tour de france

Hesjedal 7th in the Tour de France

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How good does that sound?  Congratulations Ryder.

Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria will roll down the historic Champs-Élysées in Paris today as the breakout performer of the 2010 Tour de France.

He’ll also be the Island’s biggest sporting landmark performer since basketball player Steve Nash and triathlete Simon Whitfield.

The Belmont Secondary graduate is assured of delivering the best result by a Canadian in the Tour de France since Steve Bauer of Fenwick, Ont., finished fourth in 1988.

Hesjedal will enter the 20th and final stage of the Tour in seventh place overall after yesterday’s 52-kilometre individual time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac saw him move up from eighth. That will be his final placing as today’s last stage, a 102.5-kilometre flat ride into Paris from Longjumeau, is largely ceremonial.

“To be talked about in the same company as Steve Nash and Simon is pretty humbling,” said Hesjedal from France. “Seven is a pretty cool number, especially when it comes to [overall placing in] the Tour de France.” Hesjedal described the support on the road as “unreal,” saying he saw several Canadian flags waving, keeping him focused after three weeks of hard racing.

Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/sports/Victoria+Ryder+Hesjedal+Magnifique/3320453/story.html#ixzz0uoLxRkME

Ryder exceeds all expectations on the Tourmalet

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Ryder on the way to an inspiring 4th place stage 17 finish, only 1:27 behind Andy Schleck, the stage winner.  Hesjedal now sits 8th in the GC, the best showing by a Canadian since Steve Bauer’s 4th in 1988.

Ryder Hesjedal climbing toward top 10

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After making the selection with the yellow jersey group over the top of the hors categorie Port de Pailhères climb, Ryder Hesjedal settled into his own tempo on the final climb up to the finish at Ax 3 Domaines. In doing so, he finished ahead of four big names ahead of him on GC — Liquigas’ Ivan Basso and Roman Kreuziger, Astana’s Alexander Vinokourov and Caisse d’Eparnge’s Luis Leon Sanchez.

Hesjedal finished 12th on the day, just behind RadioShack’s Levi Leipheimer.

Was he pleased with his result? “Big time.”

“I was ahead of a lot of guys I wanted to be ahead of. Mission accomplished,” he said after the finish. “Especially after what I did on stage 12, even stage 3. I don’t know how many guys are going to be ahead of me on GC that have been going in all-day breakaways. I’m still feeling good, and we’ll just keep it going.”

Hesjedal got into a long-range move on stage 12 with 17 other riders, and made the final selection with Vinokourov and RadioShack’s Andreas Klöden that was only swept up in the final kilometers of the climb to the finish in Mende. On stage 3, Hesjedal attacked solo out of a breakaway on the cobbles. He was caught by the rest of the breakway, though, and finished fourth.

“I’m really happy today. I was a bit scared after the last two stages. Yesterday was hard; it just never stopped. It was singlefile all day. I could feel my legs after that, and I was a bit nervous for today,” he said. “But after we started climbing, I settled in, and I was comfortable as could be. And I showed that on the last climb.”

Read whole article here.

Ryder Hesjedal, sixth overall, still riding high at the Tour de France

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Ryder crossing the finish line at Morzine-Avoriaz, recording his best-ever mountain stage.

By John Wilcockson • Published: Jul 11th 2010 3:50 PM EDT

After finishing stage 8 Sunday atop the difficult climb to Avoriaz, Ryder Hesjedal was pleased with his performance, placing 14th on the day and slotting into sixth place overall, 1:11 behind new race leader Cadel Evans, and only 10 seconds down on defending champion Alberto Contador.

It was Hesjedal’s best-ever ride on a mountain stage at the Tour, and it firmly establishes him as leader of Garmin-Transitions following the withdrawal of Christian Vande Velde with a broken collarbone last Monday.

Asked about his fight for a high GC position, Hesjedal said, “It was hard, really hard. The first big climb, the pace was really hard, and the selection was already small, but I felt pretty good. You know, once I made it up that climb I really focused on the last one.”

