As promised, back again this week! We come up with a new format for deciding the world champ (hint, it involves ALL the bike skills, not just one), Anna does a dramatic reading, and we come up with a fictional show where Peter Sagan and Tony Martin are besties.
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It’s that most bittersweet time of year when we reflect on the season that was. We talk about our favorite moments and our favorite riders. We were impressed with the Colombians and the youngsters the most! The future looks bright!
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We wrap up the last week of Tour and talk about the takaways! Included: Jeff is disappointed in Cancellara, Anna is impressed with Saxo, Jeff wonders if Tony Martin could be a GC threat someday, and Anna looks back at Nibali’s racing history. Also: Anna rubs it in that she was right about Wiggins moving to the track and Jeff rubs it in that he beat Anna in the fantasy league.
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Once again, Nibali makes the Tour his BITCH. And seriously, I cannot say enough about Nibali. I cannot remember a time when he was so aggressive. My memory of his Vuelta and Giro wins were more defensive, once he had the jersey. Here, he’s just toying with the competition!
- First, some old business. Can we please talk about how great it is that Frank Schleck is showing life?? He was in the top 10, but has dropped down to 12th after today, but STILL! Makes me so, so happy to see signs of the old Frank. Now, if only Andy would follow suit… Perhaps if he sees his brother doing well, that will get him out of his funk!
- Now back to Nibali. “Oh hai Chris. No, I don’t want a BigMac, but thanks anyway. Remember when you beat me in the Vuelta that one time? I sure do! Anyway, SEE YA!” (I mean, that’s the only reason I can think of why Nibali wouldn’t just let Horner go, who’s 39 minutes behind him!)
- “Wow, Vinny, it was so cool how you just flew by Nieve!” “Who?” EXACTLY.
- Also “ALL YOUR JERSEYS BELONG TO MEEEE!” not really, but I’m sure that was going through his head.
- With all those unzipped jerseys, you get to see who wears a heart rate monitor and who doesn’t. I was surprised to see so many guys without monitors. I thought that was the ‘thing’ now!
- Astana really is the boss this race. I’d be tempted to compare them to Sky (in the sense of controlling the race, always at the front), but Nibali is like, a million times more interesting than Wiggins!
- All this attention Nibali is getting is making me realize how big the Tour is- he’s won two GTs, but it wasn’t until he was awesome at the Tour that people started accepting that he is actually so awesome.
- I’ll admit that I was rooting for him to take the stage, but I did feel bad for Nieve.
- Tejay still riding a good ride. I get the impression he doesn’t quite have enough to attack and break Pinot or Peraud, but I say being able to mark them and not lose any time is a good start!
You know, I’ve never really liked Nibali’s “Shark” nickname, but I’m starting to see how it’s appropriate…
- Look. Nibali has LOADS of time of the guy in 2nd. I mean, he has over 4 FUCKING MINUTES on Valverde in 2nd. There’s no reason for him to attack. And if he were on Team Sky he definitely wouldn’t be attacking- he’d juts be chilling, riding defensively to save his lead. But the Shark is bored. He’s bored just sitting in the peloton, waiting to see if anyone attacks him so he has someone to toy with. I mean, just look at his face when he’s climbing. BORED. So, even though he attacked yesterday and WON THE DAMN STAGE, he decided to attack again today, just to alleviate the boredom. It’s like a fun game to him, seeing how much he can make his rivals suffer. So. I’m started to appreciate his “Shark’ nickname.
- I was hoping he wouldn’t make an effort to catch Majka. Majka had tried so hard yesterday and Nibali crushed him like a bug. So today when I saw Nibali’s gap to him was holding steady at 30 seconds, I was very happy Nibali wasn’t making a effort to chase him down- see, he’s not all shark!
- Do you suppose when Majka heard over the radio that Nibali attacked, he heard the Jaws theme in in his head? da-DUN. da-DUN. da-DUNdaDUNdaDUN
- I couldn’t keep the Frenchies straight today- I’m a little ashamed of that. Regardless, those 3 French young’uns are really putting on an impressive show! The French commentators were crapping themselves, watching those 3 go at it.
- Tejay did an amazing job today, keeping up with Pinot and Bardet when they went. He wasn’t able to cross the line with them, when they started sprinting, but losing a second or two is way better than minutes!
- Speaking of losing minutes- HAHAHAHA VALVERDE!
Nibali is sending a message. And that message is “Oh, you’re going to attack me? That’s cool, as long as you don’t mind me attacking you right back SO HARD your face will fall off and then I’ll go win the stage for fun. So, you know, go ahead and attack me!”
- However happy I am that Nibali won another stage, I do kind of wish he would have let either Majka or Koening get the win. I’m often of two minds about ‘giving away the win’, but for someone who’s already got two stages AND will most likely win the overall, the win might not mean as much as someone from a smaller team or someone who’s a domestique.
- Pretty sad to see Porte drop out the back I liked him and enjoyed watching him get some time in the spotlight.
- Tejay was pretty great today! Was impressed with his climbing and the way he stuck with Bardet. He’s now moved up to 5th!! Maybe he could move up into 3rd? But the French are strong right now- will be a battle to topple them, I think.
