Monday, July 27, 2009

WRAP-UP FOR 2009

What an interesting race with compelling story lines:

1. The return of Lance Armstrong to the Tour after 3 years of retirement.

2. Lance and 2007 Tour champ Alberto Contador at the top of the strongest team.

3. The duel/rivalry between two American teams--Garmin-Slipstream and Columbia-HTC.

4. The incredible sprinting power of Mark Cavendish--who iced the cake with a 6th stage victory on the Champs Elysees.

5. The Schleck brothers, Andy and Frank of Luxembourg. Andy finished 2nd overall with the sacrificial support of Frank.

6. Epic climbs and mountain-top finishes, particularly at Verbier and Ventoux.

7. The stage George Hincapie should have ridden into the Yellow Jersey but was denied(by just 5 seconds) by now finger-pointing American teams and former teammates.

8. Contador's overall dominance confirmed but significant immaturity exposed.

9. Lance finishing 3rd overall, after sacrificing his chances of contending with Contador for top spot by staying back to mark Bradley Wiggins in Stage 18. Lance showed a grace in this race not previously known.

10. Fabian Cancellara's dominance in individual time trials.

11. Levi Leipheimer crashing out while in 4th place overall.

12. No doping scandals!

Great, clean, well-ridden race.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Point #9 is preposterous. Armstrong was bitter at being 3rd, and his remarks always indicated that he should be "first".

He could not even contend with Andy, who lost a considerable amount of time on Armstrong due to that ridiculous TTT, which was reinstated in the Tour this year to help Armstrong.

Please, the whole story of the Tour was skewed with constant talk about Armstrong (his name was mentioned more than all the rest of the contending riders put together).

He lost, period. And neither did Contador need any help from him, nor got any. It was Contador and Andy who kept Armstrong 3rd but keeping the pace just enough for Armstrong to follow on Ventoux.

He could have cracked had they continued without him.

So many stories are made up about armstrong. In 1989 both Fignon and Lemond had come back from serious illness (Fignon) and injury (Lemond), both had been out for 3 years - and both had heroic Tours and were the best two riders in the world by far.

Recovering from such misfortune is often empowering. There is no miracle.

bikehiker said...

Apparently, you and I simply disagree and see the actions of Armstrong and Contador differently.

Based on Contador's outbursts about Armstrong today, it's clear who is really bitter.

Contador's comments and immaturity will likely earn him the chance to ride for a different team and director next year. He just dissed his compatriots.

His victory was won over the backs of some of the best and most gracious cyclists in the world...including Armstrong's. We'll see if he understands the value of "team" next year.