Tour de France 2007 thread (6 Viewers)

nuke terrorist

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Traditionally the Vuelta was based a lot around the Basque country as is cycling in Spain in general but threats from ETA from the second half of the 70's on meant the Vuelta stopped going there until about a ten years ago.
The first stage back in Euskadi for decades was won in Bilbao by one of stars of the Euskaltel team (sorry can't remember his name at moment) and everyone went home happy - couldn't have been a better reintroduction.
 

nuke terrorist

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agreed. I don't see the logic of Cavendish being in the same train as Sam. When I saw them in that group in the last couple of km I figured the tactic would be for one of them (probably Cav) to attack, though thats not really his style.

DQS made a bollix of the leadout. They did far too much in the last 10-15km keeping the pace high, whereas they had plenty of riders in the group to leave 1 man with Sam, and mark any attack that went.

They arrived at the line looking tired. Its not usual to see the DQS leadout train not being able to keep their noses in front. In the last 500m I felt Sam was too far back and ran the risk of getting boxed in. With Alpecin still having their own organised train, that was a very risky situation for him, and that cost him. The last Alpecin leadout rider didn't peel off, but instead just slowed right in front of Sam (which I think was a dubious enough thing to to), and he ended up sprinting too late, despite being clearly the fastest rider.

DQS have just given Evanepoel a new, long contract. They are rumoured to be taking Sagan, probably because of Specialized bikes, they won Flanders with a lad who wouldn't normally stand out from the crowd.

Its becoming a case of too-many-cooks at Quickstep. They're obviously a cash-rich team but the makeup of their teams is going to cause them problems if you've more than one lad who think they should be a protected rider.

Still, the victories are coming thick and fast, so there's no real issue just yet.
Great analysis rettucs. Cheers.
 

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rettucs

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some links about the Vuelta returning to the Basque Country in 2011:



Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) wins stage 19 stage of 2011 Vuelta into Bilbao:
the next day's stage stayed in Euskadi finishing in Vitoria.
I stayed in Noja. Beautiful little seaside town where the well-to-do Cantabrians have their summer casas.

Euskatel, in their various forms, brought serious colour to cycling. They tried, as best they could, to stick to Basque riders, but the occasional outsider, such as Asturian, Sammy Sanchez, managed to sneak in and endear himself to the Basque hordes.

I seriously miss that team. They even tried to get the flag on their number changed to the Basque flag for the tour de france, but the tour organisers weren't having any of it.

Remember Iban Mayo, and the young lad's plastic bag getting caught in his handlebars. He ended up taking Armstrong down, and when Armstrong recovered he kicked on and dropped everyone.
 

nuke terrorist

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The last season Euskaltel were going the Basque only policy was dropped and they even had the only Greek cyclist I ever heard of in the squad.
The down side of Euskaltel-Euskadi a lot of the Basque riders were caught doping at some point in that era when Spanish cycling in general had a bad reputation.
Hard to pick a fave rider from the orange men but it has to be Roberto Laiseka ! He was with Euskadi from the start in 1994 and was proper eccentric weirdo.
Most of the races he won were GT stages - 1 Tour and 3 Vuelta.
Like most folks I miss that team a lot. The Basque fans make the Pyrenees. Also Athletic Bilbao who have the same policy are my La Liga team for 30 plus years.

someone from thumped was at that Vuelta in 2011 - was that you ?

One thing about Basque cycling is the huge amount of brothers. Roughly in order of age there's been loads of 'em:


Marino and Ismael Lejaretta
Julien and Ruben Gorospe
Pello and Jorge Ruiz-Cabestany
Hermino and Pedro Diaz Zabalia
Miguel and Prudencio Indurain
Igor and Aitor Gonzalez de Galdeano
Unai and Aitor Osa
Javier and Ricardo Otxoa (both RIP)

Loads of Basque bros back in the day.
EDIT:
It must have been a sickener for the lads on Euskaltel that only 9 of them could ride their local races...
 

rettucs

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The last season Euskaltel were going the Basque only policy was dropped and they even had the only Greek cyclist I ever heard of in the squad.
The down side of Euskaltel-Euskadi a lot of the Basque riders were caught doping at some point in that era when Spanish cycling in general had a bad reputation.
Hard to pick a fave rider from the orange men but it has to be Roberto Laiseka ! He was with Euskadi from the start in 1994 and was proper eccentric weirdo.
Most of the races he won were GT stages - 1 Tour and 3 Vuelta.
Like most folks I miss that team a lot. The Basque fans make the Pyrenees. Also Athletic Bilbao who have the same policy are my La Liga team for 30 plus years.

someone from thumped was at that Vuelta in 2011 - was that you ?

