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Archive: July 25, 2009

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TDF stage 20 / climb - Garate conquers Ventoux, Contador and Armstrong stay with the Schlecks

Saturday,  07/25/09  01:42 PM

TDF 09 stage 20 - Juan Manual Garate wins up Mont Ventoux after riding in a break all day!Woo hoo, Mont VentouxJuan Manual Garate won after riding in a break all day from Montelimar to the summit of Mont Ventoux.  Chapeau!  An incredible performance, edging Tony Martin at the finish (another survivor from the break) and salvaging glory for Rabobank, who otherwise have had a pretty lousy Tour.  (Taken together with the team's aggressive chase yesterday Rabo have awakened at last, and who knows Oscar Freire could win tomorrow!)

TDF 09 stage 20 - Andy Schleck continuously attacked to try to help his brother Frank onto the podium, marked closely each time by Alberto ContadorAmong the GC men the expected fireworks took place on the final 21km climb @ 7.5%; Andy Schleck rode a wonderful race, continuously attacking in the hope that his brother Frank could follow and Lance Armstrong, Bradley Wiggins, and Andreas Kloden could not, thereby pulling Frank onto the podium.  On each acceleration Andy was closely marked by leader Alberto Contador, who ended up fourth and secured his second overall Tour de France victory.  Lance hung on beautifully, but Wiggins and Kloden were eventually dropped, with the result that Frank finished fifth.  It was team tactics at their finest, witnessed by an estimated crowd of 500,000 people lining the entire climb.  At times it seemed the riders were floating through a sea of people.  (Isn't is amazing that as close as the spectators get to the action - and as aggressive as some of them are, waving flags and running alongside the race - that seldom is a cycle race actually affected by their presence?)

TDF 09 stage 20 - Tony Martin hung in there for second, pacing Garate all the way from the breakOther heroes on a heroic day included Franco Pellizotti, who did the spotted King of the Mountains jersey proud by attacking at the end, nearly bridging to the leaders, and Vincenzo Nibali, second in the white jersey competition for best young rider (behind Andy Schleck), who hung on gamely and at one point was actually in virtual third place, following the wheel of Contador as he marked Andy Schleck during an attack.  Martin also deserves mention for staying up front with Garate, at times looking like a zombie as his eyes rolled into his head while his legs kept the pace.

In the end Mont Ventoux provided great entertainment but didn't shuffle the standings much; last week in the Alps and particularly Thursday's time trial pretty much set the order of finish overall.  But it was amazing; of all the great climbs in France the one I really want to do someday is Mont Ventoux.  (Well I guess I want to do l'Alpe d'Huez too, and Galibier, and Courchevel, and Columbiere, and Tourmelet, and Pla d'Aday, and ... :)  Shirley and I watched A Good Year last night, coincidentally, and visiting Provence seems indicated!

TDF 09 stage 20 - Lance attacks Mont Ventoux in 2000[Update: came across this clip on YouTube of Lance attacking and passing Marco Pantani on Mont Ventoux in the 2000 TdF.  You'd have to say he has indeed slowed a bit, wow.  That was one of the more impressive attacks I've seen, clearly on par with anything Contador has done.  We'll have to see whether Lance can ever return to that form...]

And so ends a great Tour!  And actually it isn't over yet, because tomorrow's parade to Paris does end with eight laps of that incredible stadium on the Champs-Elyees, and a probable final sprint showdown between Mark Cavendish, Thor Hushovd, and Tyler Farrar.  Stay tuned!

[ Tour de France 2009: all postsindex ]


Saturday Evening Post

Saturday,  07/25/09  05:30 PM

Saturday Evening Post.  (Wow, good name for a magazine.) 

bouquet of seventeen rosesI am REALLY HAPPY today.  Let me count the ways.  First, tomorrow is the seventeenth anniversary of my marriage to Shirley.  We're celebrating tonight with a fantabulous dinner and I will shortly retreat into the caves for a '97 Cabernet as accompaniment.  Second, still buzzing from that great TdF stage this morning up Mont Ventoux.  I know it is just a bunch of guys riding bikes in France, but pro cycling is the coolest sport ever, what can I say, and for a Rabo rider to win, and Lance to be on the podium, well, it was excellent.  Third, I was able to get something really knarly and technical to work today, I've been back-burnering it for days weeks while I paid attention to other stuff. C-15 NAs revisited: planning on a dead run (a framed version was used for Megan's 2nd place trophy)And fourth, I have this really cool trophy sitting in my office which Megan won when we sailed the C-15 North Americans together.  The trophy is a framed picture of us sailing together, planing on a dead run (as at right; click to enbiggen).  I keep looking at it and it brings a smile to my face (and a tear to my eye); I bought / built that boat in the summer of 1979, when I was nineteen, little knowing that thirty years later I'd be sailing it with my 12-year-old daughter.  How cool is that?

Hydonora Africana flower - not only looks strange, but smells like feces to attract dung beetlesHere we have the strangest plants on Earth.  Quite a collection.  The adaptations are even more amazing than those found among animals; after looking through these you have to conclude that evolution is even more creative than Dr. Suess!

SpaceX launch!Rand Simberg: A Space Program For The Rest of Us .  "Let us finally abandon our race with the Soviet Union, the race we won four decades ago against an adversary two decades vanquished and vanished.  We don’t need to remake Apollo; we need to open up the new space frontier the way the old American frontier was opened.  Let us unleash private enterprise and create not just jobs but true wealth."  Amen brother.  I know SpaceX would agree :)  [ via Instapundit ]

Tron Legacy trailerThis looks amazing: the trailer for Tron Legacy.  Yay, another cool movie to watch!  Cannot wait...

Well that's it for a Saturday Evening Post; hope this finds y'all well and see you tomorrow...


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