“I felt pretty good, but halfway up I just had to settle into my own rhythm, and I think that was good as I only lost a minute and a bit. As much as I wanted to stay with the Contador group, I knew my limits.”

Commenting on the stage, Garmin team director Matt White said, “It’s safe to say that Ryder has done some of the rides of his life here, and today was no exception.”

———–

White later said, “Losing Christian was obviously a negative for the team, but it provided Ryder with an opportunity to step up into a GC role — and he’s done it. I’m really proud of what he’s accomplished here already and, for now, we’ll keep taking it day by day.”

Read entire article at VeloNews.com.

‘Unknown’ Hesjedal not unknown to everyone

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Ryder has been getting a lot of attention on the International circuit for a few seasons as one of the up-and-coming riders.  With a depleted Garmin-Transitions team in this Tour de France, we may just see him accelerated into one of the lead team roles …

Canadian Ryder Hesjedal maintained his fourth-place standing overall in the 2010 Tour de France after the fourth stage Wednesday, but admitted that heady ranking is taking some getting used to.

“This is unknown territory for me,” said Hesjedal, who stayed 46 seconds behind overall leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, following the 153.5 kilometre fourth stage from Cambrai to Reims.

“It’s a high placing at the moment, but in cycling, you just have to take it day by day and see how it all unfolds. There are a lot of good riders who were expecting better but who are already out (because of the barrage of crashes over the hectic opening three stages). All I know is I’m going to fight to the bitter end for three weeks.”

Read more here.

Ryder Hesjedal – Tour de France, stage 3

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Heroic ride for Hesjedal today in Stage 3 of the Tour de France. He gutted out an amazing 4th place over the dangerous Paris-Roubaix cobblestones. As if it wasn’t impressive enough that he led most of the way through the race, when he was pinned back by the chase group of Cancellera, Schleck, and Norwegian sprinting star Thor Hushovd, he didn’t crack. He hung on their tails for the final 9km and actually led out the sprint to close out the race. Truly impressive ride.

Tour de France 2010 begins

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Yes!  The 2010 Tour de France is underway.  The results of the Prologue time trial are in today and Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal finished a very respectable 37th.  He’s riding the confidence of a very good 2010 season and has said in recent interviews that he might just win a stage this year.

Here’s the Tour route video for 2010:


From CBC Sports:

Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland won the prologue of the Tour de France on Saturday, with seven-time winner Lance Armstrong finishing an impressive fourth to start what he’s calling his last ride in cycling’s main event.

Cancellara, who has won four Tour prologues including last year’s in Monaco, clocked 10 minutes for the individual time trial on 8.9 kilometres of rain-dampened roads in Rotterdam.

“That was a great opening for me and the team,” Cancellara said, referring to his Danish squad Saxo Bank. “It’s an amazing day. I’m really happy.”

Germany’s Tony Martin, who had led for most of the day, was second, 10 seconds back, and David Millar of Britain placed third — 20 seconds off the pace.

Armstrong trailed 22 seconds back in fourth. Perhaps most impressively, the American edged out rival Alberto Contador — the defending Tour champion and top pre-race favourite — by five seconds.

Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria was 37th, 46 seconds off the pace, while Michael Barry of Toronto was 120th, 1:08 back. The top rider for the Canadian-owned Cervelo TestTeam was Lithuanian Ignatas Konovalovas, who was 33rd, 44 seconds behind the leader.

Read more at CBC Sports

Cycling fans name Hesjedal best of decade

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Photograph by: Martin Bernetti, AFP/Getty Images

Congrats to Ryder!

BY CLEVE DHEENSAW, VICTORIA TIMES COLONIST

VICTORIA — The 2000s began for Ryder Hesjedal on the mountain bike, continued on the road and conclude with the Victoria rider being named Canadian cyclist of the decade.

The quietly intense Hesjedal, 2003 world mountain biking silver medallist who in 2008 and 2009 became the fourth Canadian to ride in the Tour de France, was given the honour in balloting by Canadian fans conducted on CanadianCyclist.com.