- I’ve seen a little chatter on my timeline about how some people think, after seeing Nibali perform, that Froome or Contador being there wouldn’t have made a difference. I disagree to a point- who knows what could’ve been. It’s all coulda, woulda, shoulda at this point. I think fitness-wise, he’s a good match to Bert and Froome. But he would have to pit his Astana team against the super strong Sky and Saxo teams. And I’m less sure his team would have been up to battling those teams.
My, oh my, oh my. What a game-changer today- and not in the way we all hoped 😦
- Leading with the big news: Contador is out. As of now, there doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation as to what happened. I’ve heard broken bike and that seem confirmed, as I saw a picture. But how it broke is another story- some say pebble/gravel, others said pothole. I heard Nicholas Roche’s bike feel off the car, causing Bert to crash…! Regardless of how it happened, Contador broke his femur in that crash. What is even MORE unbelievable is that he rode 18km or so on said broken leg!
- Who knows what is going to happen with the race now. Either a) Nibali racks up a huge lead and “cruises” to Paris or b) the other GC hopefuls will see this as their chance and attack! I’m hoping for the latter, just so the race is more exciting. Even though I want Nibali to win 😉
- Well, something has lit a fire under J-Rod’s ass! This was the most animated I’ve seen him in AGES. Perhaps his plan all along was to lose so much time that the GC guys would let him get away to collect KOM points. “mwhaha, my plan is working!!” Tommy Voeckler tried to give him a run for his money, but Rodriguez said “I don’t THINK so, amigo.”
- The Rodriguez decided KOM wasn’t enough (greedy bastard) and thought he’d take the stage. However, Nibali, smelling the yellow jersey in Paris was finally in his grasp, said “I don’t THINK so, amico!” He was leaving nothing to chance and rode Rodriguez down like a dog to make sure the jersey was firmly in his grasp. I had pretty mixed feelings about that, as I wanted Rodriguez to have the stage- mainly because I feel sorry for him. And you could tell Rodriguez was like, “Let’s work together and please can I have the stage?” but Nibali was all like “Ciao, bitches”.
- It was fascinating to watch Nibali’s tactics change as the situation changed. Clearly, yesterday he was preparing himself and his team for battle against Saxo and Contador by giving up the responsibility of the yellow jersey. But the minute Contador wasn’t a threat any more, Nibali was like “MINE! GIVE IT BACK!”
- So the race is either wide open or shut DOWN. The next few mountain stages will tell us if anyone can be a serious threat to Nibali!
- Oh and to end on a happy note, Tejay seemed in good form! He looked good on the last climb, hanging with the group.
Looks like there was a little testing going on today! Contador did a little attack to see where that got him and while Nibali was able to keep up, i think Contador was testing him…
- Some weird weather today. Decent weather, then they rode right into some nasty rain! Then cleared up again, then raining again- gross. I’ll admit i’ve never minded riding in the rain, but I’ve never had to ride 3 hours with wet shoes and chamois.
- Never did I guess this would happen in this Tour- torn between Contador and Nibali! It feels so weird to be rooting against Contador, but… I have to admit I am!
- So Contador attacks on the last climb. Nibali follows right with him and is on his wheel the whole way up. However, he faded in the last few meters and looked pretty wrecked once he crossed the line. I’m not sure he would have kept up on a longer climb. But, his climbing style is different than Contador’s- Contador is a bit more explosive. I don’t think this stage shows Contador for sure as the overall winner, but it will make the mountains interesting.
- It was so interesting to see those two climbing next to each other- Contador is a standing climbing and Nibali is a seated, grinding climber. Nibali’s style reminds me a bit of Cadel, but perhaps a little less grimace-y.
- Richie Porte was impressive! Stayed close to those two when most couldn’t! Maybe Team Sky’s plan b will work out..
- Talansky crashed again- things not looking good for him!
- Tejay was with the front group and even though he wasn’t able ot keep up with the front three, he was able to make up time and is now in the top 10.
- Right now I could see the podium being Contador, Nibali, Porte. But we’ve still got 2 weeks left and we’ve barely had a taste of the climbing to come!
Pretty shallow thoughts on today’s tour- not too much to say!
- Love how the peloton will reel the break in and let them dangle a minute out there for kilometers on end. So cruel!
- Did anyone else notice the massive air horns for Peter Sagan when he was on the podium?? Someone in the audience blew their air horn non stop the whole time Peter was on the stage!
- Speaking of Peter, why did he make that late attack, pulling Greg with him? Was he just trying his luck? Because I can’t think of another reason why you’d start so early. He seems to be lacking some tactical sense lately, but perhaps he’s just on a learning curve- winning is more than just sheer strength!
- Another crash controversy: At first look, it seemed to me Talansky drifted left without looking and overcompensated when he saw Gerrans swinging into him. Coversations on Twitter raged as to whether Gerrans is at fault as well- did he cut over or did he hold his line? Most seem to be of the opinion that Gerrans cut over but Phinney and McEwen think otherwise! Talansky also thought Gerrans was in the wrong- Vaughters tweeted that Talansky wanted an apology from Gerrans. People on Twitter were saying from an overhead shot, Gerrans move didn’t seem so extreme, but I haven’t been able to find an overhead video of the crash. Your thoughts?
- Tejay has crashed 5 times so far! Can’t believe he’s still in one piece.