barnes Steam Donkey 9664
Mary Ann Brown Hope & A Prayer 9601
jim brown stylin' and profilin' 9555
Jeff Welch Pigs in Zen 9512
Steven Boike RPM 9434
Lara Cassidy Lara's team 9382
Chris Harris Equipe Poisson 9227
Jenna King Le Chiffre 9216
Player barrett team player 8607
Scott Staley JRB Racing 8198

Thursday, July 23, 2009

TT travails and triumphs

A skinny spanish climber beats the world time trial champion, Lance is human after all, Andy figures out how to make a bike go fast in a time trial, and Wiggins just misses the mark.  Funny that Cancellara is kicking back with a beer trying to figure out how Contador beat him today.  The man that both Phil and Paul gush over and describe with that fay British accent as "a beast", was beaten by Contador in his specialty.  The questions now arise about the legitimacy of Contador's performance and rightly so.  Andy Schleck locked up his podium spot, but Armstrong's 3rd place is looking to be the target for both Wiggins and the elder Schleck brother.  My feeling is that the Schleck are going to be lloking to shred the GC contenders on Saturday's Ventoux climb.

Don't forget that this Saturday is the Luna Cycles "Day on the Greenway" to be held at the Lower Creek Greenway parking lot on Powell Ave. from 8 am to 2 pm.  We will have lots of different greenway bikes from Specialized and Fuji for test rides.  You will get 1 free raffle ticket to win a Specialized Carmel 2 bike with your test ride.  Additional tickets will be for sale with all proceeds going to Caldwell County Pathways, the folks who bring you our awesome greenway system.  Tell everybody you know to come take a spin and see what a difference a good quality bicycle makes!

Your Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France sponsored by OMGWTF Energy drink GC:

Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    11752
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    10562
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    10481
Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    10456
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    10274
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    9919
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    9913
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    9798
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    9693
Grom     Team CrashWagon    9647
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    9600
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    9596
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    9180
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    9154
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    9077
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    9063
Steven Boike    RPM    8938
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    8928
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    8761
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    8553
Player barrett    team player    8141
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    7758

Scott, I hate to say it, but looks like you are really solid in the lanterne rouge.  There is a prize that awaits you at the end of this arduous journey.  I won't tell you what it is, but just know, the pain train's a-comin'...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Sooooo glad I watched today's stage.  The Astana stranglehold on the tour has loosened somewhat going in to tomorrow's time trial.  What I saw today, however, wasn't exactly what was reported in the cycling press.  Cyclingnews talked about how "unflappable" Contador was, but I disagree.  Unflappable riders don't make a move that drops their own teammate, then gets easily nullified by two guys who are teammates on your rival squad and then look over their shoulder for their drop compatriot for the better part of 10 minutes.  The Schleck brothers have figured out the chink in Contador's armor, it just remains to be seen if they have the strength to exploit it.  The weakness that I think they see is that Contador doesnt have much beyond an explosive acceleration.  Sure, he jumps like nobody's business and gets a huge gap with breathtaking rapidity, but how fast is he really climbing?  What I saw today was two guys who weren't blown away by the acceleration.  Two guys that saw that maybe Contador is more show than go.  Ventoux is going to be very interesting indeed...

Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France sponsored by Oops! General Classification after Stage 17:

Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    11291
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    10181
Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    10108
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    9974
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    9810
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    9656
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    9420
Grom     Team CrashWagon    9334
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    9321
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    9240
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    9238
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    9235
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    8877
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    8747
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    8721
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    8670
Steven Boike    RPM    8605
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    8484
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    8394
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    8243
Player barrett    team player    7839
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    7583

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The gloves are off

A day of attacking and I missed it.  Damn.  Hopefully, tomorrow holds the fireworks that I have been predicting.