Hesjedal received 31.4 per cent of the vote, in the results released Monday. Runner-up was Marie-Helene Premont of Quebec City, 2004 Athens Summer Olympics mountain-biking women’s silver medallist, with 16.6 per cent of the vote. Roland Green of Victoria, two-time world men’s mountain biking champion and 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, was third with 14.6 per cent.

“It’s a recognition of ten years worth of hard work and a big honour,” said Hesjedal, in a phone interview from a training camp in Maui.

“I’m 29 and feel I have several good years left ahead of me. Maybe I can get the award for the next decade, too.”

Over the summer, the two-time Olympian became the first Canadian to win a stage in the Tour of Spain, which with the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia comprise the Grand Tour of pro cycling. It was the first Grand Tour stage victory for a Canadian since Steve Bauer of Fenwick, Ont., in the 1988 Tour de France.

Read entire article here.

Tour climax electric

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The moment that will resonate with me from this TdF is the moment Mark Cavendish ripped away from the rest on the Champs-Élysées and won the final “sprint” duel by 30 metres. SPTT_schleck_apx_470__w_ouestfrance_The Tour has been an odd mix of anti-climax and entertainment this year, with massive egos (Armstrong and Contador) that make you shake your head, and filial strategy (Schleck and Schleck) that makes you marvel at the unique bond of brothers, but for me, in the end, it all came down to the sprints.

George Hincapie showed himself to be the super domestique that he truly is, delivered the final stretch to Australian Mark Renshaw, and Renshaw gave the Isle of Man’s Mark Cavendish the slingshot he needed to unleash one of the most thorough thrashings of a field of sprinters I’ve seen in recent memory. That was unexpected. Finally, in a slightly over-managed Tour, we had a moment of genuine electricity.

Mark Cavendish sprints to victory on Champs-Élysées
Sunday 26 July 2009 16.51 BST

Mark-Cavendish-and-Mark-R-001
Photograph: Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images

Mark Cavendish won the final stage of the Tour de France with another magnificent sprint, beating his nearest rival by over 30 metres at the famous finish on the Champs Elysées in Paris.

It takes his stage wins for this year’s Tour to six and his tally overall to 10. Last week he had eclipsed Barry Hoban’s record for a British rider of eight and it is only the 24-year-old’s second Tour.

guardian.co.uk

Hesjedal one stage away from the Champs-Élysées

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UPDATE: Hesjedal was 35th on the Mont Ventoux stage today, finishing in 4’45″06. That was 5:45 seconds behind stage winner Juan Manuel Garate of Spain. He’s currently in 49th overall at 82:59:58, which is 1:13:41 behind Contador (81:46:17). By the end of tomorrow’s stage on the Champs-Élysées he will have covered a total distance of 3435 km.

Photo courtesy of Garmin Slipstream.

Victoria’s Hesjedal gearing up for Tour’s end
Cleve Dheensaw, Canwest News Service
Published: Saturday, July 25, 2009

VICTORIA — After nearly 88 hours of pedalling, 3,500 hard kilometres under a relentless sun and three crashes, Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria will ride down Paris’s famed Champs-Elysees on Sunday to end his second Tour de France.

“It’s hard to put into words, but coming down the Champs is the magic moment every cyclist dreams of,” Hesjedal said Saturday from France.

“The Champs will be crazy with all the people and atmosphere. It’s a truly significant moment in the career of any cyclist and I’m looking forward to it.”

Until last year’s race, no Canadian cyclist had experienced that rush for more than a decade.

“It will be hard to beat the memory of the first time I did it (2008),” said two-time Olympian, only the fourth Canadian ever to ride in the Tour.

“Nothing compares with the first time. But returning to do it again for the second time is hugely satisfying on a whole different level. I’ve shown I belong in this race at this level.”

