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Tour de France

19 Posts tagged with the 2008-tour-de-france tag

Ronan Pensec: The Tour of Hope

Posted by ActiveTdF Jul 27, 2008

What a Tour de France we have seen this year! For the first time in a few years, I feel that this year's winner, the Spaniard Carlos Sastre, well deserves his victory.

 

Sastre, of Team CSC, has been in the peloton for ten years and has never been in a tricky situation regarding a doping case. This rider has built his victory this year not only with his legs but also with his brain, which I really like.

 

Besides that, this Tour de France was great for the French, who claimed a few stage victories. But what about the new king of massive sprints--the young British gun Mark Cavendish! This guy is awesome and I hope to see him again and again in big races.

 

I'll keep in mind, of course, the dismissal from the race of Riccardo Ricco and his Saunier Duval team. But I say, "Keep outing the cheaters. Cycling doesn't need you!"

 

I want to also mention Cadel Evans. Of course this guy could have been the winner this year, but he needed to attack and have a better team around him.

 

I believe that next year will be a great Tour de France, with, I hope, a great fight between Evans, Sastre, the Schleck brothers and Alberto Contador. A new generation has arrived and it will be awesome to see all those guys in the mountains next year!

 

Now it's the time for all of us to raise a glass of Champagne to celebrate this year's winner.

 

Please do not hesitate to post your comments, as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

1,727 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, alberto-contador, csc, mark-cavendish, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, carlos-sastre, riccardo-ricco, frank-schleck

Ronan Pensec: Chavanel got it!

Posted by ActiveTdF Jul 25, 2008

What a day for Sylvain Chavanel! After eight Tour de Frances and several attacks over the last two weeks, the sympathetic  French rider, Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), has finally got his first-ever stage win in the Tour de France. Even if Chavanel had announced three days ago that he would ride next year for the rival Belgium QuickStep team, he got the stage win today as a gift from his Team of the last four years.

 

Other than that, the peloton and its leader, Carlos Sastre (CSC), have had a pretty quiet day today. All the top riders seems to be already focusing on the very important Time Trial that will decide of the final ranking of the magnificent edition of the Tour de France.

 

It has been a very long time that the last Time Trial has been so important. What will happen tomorrow between the excellent climber Sastre and Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), no one can tell. Of course, Evans on paper is far better in this specific kind of race than the smaller Sastre, but after 19 very tiring stages, it’s a really different game. Stay tuned for a very interesting day tomorrow with the final Time Trial. Hope you've enjoyed this year's Tour de France as much as me.

 

Please do not hesitate to post me your comments as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com, the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates Ronan Pensec Events, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

945 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour_de_france, ronan_pensec, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans

It was another transition day at the Tour today, as we expected, and I think tomorrow will be pretty much the same.

 

We will have some guys going for the stage win, but I don't think there will be any change in the general ranking until the time trial. And I wouldn't be too confident if I was Cadel Evans, because he will definitely have all the pressure on his shoulders. I keep on saying that he should win the Tour thanks to his time trial ability. But in the meantime, here at the Tour everyone else is saying the same thing, so I'm sure Evans knows everybody is now waiting for him to produce.

 

Today saw the victory of Marcus Burghardt, who is a pretty young and talented cyclist. I kind of like this guy because he has been working hard for his team, and I think that a stage win is well-deserved. Keep an eye on him in the future. People backstage at the Tour have been talking a lot about him recently.

 

Finally, I'd like to talk about this crazy situation where Mr. Schleck, the father of Andy and Frank, got pulled over by customs officials for an unexpected search of his car. The police didn't find anything expect some aspirin. It looks like an anonymous person called the police and said that he was carrying drugs for his children!

 

Anyway, behind this fact, I think it's a bit of a joke to be so aggressive over cyclists. I'm not saying they shouldn't control as much as they are doing right now, but there are proper ways to get things done. And this was not nice behaviour at all. Cyclists have done bad things, and some still do--there is no doubt about this. But in the meantime, rather than asking ourselves why some cyclists take doping products, we should ask ourselves why cycling is the only sport that is so much controlled?

 

Honestly, I doubt there are no other sports where athletes take illegal products to get better. We are always talking about cycling and athletics as if the two are purely physical sports. Well, I'm sorry, but like any other sport, these both require good tactics, strategy, and mental skills to perform.