Your Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France GC - 

Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    10672
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    9724
Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    9583
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    9304
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    9297
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    9261
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    9001
Grom     Team CrashWagon    8858
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    8840
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    8782
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    8742
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    8633
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    8535
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    8204
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    8190
Steven Boike    RPM    8114
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    8092
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    8049
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    7886
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    7812
Player barrett    team player    7450
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    7285

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The war begins, or the war's not over

I have to confess that I didn't watch the actual part of today's stage that meant anything.  What I do know is that Astana's script is just like Discovery's - put in a big attack in the mountains, take the yellow, and then grind everybody down to the point that there are no attacks.  Hopefully, somebody, anybody, will not follow the script and will do something cheeky.

Charles Bennett is pulling out a big lead in the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France powered by Ambien.  Current standings after stage 15:


Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    10133
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    9343
Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    9193
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    8896
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    8734
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    8680
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    8651
Grom     Team CrashWagon    8461
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    8454
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    8379
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    8262
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    8212
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    7923
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    7764
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    7711
Steven Boike    RPM    7674
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    7478
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    7452
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    7372
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    7309
Player barrett    team player    7132
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    7043

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Why we need Vinokourov

Today's stage gave the first thrilling rush of excitement that this tour has had to give.  On the edge of my seat, I played that age old mental math game of counting down the seconds to see if George Hincapie was going to wear the first maillot jaune of his long pro career.  Sadly, he came up just 5 seconds shy of the mark.  Regardless of what side you fall on with regard to the Columbia/Garmin polemics, it would have been great to see George wearing yellow after such a cheeky move from the 12 km mark.  If only we could see some audacious riding from others.

It is this point that we need to discuss the imminent return of Alexandre Vinokourov.  Vino's return could be the breath of fresh air that the stagnant peloton needs.  Vino is the wild card, the joker and the ace in the hole all rolled up into one.  He is a time bomb full of hand grenades with a hair trigger and a mean streak.  Vinokourov can be counted on to do the unexpected, the unconventional.  The easiest way to predict the unpredictable nature of Vino is to think when would be the dumbest time to attack and that is the moment when Vino will throw it down, launch the reckless attack and ride with a wild-eyed abandon.

While everyone seems to have resigned themselves to the script that Astana has put forth for this tour, the peloton lacks a rider willing to go for broke.  To my way of thinking, Cadel Evans is the man with nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing the audacious, unexpected, and foolhardy move.  It can't be just one attack and "oh well, that didn't work".  Evans needs to go again and again and again until he either explodes or gains something.  But that's the gambler in me talking.  Lance Armstrong has once again turned the Tour into a poker game of grim-faced players who aren't willing to go all in, lest someone else make the lower step of the podium.  Vino is the embodiement of the slots player run amok in the poker game, pulling the lever over and over again on the off chance that three bars or three cherries will line up and the coins will come dumping out.  Who cares that the odds are against such behavior; he certainly doesn't.

The calculating tactician in me looks toward Wednesday's stage as a game changer.  Four Cat. 1 climbs, 2 of which are in the final 30 km with the last being a scant 15 km from the finish and one Cat. 2 climb, all on the day before the ITT has the makings of a day of attacking and counter-attacking.  At this point I would think that a 1-2 punch combination from Garmin's Wiggins and Vande Velde is the only serious move that can crack Astana and their slow grinding tempo train.  Do something, no matter how stupid or ill-advised or else face the inevitability of racing for scraps and allowing Astana to make the race all about them.

Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France powered by Ambien GC standings after stage 14:

Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    9557
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    8825
Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    8799
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    8493
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    8261
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    8231
Grom     Team CrashWagon    8119
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    8031
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    8018
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    7912
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    7876
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    7677
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    7308
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    7219
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    7205
Steven Boike    RPM    7175
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    7022
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    6862
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    6853
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    6790
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    6701
Player barrett    team player    6680

Shake up in the GC!

No, not in the TdF, but there has been a change in the lead of the LCFTdF!