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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

Domestiques make cycling champs possible

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I picked this article to give some credit to the domestique work Ryder Hesjedal has done for his Garmin teammates during this tour …

The unsung heroes of the road

Joe O’Connor, National Post
Published: Friday, July 24, 2009

He was known as King René, but really, the French regarded René Vietto more like a saint, vietto gives up front wheela noble being who was both pure of heart and driven by a selfless desire to sacrifice everything for someone else.

Vietto was just a simple busboy from Cannes, with an unrefined talent for bicycle racing, when the French national team summoned him to be a domestique – or servant – for their great champion, Antonin Magne, in the 1934 Tour de France.

The French critics were aghast. They cried that the kid was too young and inexperienced to be a loyal rider whose sole purpose would be to fight not to win the race but to make sure Magne did.

But a funny thing happened when the Tour entered the mountains. The busboy from Cannes had springs for legs, and astonishing lungs, and beetled up the staggering steeps leaving the rest of the competition behind. Vietto was in third place overall and perhaps on his way to claiming the yellow jersey in Paris when duty intervened in the Pyrenees.

“It turned out Vietto was a sensational climber, and he was out-climbing Magne in the mountains,”magne says Owen Mulholland, an author, columnist and cycling historian from the San Francisco Bay area. “There was one point in the race where the team car comes up to Vietto and tells him Magne has crashed. So Vietto turns around and rides back up the mountain to give his bike to his team leader. This guy had a chance to win the Tour de France and he gave it up for his leader – and he gave it up by riding the wrong way back up the course.”

King René never won a Tour, although his sacrifice for Magne, who eventually did, remains the gold standard for what it means to be a domestique. Vietto was revered for what he did that day. It made him into a king, and his roadside grave on a mountain pass near his hometown is a holy shrine for cycling fanatics.

——-

The domestic life may not sound like such a glamourous existence, but then, how does this sound: living in Europe, riding around on a bike and, if you are good at sacrificing yourself for someone else’s glory, getting paid several hundred thousand dollars a year to do it?

Stevebauer88 Bauer earned even more than that for being a team leader-cum-domestique for Motorola in the early 1990s. Affectionately known as Le Canadien around France, Bauer finished fourth in the 1988 Tour. He wore the yellow jersey for 14 days and completed 11 Tours in all. Bauer was also a domestique for winning teams in 1985 (Bernard Hinault of France) and 1986 (Greg Lemond of the United States).

Le Canadien never had La Problème with being a helper instead of the headliner. It was just part of being a professional rider.

“You do it with pride,” Bauer says. “I look at North American sports and without a solid team the individual is nothing. And without a solid team in cycling, you cannot win.”

National Post

Spectre of le Géant looming for TdF riders

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Mount Ventoux is the highest peak of the Vaucluse, reaching 1, 912 meters. It’s the most feared climb on the TdF and this year it’s the penultimate stage. This is the climb that will select the riders on the podium in Paris.

Specter of Mont Ventoux looming for Tour de France riders
BY LINDA ROBERTSON

ventoux1One cruel, spooky and mystical peak stands between the riders in the Tour de France and their finale on the Champs Elysees.

Before sipping champagne they must swallow pain on one last climb, the toughest of the 2,174-mile race.

Mont Ventoux looms as the implacable star of Saturday’s Stage 20. Called the “Bald Mountain” and the “Giant of Provence,” it rises 6,273 feet above the Comtadine Plains. It appears to be snow-capped because of its barren, limestone slopes, stripped of trees by shipbuilders centuries ago. It challenges cyclists with its steep, nearly hour-long ascent, often in torrid heat and buffeting winds.

Tour organizers chose Mont Ventoux for the penultimate stage to create suspense.

“It’s the piece de resistance, ridiculous and exciting,” said TV commentator Paul Sherwen, who rode the mountain as a pro. “It’s a very sadomasochistic choice.”

MIAMIHERALD.COM

Championship ride

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alberto_contador_wideweb__470x289,0Failing a complete disaster for Contador in the remaining stages, this is a photo of the next TdF champion.

