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Insula Dei
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« on: June 06, 2012, 03:41:02 pm »
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This thread being prompted by Andy Schleck's lamentably awful performance in the Dauphiné Liberé these days.

So who will be following this? I assume our French members at least will, and Hughento also watches the Tour, if my memory isn't playing a trick on me. Anyone else into cycling.

Personally I fear we've got a rather boring edition coming our way with Contador being absent (, which is an outrage), and the Schlecks seemingly about to completely bomb in the only competition in a year they actually attempt to win. So what are we left with? Some unexciting Anglophone Time Trial specialists who will most likely just spend the entire Tour sitting in the wheel of the actual climbers and then divide the spoils among one another (Wiggins, Evans, and Hesjedal just won the Giro), the same climbers who theoretically ought to be able to compete for the yellow, yet whom we all know lack either the guts or the potential to get rid of Evans and Wiggins (Sastre, the Schlecks, Samuel Sanchez, Basso, Cunego,...), and a couple of even more boring former lieutenants which we are now supposed to think 'shadow favourites' (Leipheimer, in a way Vandenbroeck, possibly Popovych, though I heavily respect Popo).

Don't get me wrong: I was totally cool with Evans not winding up the Jan Ullrich to Contador's Armstrong, but Evans winning the Tour shouldn't become a tradition. Still, if I were forced to pick between him and Wiggins, I know what poison to pick.

There's always hope, though. Let's not forget about 2003 when Joseba Beloki and that very same Ullrich almost managed to overturn the result everyone had sort-of-already decided would be the final outcome. (Still get a little sad when I remember that infamous accident on the descent towards Gap Sad ) We could perhaps see the manifestation of some new great talents. What's Nibali capable of? What's up with that Tom Danielson fellow who somehow managed to get 9th last year? There are Rolland, Taaramae and Vanendert to think of.

And then there's Vinokourov. God only knows what he could show us. (And God only knows how clean he is, but only a bore cares about stuff like that when Vino seems like one of our few good chances at an exciting tour.)

Despite all that here's my pessimistic prognosis:

1.Evans
2.Wiggins
3.Who knows?
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 04:56:11 pm by Tussen Droom en Daad »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2012, 04:40:24 pm »
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I'll be getting up early mornings in July as in years past. It's the only cycling event I really follow, and now I have my college daughter joining me to watch.
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2012, 05:13:43 pm »
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It will be a boring tour with few mountain stages and lots of TT kilometers. Evans or Wiggins will win.
Not going to see it. Even if a Dane (Chris Anker Sørensen from Saxo Bank) is going forthe mountain jersey this year.

If they had made an anti-Evans route it would have been different.
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2012, 10:05:42 pm »
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As an Australian, it looks like one of the more exciting years. No Spanish drug cheats, no German drug cheats, and no US drug cheats in the top tier, lots of varied stages, and a friendly route for our best rider, as well as the first tour for the new Australian GreenEdge team, which will hopefully get a top 5 team finish.

This year will be all about the stage wins, I think, which makes for more interesting viewing unless you have the opportunity to watch the vast majority of the days, which is hard to do in Australia where most stages start at 11pm-ish our time.

The Schlecks are still in the hunt, I think; there are quite a few exciting young riders who'll go for stage wins; and the sprinters and climbers jerseys should both be very good contests. As far as the yellow goes, Evans is certainly not a guaranteed winner, and I think he's a wonderful representative of the sport. Not only because he'
s Australian, but because he has been at the top level for years, never had even the tiniest smidgeon of doping allegations surrounding him (I truly believe he is clean), and is a genuinely nice guy and not the kind of arrogant prick who usually end up at the top of road cycling.

Like Wiggins. (And Cavendish, although there's a rumour he may skip the tour to focus on the Olympics)
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2012, 10:17:49 pm »
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No one wins the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in the same season, so I suppose our boy Ryder Hesjdal wont win. Sad
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2012, 08:51:55 am »
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As an Australian, it looks like one of the more exciting years. No Spanish drug cheats, no German drug cheats, and no US drug cheats in the top tier, lots of varied stages, and a friendly route for our best rider, as well as the first tour for the new Australian GreenEdge team, which will hopefully get a top 5 team finish.

This year will be all about the stage wins, I think, which makes for more interesting viewing unless you have the opportunity to watch the vast majority of the days, which is hard to do in Australia where most stages start at 11pm-ish our time.