Complete standings after stage 13:

Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    8878
Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    8479
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    8121
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    7988
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    7933
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    7771
Grom     Team CrashWagon    7659
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    7593
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    7566
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    7380
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    7339
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    7104
Steven Boike    RPM    6918
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    6875
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    6873
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    6691
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    6613
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    6584
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    6503
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    6489
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    6410
Player barrett    team player    6267

Thursday, July 16, 2009

TdF update

Tour de France 2009: does the fun ever start?  Another predictable day of no hopers going off the front early, the peloton decided not ot have a bunch sprint finish and Sorensen won.  Yeah. 

Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France standings after stage 12:

Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    8062
Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    8009
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    7521
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    7462
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    7435
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    7379
Grom     Team CrashWagon    7159
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    7051
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    7020
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    6826
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    6682
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    6579
Steven Boike    RPM    6519
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    6421
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    6359
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    6335
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    6275
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    6069
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    6061
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    6004
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    5908
Player barrett    team player    5775

Complete results are here.

Complete team rosters are here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tour de wake me up in 5 days...

Every morning I swear I'm not going to waste time watching what has got to be the most stultifyingly boring Tour de France of my life.  I feel like the intention was good: to make a close race that would end in a last day show down in the Alps, but the reality is a non-race.  All the favorites have no way of distancing themselves from each other and no reason to attack, either.  But like a crackhead, I keep turning that video on and watching, hoping to get a small hit of that sweet feeling that comes from watching a truly riveting bike race.  Today's hit of ecstasy came when it looked like Tyler Farrar was going to best the Manx Missile, but it wasn't meant to be.  Another 30-40 meters and maybe, but Cav' is just crazy fast when he sees that line sway into view.  All I know is that the end of this Tour better have enough fireworks to make up for all of the non-action we have seen so far...

Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France standings:

Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    7481
Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    7307
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    6918
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    6833
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    6831
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    6651
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    6557
Grom     Team CrashWagon    6539
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    6410
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    6320
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    6152
Steven Boike    RPM    6136
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    6059
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    5981
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    5883
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    5882
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    5774
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    5680
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    5611
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    5574
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    5524
Player barrett    team player    5450

We are on the verge of having 2 women on the podium! 

Full results are here.

Current standings through Stage 10

Full results are here.

Current standings:

Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    6756
Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    6711
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    6323
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    6217
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    6208
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    6088
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    6039
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    5874
Grom     Team CrashWagon    5868
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    5710
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    5678
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    5655
Steven Boike    RPM    5617
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    5502
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    5438
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    5368
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    5245
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    5222
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    5218
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    5082
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    4992
Player barrett    team player    4991

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another stage, another yellow for Nocentini

The most exciting thing in the Tour right now is the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France.  While the real race plays out with awful predictability this week, the LCFTdF is a topsy turvy world of upset and rising fortunes.  The ladies have stepped up mightily this year as we have Nicole Thomas in 2nd place on GC and fast rising Melanie Black moving into 4th place.  Player Barrett has extricated himself from the last place position, but just as in the real Tour, there is a reward for the trick of finishing in last place in the LCFTdF, too!

current standings and results:

Charles Bennett    Bernanke's Bumblers    5956
Nicole Thomas    Espresso Train    5885
Ron Swenson    Team Theoretical    5762
Mellie Black    Team Limp Along    5679
Peter Purcell    Team Heal With Steel    5564
Shane Norris    Team Inizio    5344
Charles Hicks    Team Buuurrnn!    5314
jim brown    stylin' and profilin'    5271
Grom     Team CrashWagon    5211
Grant Dunstan    Lone Beer Ranger    5105
Steven Boike    RPM    5103
Eddy Winkler    Team Not Caught Yet    5087
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer    4997
John Hansen    Lumpy skates    4983
Chris Thomas    Dessel Engine    4982
Chris Harris    Equipe Poisson    4862
Jenna King    Le Chiffre    4760
Trey Barnes    Steam Donkey    4743
Jeff Welch    Pigs in Zen    4727
Lara Cassidy    Lara's team    4606
Player barrett    team player    4568
Scott Staley    JRB Racing    4455

