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Tour de France 2010

I'm Practicing
by

Steve Hadley

on 2 March 2011

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Transcript of Tour de France 2010

Tour de France Sprinters General Classification Contenders The Jerseys Yellow Jersey Green Jersey Polkadot Jersey White Jersey
Alberto Contador Lance Armstrong Carlos Sastre Denis Menchov Bradly Wiggins Christian Vande Velde Ivan Basso Andy Schleck Frank Schleck Cadel Evans Michael Rogers Roman Kreuzigar Astana: Contador has won the last 4 grand tours in which he has participated. This clearly makes him the undisputed favorite to win his 3rd Tour de France. It also makes him the target of all the other contenders. Expect other riders to relentlessly attack, and don't expect other teams to lend much help in chase. The strength of his Astana team will be tested early and often. Despite the individual rewards and recognition, cycling is a team sport. If Alberto's team falters the strongest rider may not win the Tour. With that being said, Contador is the strongest climber in the world and can time trial with best. Everytime the road goes up he will try to put time into his rivals. If his team can keep his rivals in check before the climbs Contador will be almost unbeatable. Liquigas: Kruezigar may be the ace in the hole for Liquigas. He is a young rider that has shown great potential. He finished 13th in 2008 and 9th in 2009. I don't know if he can compete for the podium quite yet, but he could surprise. If his teammate, Ivan Basso, has the same form as the Giro he may be riding for Basso. On the other hand, while everyone else is watching Basso he could slip away unnoticed leaving the others contenders to find a way to close the gap. BMC: At the end of last season Cadel made a surpise move to join the young BMC team. BMC made many strong signings in the office season to bolster its team and were rewarded with their first invite to the Tour. Not knowing if BMC would be invited to the Tour, Cadel raced all out for overall victory at the Giro d'Italia. While slipping out of contention for the Giro podium late in the race it was later revealed that he had been suffering from illness. Cadel is strong in both the mountains and the time trial and has finished 2nd on the Tour podium multiple times. The big questions for me is if he has recovered from his efforts at the Giro? He hasn't raced since the Giro ended a month ago. He should be able to use the flatter early stages of the Tour to get his rhythm back. As shown previously, the podium is definitely within his grasp. HTC Columbia: Michael Rogers was once one of Austraila's
biggest hopes for a Tour de France victory. With multiple
Time Trial World Championships to his name he is always
a threat against the clock. Years of injury have left
Rogers short of expectations. With a strong performance,
and overall victory, at the Tour of California it looks
like Rogers may be back on track. He is climbing strong
and time trialing with the best. A podium finish in Paris is a real possibility.
Saxo Bank: Andy was an impressive 2nd place in the
Tour last year. Andy was the only rider that showed
any possibility of matching Contador on the steep
climbs. His achilles heal however, is the time trial.
His lack of time trialing skills put to rest any chance
of finishing ahead of Contador in Paris. Andy has shown
improved time trialing skills thus far this year, but
his form has been erratic. His brother Frank showed
better form in the recent Tour de Suisse. Andy is
normally the stronger climber of the two. However, if
Frank is the stronger of the two Andy will give everything
to help his brother.
Liquigas: Fresh off a strong victory at the Giro d'Italia Basso seems to have regained his pre-doping suspension form (don't worry he only "intended to dope"). Regardless of whether he doped or simply intended to dope, he has been a class act since returning to the sport. If he has recovered from the Giro he has the chance to pull off the Giro/Tour double that hasn't been done since the late Marco Pantani. With a strong team for support, Ivan could be in contention for an elusive Tour title. RadioShack: American's darling Lance Armstrong is back to
compete for an unprecedented 8th Tour title. A win at his age,
nearly 39, would be a record in and of itself. An 8th victory
would "merely" add to his current record of 7 tour titles. While a slim and fit Armstrong arrived at the Tour Down Under in January he encountered many hiccups in his training during the following months. With illness and a painful crash at the Tour of California in May his preparations for the Tour have not been ideal. However, Lance added the Tour of Luxemburg to his schedule in early June to make up for lost race miles. He promptly finished on the podium in 3rd place to show he was back on track. He then followed that up with 2nd place overall at the Tour de Suisse (a major tune up race for some of the Tour's top contenders). He rode strong in the race's queen mountain stage. While his time trialing didn't show the dominance of his younger years he was still able to hold his own. Lance is very good at not peaking too early for the Tour. Expect him to be a little bit stronger when the key stages arrive. Lance also may have the strongest team in the race. If too much attention is given to Lance, teammates Levi Leipheimer or Andreas Kloden could ride away with a victory. In the meantime, Lance can rest while the other contendors tire themselves chasing Leipheimer and Kloden.
Levi Leipheimer
Andreas Kloden See Lance Armstrong Rabobank: Last year's winner of the Giro d'Italia, Denis Menchov, took a pass on the Giro to train exclusively for the Tour. While a winner of 3 grand tours (1 Giro and 2 Vueltas) he has never really contended for the top step of the Tour de France podium. By passing on the Giro this year he hopes to come into the Tour fresh and be able to ride as he has in other grand tours. The ability is there. Can he finally pull it all together in July? Saxo Bank: The elder of the Schleck brothers, Frank is showing fantastic form coming in to the Tour. He recently claimed the top step of the Tour de Suisse podium with the best time trial of his career on the final day. He also took an impressive stage win earlier in the race. As with his brother, the time trial, has been weakness for Frank. His younger brother Andy is typically known as the better climber of the two. However, Frank is showing such great form that Andy may work for him this year instead of the other way around. One question is if Frank can maintain this form through the Tour. Many riders that have shown great form in