The Schlecks are still in the hunt, I think; there are quite a few exciting young riders who'll go for stage wins; and the sprinters and climbers jerseys should both be very good contests. As far as the yellow goes, Evans is certainly not a guaranteed winner, and I think he's a wonderful representative of the sport. Not only because he's Australian, but because he has been at the top level for years, never had even the tiniest smidgeon of doping allegations surrounding him (I truly believe he is clean), and is a genuinely nice guy and not the kind of arrogant prick who usually end up at the top of road cycling.

Like Wiggins. (And Cavendish, although there's a rumour he may skip the tour to focus on the Olympics)
Most continental Europeans would prefer an entertaining, arrogant drug cheating attacker any day.
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2012, 09:15:59 am »
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An entertaining, arrogant non-cheater would be best. Even if that means he cannot possibly win the tour.
Eh. That's the type of people the French have settled for for ages.

But as long as the sport is so geared towards a single event with athletes not competing at all for most of the year, the battle to get drugfree people into the top five will remain hilariously chimaeric and utterly impossible to achieve. And that realization is largely why I copped out of watching entirely, some years ago now.
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2012, 10:41:52 am »
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So what's the over-under line for which stage sees the first rider tossed out for failing a drug test?
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2012, 11:10:50 am »
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An entertaining, arrogant non-cheater would be best. Even if that means he cannot possibly win the tour.
Eh. That's the type of people the French have settled for for ages.

But as long as the sport is so geared towards a single event with athletes not competing at all for most of the year, the battle to get drugfree people into the top five will remain hilariously chimaeric and utterly impossible to achieve. And that realization is largely why I copped out of watching entirely, some years ago now.

Well, not all of the sport is geared towards this one competition. It's just that it's the only one that gets a lot of attention outside of the sport's core area.I for one just finished watching a disappointing Giro (Sorry, Hatman) and remember some phenomenal spring classics and a devastating Vuelta last autumn.

I suppose there aren't much more than 10-15 riders who are focussed entirely on the Tour, and even those aren't all as pathetically obsessed with it as the Schlecks, who really only ride one and a half race a year (, and they tend to fail miserably in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.)
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2012, 09:12:53 pm »
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I genuinely believe Cadel Evans is clean, and I think he's always been that way.

...at least in a relative sense...

He's a good rider, he's a hard worker, and when the chips are down he pulled the most amazing ride out of his arse last year (d'Huez), and if only for his response to that stage, I reckon he's a worthy winner of the Tour and I hope to see him perform as well this time.

This year will be a tour of stages, the overall classification could be rather dull. But a lot of the stage finishes are set up in such a way as to really reward breakaways, especially in the mountains.
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2012, 07:02:33 am »
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In an odd way I enjoy watching some of the stages that are evidence of power of doping. Seeing the difference that doping makes in riders' performances on certain days (eg Landis, Vinokurov) is both a testament to what the body can be driven to do and why doping skews the results so much.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2012, 07:46:11 am »
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An entertaining, arrogant non-cheater would be best. Even if that means he cannot possibly win the tour.
Eh. That's the type of people the French have settled for for ages.

But as long as the sport is so geared towards a single event with athletes not competing at all for most of the year, the battle to get drugfree people into the top five will remain hilariously chimaeric and utterly impossible to achieve. And that realization is largely why I copped out of watching entirely, some years ago now.

Well, not all of the sport is geared towards this one competition. It's just that it's the only one that gets a lot of attention outside of the sport's core area.I for one just finished watching a disappointing Giro (Sorry, Hatman) and remember some phenomenal spring classics and a devastating Vuelta last autumn.

I suppose there aren't much more than 10-15 riders who are focussed entirely on the Tour, and even those aren't all as pathetically obsessed with it as the Schlecks, who really only ride one and a half race a year (, and they tend to fail miserably in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.)
Well yeah, but a lot of people who know they can't win the tour focus on the Vuelta and/or the Giro instead, often bypassing the Tour entirely. Etc. And how many races do the favorites' core sidesmen seriously compete in over the year? I've no idea.

Contrast football - while non-core admirers of the sport watch only the World Cup and maybe the Euro and maybe the CL (and usually make the mistake of thinking these to be more important than the national Leagues, lol) no player could possibly afford to make the same mistake.
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2012, 08:42:24 am »
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Well, the Dauphine ended unspectacularly, but good to see two Aussies on the podium.

Sky is looking incredibly strong, certainly the strongest team, although between Evans and Wiggins are individual riders, I don't know who I'd give the edge to.