One thing about Basque cycling is the huge amount of brothers. Roughly in order of age there's been loads of 'em:


Marino and Ismael Lejaretta
Julien and Ruben Gorospe
Pello and Jorge Ruiz-Cabestany
Hermino and Pedro Diaz Zabalia
Miguel and Prudencio Indurain
Igor and Aitor Gonzalez de Galdeano
Unai and Aitor Osa
Javier and Ricardo Otxoa (both RIP)

Loads of Basque bros back in the day.
EDIT:
It must have been a sickener for the lads on Euskaltel that only 9 of them could ride their local races...
aye, twas me there in 2011.

I didn't realise the other Otxoa twin died. I remember when one was killed while out training with the other, and the surviving one continued on racing for a while after. That was a seriously tragic story.
 

nuke terrorist

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Am I right in thinking the ESPN doc was originally a Lance positive piece but it was scrapped when the walls began to close in on Lance (it may have been supposed to be part of the 30 for 30 series of docs for the 30th anniversary of ESPN ? most of which were excellent)
anyway I would have given the likes of Christophe Bassons a chance to say exactly what he thinks of Lance.
I forgot how suddenly the Federal investigation was closed - shows how powerful Lance was.

Landis' life was destroyed by doping and lying about it. But
once Floyd started telling the truth he turned his life around and he was crucial in Lance's downfall.
Yeah he seems like he's in a good place now and good luck to him.
He's probably good crack alright.
LOVED how much Lance stiil hated Floyd haha.
For that alone Floyd deserves my respect.

great news that Fabio Jacobsen is back racing again in the Tour of Turkey
 

nuke terrorist

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Tyler Hamilton's book co-written with Daniel Coyle is a great read.
he left you in no doubt what a shithead Lance was.

but strangely he said nothing negative about Dr. Cecchini and said he was a good guy who treated him like a son. also a lot of Dr Cecchini's clients were going to Madrid to get blood transfusions from Dr Fuentes and I was none the wiser what the connection between the two was after reading the book.
doping was illegal in Italy by that time.

I used to really dislike Tyler too - he and Lance were regularly on magazine covers in the early 2000's.
But thankfully he also came out the other side and seems like a decent guy.

funniest part of the book IMO:
After Tyler left USP he was still living in the same building in Girona as Lance.
in a rare attempt to bother his arse trying to win a classic (post cancer) Lance attacked in the last 20 km or so
of Liege but got caught after the Saint Niklas (sic) and Tyler ended up winning the race.
Lance was fuming and back in Girona Tyler didn't see Lance for weeks afterwards ! hahahaha.

EDIT:
in the ESPN doc Lance's relationship with Hein Verbruggen and the UCI was mentioned a good bit and also his getting preferential treatment from UCI anti doping testers.
also Hamilton said he was told by a USP insider that Lance phoned up the UCI and told them to go test Tyler and he was tested that following evening.
so Lance is a grass as well !
 
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nuke terrorist

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Just looked at Tyler Hamilton's book The Secret Race and chapter 12 ''All or nothing" (beginning page 252) deals with the 2004 season.

from page 260-267:
on June 10th on stage 4 of the Dauphine, Tyler (2nd on stage to Iban Mayo) beat Lance (5th on the stage) by 1:22 in a TT on Ventoux. Five of Tyler's Phonak team finished in the top 13.
3 HOURS after the race ended on June 13th (Mayo won, Tyler 2nd, his team mate Oscar Sevilla 3rd and Lance was 4th) Tyler received a request to attend a meeting at the UCI HQ in Aigle in Suisse (which is unheard of).
when he arrived later that same day he met Hein Verbruggen and the UCI head doctor Mario Zorzoli.
they told Tyler the his blood readings suggested he may have received someone else's blood but they had no firm evidence and Tyler left very relieved after thinking the worst before hand.
later Tyler received a letter dated June 10th from Zorzoli says they were watching him closely.
he then started the Tour as one of the favourites and during a stage early in the race Floyd Landis (Lance's USP team mate) told Tyler Lance had called the UCI on him and was paranoid they were taking something he didn't have (they weren't) and to prove it he said Lance knew Tyler had a meeting in Aigle with Verbruggen,
Tyler was furious and approaches Lance later in that stage and called him out with the argument finishing with Tyler uttering ''Fuck You Lance''.