With every tour champion comes the doping allegations. Contador’s performance has been stunning, and Greg Lemond was quoted today in the Australian press openly questioning Alberto’s advantage …

Contador dodges questions on doping
Rupert Guinness at Lake Annecy,
July 24, 2009 – 7:12AM

It took only two questions into Tour de France leader Alberto Contador’s press conference after winning the stage 18 time trial before the Spaniard found himself fending off questions about a newspaper column by former triple champion Greg LeMond that said he must prove he has raced clean.

——————

LeMond, referring to the 8.5km climb at an average gradient of 7.5 per cent, wrote: “Never has a rider in the Tour climbed so fast. How do you explain such a performance? According to the last information published by former Festina trainer and specialist in performance Antoine Vayer in [the French newspaper] Liberation, the Spanish rider would have needed a VO2 max (consummation of oxygen) of 99.5 ml/mn/kg to produce such an effort.

“To my knowledge this figure has never been achieved by any athlete in any sport. It is a bit like if you took a nice Mercedes out of the car showroom, lined it up on a Formula 1 circuit and won the race. There is something that is wrong. It would be interesting to know what is under the bonnet.”

Sydney Morning Herald

Armstrong racing around Lac d’Annecy

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Excellent photo of Lance Armstrong racing around Lac d’Annecy today by Harold de Haan. Click on the photo to view his flickr page.



TREK TT bike, design by Nara, originally uploaded by fumes1200.

Here’s the photographer’s note on the photo:

Lance Armstrong on the Yoshitomo Nara Speed Concept Time trial bike during Stage 18 of the 2009 Tour de France.

UPDATE ON TIME TRIAL RESULTS:

1. CONTADOR Alberto 21 ASTANA 48′ 30″
2. CANCELLARA Fabian 33 TEAM SAXO BANK 48′ 33″ + 00′ 03″
6. WIGGINS Bradley 58 GARMIN – SLIPSTREAM 49′ 13″ + 00′ 43″
9. KLÖDEN Andréas 23 ASTANA 49′ 24″ + 00′ 54″
16. ARMSTRONG Lance 22 ASTANA 50′ 00″ + 01′ 30″
21. SCHLECK Andy 31 TEAM SAXO BANK 50′ 15″ + 01′ 45″
35. SCHLECK Frank 36 TEAM SAXO BANK 51′ 04″ + 02′ 34″
43. HESJEDAL Ryder 54 GARMIN – SLIPSTREAM 51′ 21″ + 02′ 51″

OVERALL STANDINGS ON TIME

1.CONTADOR 73h 15′ 39″
2.SCHLECK A. 04′ 11″
3.ARMSTRONG 05′ 25″
4.WIGGINS 05′ 36″
5.KLÖDEN 05′ 38″
6.SCHLECK F. 05′ 59″
7.NIBALI 07′ 15″

55.HESJEDAL Ryder + 1h 06′ 37″

Lac d’Annecy – stage 18 time trial

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A good view of Lac d’Annecy in the Haute Savoie, the site of stage 18 of the Tour de France. The lake is about 30km south of Geneva, Switzerland. You get a good idea of the length of the lake here. It has about 35km of shoreline.

This beautiful photo is by Etienne Cazin. Please click on the picture to visit his flickr page.

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.

Presqu’ile de Duingt entre mes pieds

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Trans. “Duingt Peninsula between my feet” — a stunning aerial view of Lac d’Annecy by Bruno Lamaison. Click on the photo to view his flickr page. Couldn’t resist looking ahead to Thursday’s Tour de France time trial around the lake.

From the Lac d’Annecy website:

After 11 years, the Tour de France finds Lake Annecy and its left bank. What a wonderful place for the last individual time-trial all around the lake! The Tour Caravan will pass from Sevrier to Duingt between 9.10 and 9.26 am. Competitors will race through Annecy at 10.50 am. The first cyclist will pass in Sevrier at 10.53 am; the last one at 5.02 pm in Duingt.

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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