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another stage

The next week of the Tour will pretty much go as follows: Nocentini will keep the yellow courtesy of Astana.  The real race will start with the ITT and the Alps.  This could all come down to Mont Ventoux on the second to last day.  It is going to take all the other teams working together to have any hope of breaking Astana's apparent stranglehold on the race.  Cadel's move today showed a bit of brashness, but there is no way anyone on Astana is going to let him go and with only one tt left in the race, he is pretty much sunk.  Wiggins and Vande Velde could make things interesting, but I don't think that will happen until the Alps.  I think Armstrong will try to gain time on Contador in the time trial and then shadow him in the mountains.  Contador will have to attack hard on the steeps to dislodge people, but he will also have to count on Armstrong riding the team "plan" and not chasing his own teammate.  Still up in the air as to how this rivalry is going to play out.

Fantasy Tour results are here.

current GC

Nicole Thomas                Espresso Train                    5344
Charles Bennett              Bernanke's Bumblers           5302
Ron Swenson                 Team Theoretical                  5166
Peter Purcell                   Team Heal With Steel          5086
Mellie Black                   Team Limp Along              5082
Charles Hicks                 Team Buuurrnn!                 4955
Shane Norris                   Team Inizio                        4942
Grom                               Team CrashWagon            4766
jim brown                        stylin' and profilin'            4764
Eddy Winkler                 Team Not Caught Yet         4581
Chris Thomas                 Dessel Engine                    4540
John Hansen                   Lumpy skates                     4400
Steven Boike                  RPM                                   4398
Grant Dunstan                Lone Beer Ranger              4381
Mary Ann Brown          Hope & A Prayer                 4371
Jeff Welch                      Pigs in Zen                          4333
Chris Harris                   Equipe Poisson                   4289
Trey Barnes                   Steam Donkey                     4191
Jenna King                     Le Chiffre                          4178
Scott Staley                   JRB Racing                         4099
Lara Cassidy                 Lara's team                          4097
Player barrett                team player                          3898

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tour de Fraaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhnce

In what looked to have the makings of an epic stage full of sound and fury, today's jaunt to Andorra was remarkably unspectacular.  Sure Contador threw down an accelleration at the end, but realistically this was the Cat. 5 city limit sprint blindside moment of the Tour.  Armstrong stated that it wasn't part of the plan but he didn't expect Contador to follow the plan, while Bruyneel said there was no plan.  That kind of muddle doesn't bode well.  But Kloden sure did stay up there and could still pull the you-guys-have-the-measuring-contest-while-I-go-win-this-thing attack up his sleeve.  Sad to say, but Armstrong has brought both drama and dullness to this Tour.  Astana pulled it out the tried and true playbook and set tempo at the front, daring anybody to try and attack.  Poor Evans hasn't figured out he's already dead.  One small light shines in the Garmin bunch as both Wiggins and Vande Velde held up on the stage with Zabriskie doing decent climbing duty for a good part of the day. 

Fantasy Tour de France standings are here.

Nicole Thomas         Espresso Train                4754
Ron Swenson           Team Theoretical            4542
Charles Bennett       Bernanke's Bumblers      4530
Peter Purcell            Team Heal With Steel     4509
Charles Hicks          Team Buuurrnn!              4496
Shane Norris            Team Inizio                     4416
Mellie Black            Team Limp Along           4310
jim brown                stylin' and profilin'          4207
Grom                       Team CrashWagon          4198
Eddy Winkler          Team Not Caught Yet      4114
Jeff Welch               Pigs in Zen                       3958
Chris Thomas         Dessel Engine                  3935
Steven Boike          RPM                                 3847
John Hansen           Lumpy skates                   3796
Grant Dunstan        Lone Beer Ranger            3789
Scott Staley            JRB Racing                       3765
Mary Ann Brown    Hope & A Prayer             3751
Trey Barnes           Steam Donkey                   3677
Jenna King             Le Chiffre                        3618
Chris Harris           Equipe Poisson                3567
Lara Cassidy          Lara's team                      3505
Player barrett         team player                      3305

Thursday, July 09, 2009

History is made

Today is an historic day in the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France.  For today is the day that the gender barrier has been broken and a female directeur sportif has ascended the top step in the GC.  Nicole Thomas has become the first female GC leader by ousting Peter Purcell from what appeared to be a pretty commanding lead.  Chapeau, Nicole!

