Critical Section

TDF stage 19 / high mountains - Contador attacks, nearly wins, as Andy Schleck takes yellow

Saturday,  07/23/11  12:33 PM

(on the train to Grenoble to watch the ITT today! - I am *so* excited...)

stage 19 - mountaintop finish at l'Alpe d'Huez ... it's *on*And so yesterday we reached l'Alpe d'Huez, the ultimate climbing stage of the 2011 Tour even though stage 18 was arguably harder and longer and hence the "queen stage".  Partially it's because of the mystique of l'Alpe - the 21 hairpins with the stage winners celebrated at each one - and partially it's because this is the last stage before the ITT later today - and partly it's because the stage is so short; despite the Col du Galibier en route everyone reaches the bottom at the same time, everyone attacks, and may the best man win.  So it was the last time l'Alpe was in the Tour, in 2008, when Carlos Sastre won it and won the Tour.

Pierre Roland wins Alpe d'Huez, takes the white jersey and the glorySo what happened?  Well we had the usual early break, but then Alberto Contador attacked!  One day after falling out of GC contention after being unable to stay with the leaders on the final climb, he seemed to be the Alberto of old.  Only Andy Schleck could stay with him on his dynamic accelerations, with Cadel Evans and Thomas Voeckler struggling to stay on.  And then Voeckler finally cracked and fell off.  And then Evans had a mechanical, had to switch bikes, and suddenly was under pressure to stay on.  Even before we reached l'Alpe the peloton was all over the mountain.  Evans BMC team restored order and began a solid chase, so that by the foot of l'Alpe there were about 30 riders again.  On the final climb Contador attacked again (!) and seemed headed for victory, with Evans driving a hard chase, both Schlecks on his wheel, shedding Voeckler for the final time and dropping him from yellow.  Samuel Sanchez attacked, and then Voeckler's teammate Pierre Roland followed, seeking the white jersey.  Near the seemingly unreachable top Contador lost steam, and was ultimately passed by Roland, who won (and took White), and Sanchez, who ended up second (and in Polka Dots).  Evans drove the leaders to the top, putting Andy Schleck in yellow for the first time. 

Alberto Contador animated the day, attacking constantly, and ultimately fell short to third

I have to say, today I liked Alberto more than at any time before; he might not have won the stage or the Tour, but he won the respect of the fans.

So going into today's ITT we have Andy in first, Frank 2nd (0:53), and Evans 3rd (0:57).  Voeckler has dropped to 4th (2:10).  I think Evans will easily take a minute from both Andy and Frank, and will win the tour.  I don't think Cunago (3:11) or Contador (3:55) can make the podium.  We'll see - stay tuned!

[ Tour de France 2011:  all postsindex ]

About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji The Nest Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
the big day
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?