Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Winner, winner, chicken tender dinner!

Damn you, Nicole Thomas and your Pierrick Fedrigo/Thomas Voeckler tandem of stage winners!  And don't even get me started about your boy, Contador.  Anyway, congratulations on your big win here on the second rest day, yada yada yada, blah blah blah... Come by and claim your prize when you get a chance.

So, debate swirls around Contador's actions when Schleck's chain came off.  Rather than debate the action, I'd like to offer my two cents on Contador's reaction.  Contador clearly sees Schleck in trouble, Contador clearly drives the attack and continues to drive it on the descent.  Why claim that you "didn't know" or whatever nonsense?  Please be a man and and clearly state your actions rather than contradicting with words what your actions clearly were.  There really isn't anything wrong in saying that you were capitalizing on the situation because every second is going to count in this tour and that is bike racing.  Much hay has been made of the sporting gestures of Armstrong, but ultimately Armstrong knew that he was head and shoulders above his competition (reasons why are an entirely separate debate) and he could afford such gestures.  The battle going on now is not so clear cut and it is apparent that Contador is scared of Schleck this year.

A couple of interesting notes on the tour so far:

1. the current gap between first and second place is 8 seconds- Greg LeMonds winning margin in the closest Tour ever, 1989.  That tour was won on the final day in a time trial duel between Lemond and Laurent Fignon, who the day before, congratulate Lemond on his second place finish in the tour (a move which Lemond reacted to by thinking "you just lost the tour").

2. This tour is being fought out by two riders on different teams who are riding the exact same equipment: Specialized bikes, SRAM components and Zipp wheels (which are all American companies, too).  So this Tour will really be a test of man vs. man without the added mechanical advantage battle to complicate things.
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