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TDF stage 3 / flat?: Cavendish! Columbia blows the field apart in echelons, Cancellara keeps yellow, Lance gains

Monday,  07/06/09  11:12 PM

TDF 09 stage 3 - Columbia sees an opening and goes full gas into the crosswindIf you ever want to watch an exciting bike race, check out today's TDF stage 3, a "sprint" stage from Marseille to La Grande-Mott, this year's flattest stage.  On paper it looked to be as exciting as watching paint dry, one of those 200K rides where the peloton tour the countryside for four hours before half a dozen guys execute a wild 30 second sprint to decide the victory.  And that did all happen - the four hour tour and the 30 second sprint - but in between there were fireworks.  Like the man said, that's why they play the game.

So with about 45K left to ride, the Columbia team had come to the front to chase down a four-man break, in order to give Mark Cavendish another shot at a sprint win.  The road turned a corner and suddenly there was a strong crosswind, and Columbia gave full gas en mas, blowing away the peloton and taking about fifteen other riders with them.  The new 25-man break swallowed the old four-man break, pulled away, and eventually built a 40 second lead while the peloton desperately tried to chase.  Making the jump into the lead group were yellow-jersey-wearer Fabian Cancellara, the only Saxo rider to do so, as well as wiley Lance Armstrong and a couple of his Astana teammates.  Mark Cavendish did win the eventual sprint finish, his second in two days, but the big news was the 40 seconds Cancellara and Armstrong were able to put into the other contenders.  This left Cancellara in yellow - by 33s over Tony Martin of Columbia - and moved Lance up into third, 40s back and ahead of all the other GC contenders.  Savor that for a moment...  wow.

This adds some extra spice to tomorrow's team time trial, which was already pretty tasty.  If Astana are able to get 40s on Saxobank - not an unrealistic possibility - and are able to get 7s on Columbia - a very realistic possibility - that would put Lance in yellow.  Savor that for a moment...

There is of course all kinds of speculation that this was somehow setup, that Lance deliberately isolated Alberto Contador (and his other Astana teammates like Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloden) in order to seize the team's leadership.  But watching it all play out it couldn't have been premeditated; it just happened too fast.  One second you had a normal chase of a break, and the next you had a pell-mell scramble to grab onto the wheels of Columbia as they blasted into the crosswind.  I think Cancellara and Lance were just being smart - riding near the front to stay out of trouble - and their wisdom in doing so was rewarded.

It is a long way to Paris and ultimately those 40s might not matter.  But then again they might... I love it.

[ Tour de France 2009: all postsindex ]

 

Monday,  07/06/09  11:22 PM

Reentered the real world today, with todo lists and conference calls and emails to read and reviews to write and presentations to make and ... I made it, whew.  Even escaped for a ride through Hidden Valley, did it in 1:20 which is one of my best times ever, nice after four days of not riding.  The day started early as we watched the amazing TDF stage, and that buzz sort of stayed with me.  Although I discovered that I've managed to push away a friend, not sure how, and that is bothering me...

...meanwhile, back in the blogosphere, it's all happening...

FREE by Chris AndersonFred Wilson with more of the Anderson vs. Gladwell "Free" debate.  "The Internet allows an entrepreneur to enter a market with a free offering because the costs of doing so are not astronomical.  And most entrepreneurs who take this approach will maintain an attractive free offering of their basic service forever.  But that doesn't mean that everything they offer will be free.  That's the whole point of freemium.  Free gets you to a place where you can ask to get paid.  But if you don't start with free on the Internet, most companies will never get paid."  Boldface mine.  Sometimes this kind of advice is worth what you pay for it, but sometimes more... :)

In this debate heard a great anecdote.  A researcher asked a bunch of people which they’d prefer, chocolate kisses priced at 1¢ or kisses priced at 15¢.  Most people chose the 15¢ kisses, despite the fact that they cost 15X as much.  Next he cut the price on both kinds of kisses, and asked another bunch of people which they’d prefer, chocolate kisses which were free, or kisses priced at 14¢.  Most people chose the free kisses.  Tap, tap… crash.

the Alinghi catamaran, all 90' x 90' of it...Valencia Sailing has more pictures of Alinghi's new 90' x 90' catamaran.  Amazing.  I think I'll call it the Alinghimaran, not to be confused with Oracle's Trizilla.

So the oldest known Christian Bible is being posted online.  Unsurprisingly (to me anyway) the 1,600-year-old text doesn't match the one you'll find in churches today.  "The New Testament books are in a different order, and include numerous handwritten corrections - some made as much as 800 years after the texts were written, according to scholars who worked on the project of putting the Bible online.  The changes range from the alteration of a single letter to the insertion of whole sentences.  And some familiar - very important - passages are missing, including verses dealing with the resurrection of Jesus, they said."  A living text indeed; I wonder what those who agonize over every turn of phrase in today's bible can make of this?

Michael Arrington warns us to prepare for iPod video.  So be it.  You can easily see where smartphones (and iPods) will replace all low-end still and video cameras.  It is happening in realtime...

... and where will you store that video?  Well Amazon has a 1TB drive for < $100.

the awesome Boot Hill hot rodHere we have an amazing Hot Rod auction.  Amazing indeed.  Truly I remember assembling Revell models of these sorts of cars as a kid - never dreaming that they actually existed.  How cool is that?

Okay, quick; what's the "most American" car, judged by the country of origin of all of its parts?  If you guessed the Toyota Camry, you are right.  Now you know what to say when your Camry is ridiculed by your Impala-driving neighbor.  This also has implications for those who think the demise of the U.S. auto industry occured because of U.S. labor costs.

New Zealand's Ruapehu Crater LakePicture of the day, New Zealand's Ruapehu Crater Lake.  (Please click to enbiggen.)  Honestly every time I see these beautiful pictures from New Zealand I think "man, I must go there".  And the beauty is so varied...

 
 

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