Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First Rest Day at The Tour

A lot has happened at the tour over the first ten days of racing. Somethings that were pretty predictable. Over things not so much. And as per usual my tour picks have been blown apart.

First, lets get the obvious out of the way. Wiggo is impressive. Astoundingly so. He crushed the time trial and never really looked to be in trouble in the mountains. Having already taken 1:40 out Evans in the first ITT I have a nasty feeling the race for the overall could become very boring very quickly.

Bradley Wiggins poses with his work day shirt
I'm impressed with Wiggins and his team's attention to detail. Their obvious hard work and commitment to a singular goal. That is how you win something like the Tour de France in a decisive manner. So kudos to them in that respect.

On the other hand his abrasive and cocky attitude leaves me kind of cold. I want my racers to be human. I want them to say what they think and be truthful but Wiggins reaction to a doping question seemed colossally over the top. Maybe it's the tour pressure and being bombarded all the time. But I certainly don't think a doping question asked to the leader of the Tour de France while it's going on is out of line. I do however, think it's a shitty way for a leader to act. Even Lance never reacted to the general media doping questions that way (Barring Kimmage...). I think he should take some ques from some of the classier riders and either say what he means without calling people cunts or wankers (His words.) or just not say anything at all.


Cadel Evans (BMC) in action during the stage 9 time trial.
He's a fighter. He's plucky and I'm sure he will go down swinging.  But barring Wiggo fucking up (My words.) I don't think he's going to repeat his performance of last year. We have a lot of racing left and I certainly won't dismiss him until the very end. But unless he can isolate Wiggins on some really steep gnarly stuff and drop his ass I just don't see him getting any of that time back. 
I was having a conversation with J last night about it and I think the only way they are going to get Wiggins out of  yellow is if BMC, Liquigas and maybe Katusha start gaining up on Sky with everything they have. Just start throwing guys up the road forcing Sky to chase. Burning all their matches and then the GC contenders doing the same thing once Wiggo is isolated on the climbs.

The only problem with that strategy is that I don't know if any of those teams have enough high caliber climbers to get the job done...

In a lot of ways Wiggins and Sky have already gotten through the hard part. Their team is full of climbers. So by getting through the flat stages and still being in control completely plays into there hands.

Speaking of control... Poor Garmin. They have had a string of really bad luck the first week. With the loss of Tom Danielson and Ryder Hesjedal (My dark horse out the window.) to crashes. Along with the rest of the team getting the crap kicked out of them. This has been a tough tour for all of them. It just goes to show how much luck and being in the right place can mean in a race.

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), battered and bloodied from a crash in the stage 5 finale, crosses the finish line in Saint-Quentin.
Farrar about to go whoop some ass!
 As a side note I loved seeing Tyler try and go throw down with the racer that he perceived as knocking him down in the sprint. That's the sort of fiery sprinter antics that I like to see. Now he just needs to win a stage and all shall be complete.

Two seriously honorable mentions have to go to Peter Sagan and Vincenzo Nibali.

 First Sagan: That guy is every bit of awesome that I thought he would be. He showed he can sprint in just about any type of finish AND climb. I'd say he will be the new Eric Zabel (Green jersey winner 6 times.) of the 21 century. Really impressive.

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) had a relatively good day, losing only a handful of seconds
Second Nibali: If this guy doesn't eventually win the tour I will be completely shocked. He can climb like a goat, descend like a stone and time trial shockingly well. He will be giving Contador a run for his money for years to come. I also see him coming in third unless Sky is full of crap saying they're not interested in two podium spots (Froome being the second. That's a guy to look to in the very near future as well.).

Rubber side down,

Big E

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