Latest standings:

1. Espresso Train (N. Thomas) - 4219 pts.
2. Team Heal with Steel (P. Purcell) - 4082 pts.
3. Team Buuuuuuuuurn! (C. Hicks) - 3981 pts.

Complete standings here.

Complete list of teams and their riders here.

Tomorrow is the day that could reveal all.  With a final 10.6 km that looks like a graphic from a math SAT question requiring knowledge of the Pythagorean Theorem,  a first kilometer with an average gradient of 8.7%, and an overall nasty disposition that travels skyward, the finish will definitely seperate the contenders from the pretenders.  The big question on everybody's mind is what will Armstrong reveal on this climb?  Is it all just smoke and mirrors?  Will Contador send a message? or will Lance lay down some horrific smackdown after a brutal softening up of the bunch courtesy of his faithful domestiques?  Will Levi take advantage and for once lay down an attack?  Will Kloden ride for himself and be the big spoiler?  This is going to be an interesting day...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

LCFTdF update

The sentimental favorite, Thomas Voeckler, guts out a crazy win after a looooooooooooooong break in swirling crosswinds 5 years to the day of taking the yellow jersey in 2004.  The darling of France is back!

Your Fantasy Standings:

1. Team Heal with Steel (P. Purcell) - 3554 pts
2. Team Buuuuuuuurn! (C. Hicks)   - 3391 pts
3. Espresso Train (N. Thomas)         - 3390 pts   (first female to crack the top 3 in GC!)

lanterne rouge Team Player  (P. Barrett) - 2144 pts

Complete standings here.

Friday will seperate the contenders from the pretenders so stay tuned! 

LCFTdF update

After Stage 4, the top 3 are as follows:

1. Team Heal With Steal (P. Purcell)  - 2854 pts
2. Team Buuuuuuurn! (C. Hicks)       - 2683 pts
3. Team Not Caught Yet (E. Winkler)- 2524 pts

lanterne rouge Team Player (P. Barrett) - 1748 pts

 Complete results here

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The ghost of Tours Past

In 1985, while on a break with Stephen Roche of Ireland, Greg LeMond was ordered by his directeur sportif to wait for his ailing team captain, Bernard Hinault.  LeMond had become the yellow jersey on the road, but the internal politics of a french team with a great french champion trying to win his record tying 5th Tour de France proved too much of an impediment to LeMond taking what looked like his first Tour victory.  At the end of that stage, a completely wasted Hinault appeared gracious for LeMond's sacrifice and vowed to aid LeMond in his bid for the Tour the next year.

In 1986, Hinault clashed with LeMond early in the Tour.  An epic duel between two teammates was put forth upon the roads of France, and there have been few Tours de France as gripping and exciting.  The two riders split their team with French riders siding with Hinault and LeMond having the lithe neo-pro Andy Hampsten and the Canadian workhorse, Steve Bauer, solidly in his camp.  LeMond and Hinault ripped the Tour apart and remade it as a personal race.  LeMond contended that Hinault was going back on his pledge to help him win his first Tour.  Hinault countered that he was helping, but that he never pledged to just give the race to Lemond, either.  Ultimately, LeMond prevailed, but the biggest winners were all of us who got to witness that epic race.  I will never forget those two men, resplendent in their Mondrian-inspired La Vie Claire team kits, hurtling down the Alps helmetless on fragile looking steel framed bicycles, alone except for each other.