the Tour de Suisse or Dauphine in the lead up to the Tour have peaked too early and struggled later in the Tour. It will be anyone's guess which brother will be riding for the other one. This could play into their favor as the other contenders will have to keep an eye on both of them. They will know which one is on better form, but will play this card close to their chest. Cervelo Test Team: Sastre won the Tour in 2008. Sastre was able to take advantage of a 3 on 1 attack with then teammates Frank and Andy Schleck against Cadel Evans. Contador's new Astanta team had not been invited to the Tour due to previous doping offenses prior to his arrival on the team. Evans was not able to answer all the attacks of a powerful threesome, and Sastre rode away on the Alpe d'huez. Faithful teammates and Andy and Frank marked Cadel and allowed Sastre to ride away with the victory. Sastre's form is a little unknown as his is just returning from a back injury sustained at the Giro. He'll need to ride away while the other contenders are watching each other to reach the top step again. Garmin: Vande Velde surpised all but those who knew him with a 4th place finish in 2008. Forever the faithful domestic, Vande Velde go the chance to ride for himself in 2008 and proved he could fulfill the role of team leader. A nasty crash in the Giro in 2009 sent Christian scrambling to regain form before the start of the Tour. It was nothing less than a miracle that he was able to start the Tour in 2009 due to his injuries he sustained in the Giro. He not only started he rode his was to an 8th place finish while helping then teammate Bradly Wiggins surprise the world as Vande Velde had done the year before. Wiggins left the team at the end of the year to join the new Sky team leaving Christian as the sole leader once again. Unfortunately, Christian crashed out of the Giro on stage 3 for the 2nd straight year. While his injuries were less sevier than the previous year he had to take time off the bike for a broken collarbone and miss the training the Giro would have provided. He was less than stellar in the Tour de Suisse. Can he ride into form before the key stages of the Tour? Don't be too surprised. He's done it before. Team Sky: Bradly Wiggins was the revelation of last year's Tour with a 4th place finish. While he has always been a danger in the time trials most people didn't believe he could climb with the best. He spent a lot of time working on his climbing and proved everyone wrong. He's got the engine to compete for the Tour crown. He has shown that he can compete. As with any new revelation, can he be consistent and do it again? Can he raise the bar the one notch higher to compete with the likes of Contador? The roads of France will provide the answers. Mark Cavendish Thor Hushvod Awarded to the rider with the best overall time. Awarded to the rider with the most points.
(Usually a sprinter that can consistently place high in the standings.) Awarded to the rider with the most points acquired on the summits of the climbs Awarded to the rider 25 years of age or younger with the best overall time.
Alessandro Petacchi Robbie McEwen Tylyer Farrar Oscar Friere While wiley and consistent, Friere is getting up there in age. He could win a stage or two. However, I think it is more likely that he is top 5 in the sprints, but not winning them. His strength will be that he can get over some of the mountains where other top sprinters may not be able to stay with the front group. If it comes down to a small group sprint Friere is an excellent bet. Farrar is one of the few sprinters to beat Cavendish in recent years. He can sprint with the best. His weakness however, has been consistency. This could keep him out of the Green Jersey. He is maturing and getting better at this. If he can be consistent he can be a real contendor for Green. Petachhi once ruled the sprints. In recent years he has struggled beating the top sprinters. He's shown some better form of late, and is always a threat. He struggles in the mountains so I think he will miss out on key points for the Green Jersey, but a few stage victories are a possibility. Cavendish was without a doubt the strongest sprinter last year. He won 6 stages in the Tour and was nearly unbeatable in a bunch sprint. This year however, has been a difficult one for Cavendish. Illness and injury have resulted in few victories this year. He has shown improvement in recent months but exited the Tour de Suisse early after causing a crash leaving his true form unknown. He can still win even if he is not at his best (it just won't be by 3 bike lengths). Cavendish will be chasing the green jersey. He may take the top points on the flat stages, but can he get points on other stages. The God of Thunder may not be able to regularly beat Cavendish in the bunch sprints, the occaisional victory and excellent consistency won him the Green Jersey in last year's Tour. Thor picked up points on stages where other sprinters had been dropped in the hills. He is also very strong if the sprint finish is slightly uphill. I wouldn't expect him to win as many stages as Cavendish, but that doesn't mean he won't walk away with the Green Jersey. McEwen may not be as young as he used to be, but he's got a ton of experience. I wouldn't expect his old legs to win many stages, but consistency may keep him in the hunt for the Green Jersey. His experience may put him in the right place to even win a stage or two. Climbers Picking who will go for the mountains points is always a tough call. The best all arounders will probably be chasing the General Classification rather than mountains points and the Polk-a-dot Jersey. There are also greats climbers that will be saving themselves to help their team leaders at the crucial moments. I suggest looking for riders that don't have a top General Classification rider on their team. These may chase Tour glory and sponsor recognition by chasing the mountains points and the Polk-a-dot Jersey. Domestiques Riders that are there to help to the team leader are called domestiques. Their job is to keep the team leader shielded from wind and help keep them in an ideal position. They also fetch water and food from the team car so that team leaders can save energy for crucial moments of the race. They may try to get in the breakaways to provide support for the team leader later in the race when other domestiques have dropped off the pace. If the breakaway doesn't caught they may get a chance for the stage win. Pick domestiques that have teammembes that are likely to finish in the front whether that be a sprint or at the top of a mountain.
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