Tyler really fancied his chances of winning that Tour with a strong Phonak squad behind him but later on the same stage there was a pile up and he suffered a back injury and later after more mishaps had to quit the race.

later that season after winning Athens Olympic gold in the TT T.H. was busted for having someone else's blood in system.

also that summer Tyler and his wife's dog Tugboat died of a terminal illness. It says a lot about how famous Tyler
was in cycling circles that Tugboat was pictured more often in the cycling press than many good cyclists were
and poor Tugboat's death was widely reported.
the jokes even went 'maybe it was Tugboat's blood'.
'
 

rettucs

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Just looked at Tyler Hamilton's book The Secret Race and chapter 12 ''All or nothing" (beginning page 252) deals with the 2004 season.

from page 260-267:
on June 10th on stage 4 of the Dauphine, Tyler (2nd on stage to Iban Mayo) beat Lance (5th on the stage) by 1:22 in a TT on Ventoux. Five of Tyler's Phonak team finished in the top 13.
3 HOURS after the race ended on June 13th (Mayo won, Tyler 2nd, his team mate Oscar Sevilla 3rd and Lance was 4th) Tyler received a request to attend a meeting at the UCI HQ in Aigle in Suisse (which is unheard of).
when he arrived later that same day he met Hein Verbruggen and the UCI head doctor Mario Zorzoli.
they told Tyler the his blood readings suggested he may have received someone else's blood but they had no firm evidence and Tyler left very relieved after thinking the worst before hand.
later Tyler received a letter dated June 10th from Zorzoli says they were watching him closely.
he then started the Tour as one of the favourites and during a stage early in the race Floyd Landis (Lance's USP team mate) told Tyler Lance had called the UCI on him and was paranoid they were taking something he didn't have (they weren't) and to prove it he said Lance knew Tyler had a meeting in Aigle with Verbruggen,
Tyler was furious and approaches Lance later in that stage and called him out with the argument finishing with Tyler uttering ''Fuck You Lance''.

Tyler really fancied his chances of winning that Tour with a strong Phonak squad behind him but later on the same stage there was a pile up and he suffered a back injury and later after more mishaps had to quit the race.

later that season after winning Athens Olympic gold in the TT T.H. was busted for having someone else's blood in system.

also that summer Tyler and his wife's dog Tugboat died of a terminal illness. It says a lot about how famous Tyler
was in cycling circles that Tugboat was pictured more often in the cycling press than many good cyclists were
and poor Tugboat's death was widely reported.
the jokes even went 'maybe it was Tugboat's blood'.
'
its funny, I disdain dopers, but Tyler and Floyd are 2 of my favourite cyclists ever.

Floyd's stage 17 performance to Morzine in 2006 was one of the most spectacular sporting 'performances' I've ever seen, particularly after he completely blew his lights in the previous stage. I remember him being interviewed by Frankie Andreu after the stage and being so blasé about it.

The most surprising thing about Floyd, for me, is that he bothered fighting the doping charge. He clearly didn't give a fuck, and maybe his defence was half-arsed, but I expected that he wouldn't be bothered.

And now he sells weed in Boulder for a living. Fucking class.

And it was largely Floyd's testimony that took Lance down in the end. Tyler was largely ridiculed because of his mental health issues, and the lies he had told previously. But I believe every word he wrote in his book.

Speaking of Daniel Coyle, he wrote a book about Lance before the Tyler one. I can't recall the name (I know it had different names over here and in the US), but that, for me, was the first real public outing of Lance as a total cunt. Coyle told it warts and all. One thing that really struck me about it was that Lance had to have a figure of hatred to use to motivate him. Theres a chapter called (I think), 'Chris Oh No', which is what Lance called Chris Horner (he himself a toxic fucking doper), about when Horner was that hate figure for Lance, and the psychotic obsession he had with destroying him. Fucking psycho. Definitely worth a read if you can get your hands on it.
 

nuke terrorist

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yeah - Daniel's Coyle's book on Lance was called Tour de Force in Europe.
great book. it came out before the 2005 Tour. have the 2006 paperback version.

by far the best book on Lance in English before he got nailed. really you couldn't have written a more warts and all book at the time. Coyle is writing and analysis are brilliant.
even when it was released Coyle said after the year he spent following Lance he didn't know if he was honest which was actually a brave thing to say at the time.

for a few days I thought the 2006 Tour was the best ever - better than '89.
on the Joux Plane that day I expected Landis to lose most of his 7 minute plus lead but only Sastre took much time back and was still about 5:30 down in Morzine, Cunego took a small amount back in 3rd place
and rest made no inroads or lost time on the climb.
Menchov, Evans, Kloden etc were killing themselves and Floyd made the whole thing look easy.
I remember two riders - I think it was Cadel Evans and Denis Menchov - were near each other the whole way up the Joux Plane. one would get maybe 10 or 15 metres ahead then the other would come back past him and get 10-metres ahead then the other guy would come back past him again...