Yesterday's stage may be a peek at a potentially brewing epic battle such as that witnessed in 1986.  Questions still linger, though.  There are several scenarios that could play out and various reasons that they are not what is truly going on, but I will give it my best to try and lay them out.

1. There is no rivalry
Could it be that all of this Armstrong-Contador infighting is just a big made up issue put forth by Bruyneel, et al in order to distract the competition and keep them slightly off balance?  This could be another mind game like the ailing Armstrong that was played up to the cameras as a successful bid to get Jan Ullrich to whip his Telekom team to overextend itself prior to the attack that has forever been dubbed, "The look". 
I don't put a lot of faith in this scenario simply because it is too convoluted and the results would be minimal if even apparent.

2. Armstrong is trying to win the Tour
Yesterday's move was pretty heads up racing on the part of Armstrong.  More suspicious is the question of radio communication: did Bruyneel communicate the wind situation to both Contador and Armstrong or did he just communicate with Armstrong?  Since Astana has made it clear that they want to build a team around Contador (and Vinokourov) with or without Bruyneel and Armstrong, could these two be throwing a big monkey wrench into the works by concocting a huge win for Armstrong?
I'm a little more curious about this scenario, but an unproven Armstrong will have to fight for every scrap for the next three weeks to pull this off and that may prove to be to tall of a task for him to pull off.

3. Armstrong is helping Leipheimer win
I suspected this up until yesterday.  It makes since that if Armstrong wants to work against Contador, his best bet is to assist Leipheimer. Levi isn't all that far off the mark when it comes to Contador and could legitimately compete against the guy. 
This scenario lost some plausibility due to the absence of Leipheimer in yesterday's break, but then again it could still be in the running...

4. Armstrong is helping Contador like Hinault helped LeMond
"I said I would help, but I didn't say I'd give it to him."  Maybe this is what's going on, but at this point I have no clue.

5. Team Telekom redux
Maybe there are too many big guns on this team just as there were on Team Telekom.  Ullrich, Vinokourov and Kloden were all super strong, but they seemed to fight more with each other than against the common enemy of Armstrong.  I would think Bruyneel too smart to let this happen, but maybe the lions are out of the cage and there's no getting them back in...  What would be curious in this scenario is how Kloden will react since he has been there/done that with this situtation. 

Fantasy Tour Standings

1. Team Heal with Steel (P. Purcell) - 2148 pts.
2. Team Inizio (S. Norris)                 - 1856 pts.
3  Team Buuuuuuuurn! (C. Hicks)   - 1845 pts.

lanterne rouge Team Player (P. Barrett) - 1355 pts.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Cav' kicks it, Farrar feels it, and Boonen blow(s) it

Having spent the day in Asheville, checking out the WNC Nature Center with Owen and Golden, downing some vegetarian grub at The Laughing Seed, and getting Owen out on his first rock climbing experience at the climbing gym, I had very little time to spend on the scoring of today's Fantasy Tour de France.  But never fear, a BIG, BIG thanks to neopro directeur sportif Jenna King for her awesome and amazing excel spreadsheet skills, I have a much easier job for scoring.  There are still a few kinks to be worked out, but bear with us while we address them.  The main issue to realize is that results are not in order according to who is leading, so you will have to do a bit of figurin' to find out what place you are in (for now).  I will tell you the current podium positions.

 Results after stage 2:

1st place - Team Heal with Steel (P. Purcell)
2nd place - Team Not Caught Yet (E. Winkler)
3rd place - Bernanke's Bumblers (C. Bennett)

lanterne rouge - Team Player (P. Barrett)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

And they're off!

Both the real and fantasy tour have started, in case you were wondering.  The Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France has a record 23 teams entered!  Suffice it to say, scoring was a bit time consuming so I will refrain from being too verbose and get right to the point.

With an early lead (as usual), Eddie Winkler's Team Not Caught Yet won the stage.  Don't worry too much because his team always gets caught and members will be removed from the race due to various pharmaceutical infractions.

Full Results