armstrong

Armstrong’s bike on the team car before the Ventoux stage

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More to come soon …

AFP PHOTO LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)

STAGE STANDING BY POINTS
Result after stage 20

Total distance covered: 167 km

Standing Rider Rider number bib Team Time Gaps
1. GARATE Juan Manuel 45 RABOBANK 4h 39′ 21″
2. MARTIN Tony 76 TEAM COLUMBIA – HTC 4h 39′ 24″ + 00′ 03″
3. SCHLECK Andy 31 TEAM SAXO BANK 4h 39′ 59″ + 00′ 38″
4. CONTADOR Alberto 21 ASTANA 4h 39′ 59″ + 00′ 38″
5. ARMSTRONG Lance 22 ASTANA 4h 40′ 02″ + 00′ 41″
6. SCHLECK Frank 36 TEAM SAXO BANK 4h 40′ 04″ + 00′ 43″
7. KREUZIGER Roman 93 LIQUIGAS 4h 40′ 07″ + 00′ 46″
8. PELLIZOTTI Franco 91 LIQUIGAS 4h 40′ 17″ + 00′ 56″
9. NIBALI Vincenzo 95 LIQUIGAS 4h 40′ 19″ + 00′ 58″
10. WIGGINS Bradley 58 GARMIN – SLIPSTREAM 4h 40′ 24″ + 01′ 03″
11. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 17 SILENCE – LOTTO 4h 41′ 00″ + 01′ 39″
12. KLÖDEN Andréas 23 ASTANA 4h 41′ 03″ + 01′ 42″
35. HESJEDAL Ryder 54 GARMIN – SLIPSTREAM 4h 45′ 06″ + 05′ 45″

Third time lucky?

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Sentiment is calling for Armstrong to conquer the Ventoux this year. The realities of a 37 year old athlete up against a half dozen riders in their prime may spoil that storyline.

Pantani_Armstrong_Mont_VentouxIn his heyday, Armstrong had two occasions to triumph on the 13-mile ascent at an average gradient of 7.6 percent.

In 2000, when he won the Tour for a second time, he allowed Marco Pantani (photo left) of Italy to pass him at the finish line and later regretted having given away the victory. Two years later, Armstrong’s team reacted too late and failed to catch Frenchman Richard Virenque, settling for third place.

“It reinforces that I made mistakes the previous two times,” Armstrong recently told the Associated Press. “I should have raced differently in 2000 and we should have raced differently in 2002. The Ventoux deserves the strongest riders, the mountain asks for that.”

Associated Press

Contador’s tactics cost his teammates

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FIRST THINGS FIRST, A RYDER UPDATE:

Great stage by Hesjedal today. The Victoria native raced to a strong 26th place finish in the hardest stage of the Tour, only 7’47” off a nasty pace that crossed over four fierce Category 1 climbs. This was a goodbye to the French Alps and Ryder has scratched his way back up to 56th overall. Tomorrow is the Lac d’Annecy time trial.

Back to the race leaders …

In the midst of a very tactical race today, Alberto Contador mystified most TdF watchers with a weird and unnecessary attack on the Schleck Bros. Nice brain cramp Alberto.

Star News Services
LIONEL BONAVENTURE

LE GRAND BORNAND, France | Alberto Contador has survived every significant threat to his yellow jersey this week. On Wednesday, his odd racing tactics posted a threat to his team.

Contador possibly cost teammates440-contador_armstrong_07-23-2009_U81AM887.embedded.prod_affiliate.81 Lance Armstrong and Andreas Kloden a spot on the podium next to him on Sunday in Paris.

At issue was why Contador, while ascending the last of the stage’s six climbs, decided to attack with little to gain.

His acceleration dropped his fatigued teammate Kloden, effectively isolating Contador against two rivals — brothers Andy and Frank Schleck — who took advantage of the situation and quickened the pace on everyone. At the end of the day, Contador widened his overall lead, but at a cost to Armstrong and Kloden, who had been in second and fourth place going into the 17th stage.

We could have been one, two, three after today,” said Johan Bruyneel, Astana’s team director. “Now we are one, four and five.

Tour de France of Ski: Stage 18, Annecy

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After stage 16, Lance Armstrong remains in second place behind teammate and tour leader Alberto Contador of Spain. Armstrong remains 1 minute 37 seconds back after mounting a most impressive comeback of sheer heart on the route from Martigny to Bour-Saint-Maurice. Armstrong fell back of Contador and other tour leaders by as much as 35 seconds. He probably will not win his 8th Tour de France, but the comeback by the 37-year-old during stage 16, catching back up to Contador, was as impressive as any of his seven tour wins.

AnnecyNow the riders head to the town of ultimate beauty, Annecy. You don’t live there now, but if ever any of us would be so lucky to call Annecy home, well, you’d be pretty happy. The town of art and history is called the Venice of the Alps. Annecy is also France’s nomination to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Tour de France of Ski: Stage 18, Annecy

There’s a reason the 60% of all World Cup alpine events in France are hosted by Annecy. Le Grand Bornand, Manigold, La Clusaz, Megeve, les Saisies are all ski areas within 20 miles of Annecy.

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Contador cautious ahead of second Alpine stage

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Contador cautious ahead of second Alpine stage
Tue 21 Jul, 04:04 AM

Alberto Contador will be on his guard when the Tour de France resumes following a rest day with Tuesday’s 16th stage taking riders on a 159-km trek in the Alps from Martigny to Bourg St Maurice.

cautious contadorThe Spaniard, in a league of his own in Sunday’s first Alpine stage when he took the overall leader’s yellow jersey, leads Astana team mate Lance Armstrong by one minute 37 seconds and Briton Bradley Wiggins by 1:46.

Andy Schleck, Carlos Sastre and Cadel Evans are among those also hot on his heels and will be ready to jump on the opportunity should Contador have a bad day.

“I must make sure that I do everything correctly so that my rivals cannot have a chance,” said Contador, who lost his Paris-Nice lead earlier this year when he cracked in the penultimate stage.

Tuesday’s stage will take the bunch to the summit of this year’s Tour with the long ascent to the Col du Grand St Bernard, culminating at 2,473 metres.

Attacks could come in the climb to the Col du Petit St Bernard, after which there is a 30-km descent to Bourg St Maurice.

Reuters

Ryder Hesjedal – Stage 15 breakaway leader

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Ryder was a key catalyst stage 15 Prevonloup & Col des Mossesin the breakaway group today, bringing home points toward the polka dot jersey by finishing second on the category 3 Prevonloup climb and finishing right up with the escape leaders on the Col des Mosses category 2. He also got a lot of face time on Versus when they aired a profile on him as he climbed the Col des Mosses.

Solid day all round.

The peleton eventually caught up to the escape group for the final ascent up Verbier, with Ryder ending up 44th for the stage, 4’23” back. Hesjedal now stands in 57th, among notable Tour vets Jens Voigt and Christophe Moreau.

Contador was clearly the story of the day, pulling away with ease from the other leaders to take the stage by 43″ over Andy Schleck, and 1’35” over Lance Armstrong, who finished 9th.

Alberto-Contador-001The Tour has the strong feeling of an anti-climax, partly because Contador has twice attacked Armstrong with no response, and also because there have been no real shake outs since the early Pyrenees stages. Tour organizers have managed to make this a fairly pedestrian tour so far, long on gorgeous French, Spanish, Swiss, and Alsatian landscapes, but very short on dramatic attacks.

Armstrong admitted in a gracious post-stage interview that Contador is clearly the better rider right now. Looks like he’s setting his sights on second place as the notorious Ventoux lies in wait for the Tour leaders.