that night I did a post on thumped. I said it was probably the best stage I had ever seen but I also said
that most of the riders had come in a group 52 minutes down.
I didn't think Floyd was honest but it never occured to me that a Tour winner would be caught doping after the race was over - unprecedented.
in 2006 McQuaid phoned Floyd Landis and told him he had no hope of being cleared but the mentality was to go into attack mode when accused back then.
if he didn't defend himself it would have caused problems for all the cycling people he was associated with and Lance even gave him money for his defence ($ 50,000 I think).

Floyd always said he was taking a lot of products but didn't know how the testosterone got in his body - it was the about the only big one he hadn't took. nobody likes been accused of things they didn't do.

tragically Floyd mentor and friend shot himself in his car not long after he was caught (about Sept 2006)
Floyd's wife was the guy's step daughter. the media were appalling to Floyd's family showing up on the lawn of his parents to try and interview his Mennonite mother.
famously she watched TV for the first time in her life when Floyd was doing his first TDF prologue.

it came up in the ESPN doc that Lance said he hated retired ex rivals being friends.
the chapter of Tour de Force about The Tour de Georgia is called 'Hoa Noa' (I think this was in Bruyneel's
accent) basically Johann motivated Lance by feeding Lance's hatred of a rival (Chris Horner) with a similar personality to Lance.
I totally forgot that chapter.
 
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nuke terrorist

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two races in the space of a few days with almost dead heat finishes
The men's 2021 AMSTEL GOLD -
6 mm was the gap apparently.
the camera on the line makes it look like Pidcock actually won but the photo finish showed different.

the same thing happened in the women's BRABANTSE PIJL on Wednesday the photo finish and TV camera on the line tell different stories (both shown in the video 2:15 to 2:30)
if you ever wondered what having bad eyesight is like it's a bit like this sometimes.

the Eurosport coverage of the women's Amstel only showed the last 21 km live.
 

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I was convinced Pidcock won that. He's managed by Trinity Sports, which is run by the notorious (and tbh, I never had a problem with them) McQuaid family. Cruel that there was barely a millimetre between 1st and second. I think Pidcock will grow into a third wheel in the WVA vs MVdeP rivalry. It makes for a cracking few years of one-day races ahead.

I've followed Pidcock's career for a few years. Its no surprise he's where he is. The kid has dominated in every discipline, at every level, and superstardom is a certainty for him. Its just a shame he's British and he rides for Sky. Everything to do with British cycling and Sky, is tainted imo.

But he seems like a decent skin. He can be outspoken on twitter at times, but in all the right ways. He might have to rein that in, the better known he becomes.

Yesterday's was the best AGR I remember. It was all very routine until the last 60-70km, but then the fireworks started, and did not stop. And that was before the break had been reined back in. Btw, it was great to see Chad Haga up there in the break. I remember the day his death was announced on twitter (and his brother jumping on soon after saying 'howld yer horses, he's not gone yet'. He then, not only, recovered, but regained his place in the pro ranks. Fuck yer Lance Armstrong. Thats real hero stuff right there. If I'm not mistaken, Haga also has a Ph.d in physics. It'd make you sick how some people have it all.

Speaking of Lance, AGR was always his choice of race to start his season with (after he'd finished his months of 'preparation' in Tenerife). Likewise for other Grand Tour condensers. I suppose its always a challenging course, there are no cobbles, the weather tends to be fine, and the Ardennes classics are just around the corner. But, I have to say this race never generally interested me that much. Thats all changed now, but purely because of the riding style of those young 1-dayers. Cracking stuff.

There was a time lads would pick the cobbles or the Ardennes, but not really both. I mean, I'm not thick, these lads are obviously juiced off their heads, but its kinda like how climbers used to not be able to time trial, and vice versa, but then somehow climbers became the best TTers. The sport is a bit upside-down, totally unrecognisable from back in the day when you had a specialty and you stuck with it (and fuck knows they were juiced back then).

I'm just curious at this stage what Grand Tours they'll all do. For MvdeP and WVA I'm guessing the Tour de France. Even just for the appearance, ala Cancellara back in the day. They might pick something up in the first 10 days, then fade into obscurity. But their presence alone generates the interest the organisers and sponsors want.

I doubt Sky will send Pidcock to the Tour though. I dunno, I'd imagine they've probably already announced that, one way or other. Must go check...
 

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