I'm thinking this might be a very, very good year for the Australians, hopefully a yellow jersey and a yellow medal a bit later on Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2012, 12:33:26 pm »
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Well, the Dauphine ended unspectacularly, but good to see two Aussies on the podium.

Sky is looking incredibly strong, certainly the strongest team, although between Evans and Wiggins are individual riders, I don't know who I'd give the edge to.

I'm thinking this might be a very, very good year for the Australians, hopefully a yellow jersey and a yellow medal a bit later on Smiley

No. Cavendish is supposed to win in London, you see?
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2012, 01:08:05 pm »
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Well, the Dauphine ended unspectacularly, but good to see two Aussies on the podium.

Sky is looking incredibly strong, certainly the strongest team, although between Evans and Wiggins are individual riders, I don't know who I'd give the edge to.

I'm thinking this might be a very, very good year for the Australians, hopefully a yellow jersey and a yellow medal a bit later on Smiley

No. Cavendish is supposed to win in London, you see?

Bronze can be a shade of yellow depending on how much tin you use.
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2012, 11:10:41 am »
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Surprised nobody has noted Andy Schleck's announcement he'd pass on the Tour with a fractured sacrum yet. Frank was allright in Switzerland, though.
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2012, 03:44:53 am »
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2012, 05:35:14 pm »
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Sooo,...

Why not wager a minor prognosis (using the 'star system' rather than the 'predicted top 10' system)?

*****
Cadel Evans

****
Bradley Wiggins

***
Fränk Schleck, Levi Leipheimer, Vincenzo Nibali

**
Samuel Sanchez, Luis Leon Sanchez, Jurgen van den Broeck, Alexandre Vinokourov, Alejandro Valverde

*
Nicholas Roche, Romain Feillu, Thomas Voeckler, Ryder Hesjedal, Dennis Menchov


Yes, I'm weeping inside as I type this.
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« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2012, 08:47:31 am »
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Most boring tour in the last 10 years? Or do you Anglos view it differently?
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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2012, 09:40:27 am »
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Incredibly dull. Not even any properly great stages.
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« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2012, 10:06:08 am »
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Weren't some tacks thrown around?
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« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2012, 02:26:21 pm »
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Weren't some tacks thrown around?

Tapestry nails, exactly.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2012, 03:35:21 pm »
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Horrible, horrible,...

Predictably horrible, but still,...

Wiggins is the personification of everything that's wrong with cycling today: don't lose any time in the mountains and finish the job against the clock. The ASO needs to realize that in an era where even the very greatest struggle to get more than 45 seconds over their direct competitors, it's just moronic to have a 100 kilometres of flat time trials. Next year they need to cut that number at least in half and make at least 20 kilometres of it an up-hill time trial. Have them all climb the Mont Ventoux against the clock! (But alas, it looks likely we're in for that even bigger abomination: the team time trial.)

Froome is antipathetic and should have dropped Wiggins the first time he got the chance. Nothing wrong with some intra-team rivalry. It's the stuff of legends after all. Nibali, whom I like a great deal, sadly was unable to bring about an offensive alliance with van den Broeck in the Pyrennees, but it's not like Jurgen is such an offensive rider to begin with. Zubeldia is a name that is perhaps a little bit too light to be worthy of a Tour top 5, but hey, good on him.

Of the Schleck case one can only say that back in the '90s riders who doped themselves at least made sure they delivered spectacle when it came to it. If the Schlecks really have been messing around the last few years (as seems slightly possible) they are really the sportive equivalent of cancer. Bjarne Riis in 1996 may not have been able to bend his fingers, but at least one wasn't bored to death watching him ride up an Alp.

O tempora, o mores, etc.
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« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2012, 06:12:39 am »
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The Tour de France is something I would enjoy following if I hadn't the certainty that every rider in the top 10 is uber-doped.
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« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2012, 06:46:58 am »
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The Tour de France is something I would enjoy following if I hadn't the certainty that every rider in the top 10 is uber-doped.

Cycling is one of the sports with the strictest controls on athletes and, as evidenced by the rather unspectacular character of the sport in the last few years, has been toroughly cleaned out since the depths of the 1990s.

Of course there's still some messing around, but I think the sport has never been cleaner. In the '50s and '60s amphetamines were universally present in a way EPO never really was.*

*: Which partly explains why EPO was such a treason to the core of the sport. The stuff could make any loser into a champion. Amphetamines just made sure that the best riders were able to keep up their efforts just that little longer; they didn't fundamentally alter the dynamic of a race.
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