Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lance + Alberto ='d BIG Problemo!

Boy how things changed once Lance got on the roads of France and the dollar signs of a "potential 8th win" clouded his judgement and past statements. Simple fact is this. It was Alberto's team and Alberto's '09 Tour to win BEFORE Lance come out of retirement. We all know how long it took to put this Radio Shack thing together. Look at the last sentence in the above article. A "new team based around Lance" (title sponsor was assumed to be Nike back then) was already in the works and Bruyneel was most-likely already part of it. Bruyneel's 8-finger solute indicated what was to come. Lance's 7 tour wins got Bruyneel where he is today and an 8th tour win sure would have put more money in his pocket than Alberto winning his 2nd.

I Pulled this from PezCycling News this morning:
"..Vino has also assured Alberto Contador that the team want him to stay on for another two years and that he (Contador) will remain as the squad’s team leader and Vino will merely be there to be a kind of super-domestique. Now, I wonder where Contador has heard that before?"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Week in Review - Commuting, 'Cross, Lance, Alberto, Astana ect

Commuting: Made if 4 for 5 last week, 2nd week in a row. That puts me at 27 so far this year, 14 in the last 4 weeks. Had the first serious rain on the way home this past week. No big deal when it's 80+ degrees. Looking forward to some long-sleeve weather, makes commuting a little easier (unless it's raining). In seasons past, I've always started my 'Cross Preparation BS August 1st. That's the plan for this year as well, but I have no expectations this time around. No desire to be as fast as I have been the last couple seasons. Need less pain and agony, and more fun.

Lance: From a purely physical standpoint, he impressed the hell out of me, and most will agree on that. However, when it comes to Lance, it's all about Lance. He came to Astana when they already had the undisputed team leader in Contador, and he seemed to be OK with that at first. After the Giro, he started promoting the idea of a high place in Paris. Then he really changed his tune once the Tour rolled around. Lance bailed on a few Astana team dinners to do his own RadioShack stuff. I feel bad for Contador. His look on the podium standing next to Lance said it all. The top 3 also did not do the traditional "all 3 on top spot" photo op. Lance appeared to make it a point to NOT stand next to Alberto for the Team prize presentaion. Lance is going his way with his new team and Alberto going elsewhere, and with Vino coming back to HIS team, Astana will go nowhere.
This is all in sharp contrast to how some other teams worked: Vandevelde giving up his GC shot to help Wiggins move up comes to mind.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Emporia MTB Race

Decided at the last minute to actually do a MTB race this year. After commuting to work 4 out of 5 days last week, and doing a respectable ride out at Landahl Saturday morning, what the hell, why not. The race in Emporia KS had been on the schedule for a while but I figured it would be too hot out for me. The temps have been amazing cool which was the deciding factor. 5-10 degrees hotter and no way. Felt good out at Landahl on Saturday and i've been a little curious to see what my fitness was really like after not racing all Spring and Summer like I usually do. Had a full group of guys lined up to car-pool but it ended up being just me and Tige Lamb. Nice to ride some new trails for once. The crew down there put some amazing trails together. Super twisty with a few steep little climbs covered in loose rocks. Fortunately, for the most part, the course was smooth and fast, so the Niner hardtail was OK. 35+ Expert men started a minute behind the younger experts. That was a solid group with Cameron Chambers and Shad Shreiner. I got the hole shot in our race with Tige right behind me. We kept the pace pretty quick through the first section of tight single track and already had a gap starting when we hit the long gravel road section on lap 1. I hit the road and really dropped the hammer. The single-ring 36 34/11 got spun-out pretty good here but not too bad. After the long gravel section, it was back into the twisty single track for a short section before the finish. Me and Tige just shared the work for most of the race and caught all of the younger guys except that class winner Shad Shreiner. Coming off the gravel road on the last lap, I just happen to be in front and got into the single track first with Tige right behind me. I really didn't feel like a sprint on the steep climb to the finish so I just pushed the pace a bit through a series of tight sections and made sure a had a few bikes lengths cushion to work with. Hitting the pond with the bridge, Tige slid out a bit in a turn just as I got on the gas a bit so the gap was already set. We cruised in a few seconds apart for 1 and 2 in the 35+ and the 2nd and 3rd fastest times of the day. Lelan and his group put on a great race. Look forward to heading down there next year, provided it isn't too hot!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Commuting, Training, Hamilton, the Tour.....

WADA seeking a lifetime ban for Tyler Hamilton ( Click HERE for full story). Is this really necessary for WADA spend time and money on? 8 years is already a life time ban from the sport (unless you're Lance), so why bother kicking a already dead horse.

Lance at the Tour: Doing quite well considering, but I don't think we've had a real selection yet. I really hope that if and when he realizes that he can't win it, that he switches gears and supports Alberto so that he can win it. My previous prediction of the final podium being Contador, Sastre, and Menchov in that order is looking about 33.3% on track. I still think Contador has it. Once we hit his favored(steep) terrain, he'll really light it up. Sastre is already almost 3 minutes back, and Menchov is 5 back. That's a lot of time to claw back. Why isn't Ivan Basso racing the Tour (Oh, THIS is why)

Training: Not much to speak of here, just riding. Trails have been closed.

Commuting: Up to 22 days, 792 miles.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

My Tour prediction

OK, you heard it here first: Contador 1st, Sastre 2nd, and Menchov 3rd.

Contador has been very quiet so far this year, saving everything for July. He also has a super strong team to support him, provided they are supporting him. As long as Lance and Levi place nice and put there individual ambitions aside, nobody important should get up the road. Sastre showed great form right at the end of the Giro. The Cervelo team is strong but lacks the big-gun climbers. Menchov will definately rock the time trials and maybe a hilly stage, but my hunch is he burnt too many matches in May.

Other predictions:

More dopers will get caught, big names just like years past.

Lance may be allowed a stage win (Ventoux i'm guessing), but for the most part, he'll be Alberto's bitch for 3 weeks. Neither one will win if they make this a repeat of the LeMond/Hinault spectacle from years ago. More recently, the infighting between Vino, Kloden, and Ulrich at T-Mobile. Speaking of Vino, interesting to hear what he is saying about already being back on Astana. I wonder what pull he really does have with the Kazakhstan supported team. Could get VERY UGLY.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Weekly Update - Commuting, Training, ect

Been a good couple weeks of solid training. Finally getting some off-road time in. Took a few days but the skills are still there. The HEAT WAVE from HELL (all of last week) is over. Heading up to KCK to catch the Tour of KC Crit, just to watch of course. Very cool course with a nice hill (or 2). The Pro/1/2 race was pretty animated from the start with Jenson and Moniger marking each other, and the Mercy and Tradewind Energy teams trying to control things. Matt Ankney and Chris Hall got away late and pulled out the 1st and 2nd. No wonder why those 2 smoke me at the 'cross races! Got a good couple of hours in on the road bike in the afternoon. Did the same loop I did the previous Sunday, but the temp was now about 10 degrees cooler than it was then. What a difference 10 degrees makes.

I've commuted all 3 days so far this week (Monday through Wednesday). I still hit the Tuesday Night Crit last night and felt farily fresh. it was a very-well-behaved group last night so kudos to all, especially the guys that always seem to be all over the place. Hitting the trails tonite so it's yet to be seem if I can do the commute a 4th day in a row tomorrow. Might have to cash in the chips and save something for the 3 day weekend.