 

So let's continue the controls after the race and during the season, but let's make sure we control the right people and we do it the right way.

 

This Tour de France has been one of the best in a long time, and I'm glad to see that the doping cases haven't affected the show as much as they used to do.

 

Please do not hesitate to post your comments, as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

1,251 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, andy-schleck, frank-schleck, marcus-burghardt

I was expecting today to be a real decisive day for the Tour, but, fortunately, nothing is obvious tonight.

 

Cadel Evans is 1:34 behind the yellow jersey, and while I think it won't be enough to prevent him from winning this Tour, it's not going to be that easy for him. The time trial is going to be decisive again, and I'm not sure that this is the best thing for the race. Playing the Tour on the time trial might help to celebrate one rider, but not a team.

 

But today was another CSC day. They are having such a great Tour de France that I feel like it's a bit of a shame for them to (maybe) miss the yellow jersey at the end of the week.

 

I think the weather conditions, with a lot of wind today, have really impacted the race. If the conditions had been better, the CSC team would have done a much better job and Evans wouldn't be as confident tonight. In an ideal world, CSC should have attacked very early. But given the weather, I think they realized they couldn't, and they decided to wait and launch Sastre on l'Alpe d'Huez.

 

Once again, l'Alpe d'Huez has hosted an incredible show. It is always completely crazy and fantastic to live through moments like that in sports. And more generally speaking, as I have been working with France2, the French TV channel that produces the images of the Tour, I can tell you that the audiences all around the world have been really high this year. Lots of people watch the Tour in France but also all around the world, and it's really good for cycling.

 

I will keep on predicting that the final result will be Evans No. 1 and Sastre No. 2.

 

Tomorrow will not be a "rest day," as I'm pretty sure CSC will try to keep a high pace just to show Evans that they will give everything until they cross the finish line in Paris. So keep an eye on tomorrow, there could be some surprises within the next 48 hours.

 

Please do not hesitate to post your comments, as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

2,713 Views 12 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, carlos-sastre

We were expecting a more challenging stage today, with more fights and attacks from the riders, but it wasn't as great as I thought it would be. Given the OK performance of Frank Schleck, I even feel like the Tour de France is already over as Cadel Evans is by far the fastest time trialist among all the contenders.

 

If you think about it, Schleck and the other contenders will have to pretty much win by four minutes on Evans in tomorrow's stage to have a chance to win in Paris. But who is going to take four minutes on Evans on the Alpe d'Huez?

 

Despite the fact that the Tour might already be over (even if it's never over until you cross the finish line), I think we are having one of the greatest in decades. Can you believe that we have three guys within 10 seconds after two weeks? They have spent more then 68 hours on their bikes and only 10 seconds separate them. Wow!

 

Some may say that the Tour lacks a real "boss" in the peloton and it's sometimes good to see someone like that, but it feels really fresh without one. I will say this: the Tour would be perfect so far if we didn't have some stupid guys doping themselves.

 

Tomorrow's l'Alpe d'Huez is always a great moment in the Tour, but with today's rankings, it's just going to be crazy! 500,000 people are predicted to line the roads! And who knows, maybe Schleck didn't do so well today so he can strike hard tomorrow. I'm all excited about it and I hope you are too!

 

Please do not hesitate to post your comments, as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

2,658 Views 7 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, frank-schleck, alpe-d'huez

What a great day at the Tour today, even if it much of it had to do with the weather conditions, which really impacted the race. Frank Schleck is now in yellow by only seven seconds and the top 6 is within 50 seconds of each other. Isn't it just great?

 

With a rest day tomorrow, all these guys should be OK for some great action in the Alps, which should lead to a fantastic finish in Paris. Many people today talked about Denis Menchov, saying that he could be the yellow jersey in Paris. It seems pretty interesting, and I invite you to re-watch his race today as he was always in the hunt but wasn't doing anything sensational...as if he was trying not to draw attention to himself. Pretty smart move if it really is the case.

 

Evans still has some reserve and such a strong motivation that losing the yellow jersey will not impact his mental state. I was able to see him right before the post-race doping tests and he was feeling very confident. I think he knew he would loose the jersey today, but I felt like these eight seconds conceded to Schleck were less than what he was expecting.

 

The Tour will now enjoy a well-deserved rest day. I told you yesterday that today would be important, and I was quite right. All the pros are really sore, and even some of the best guys, like Sylvain Chavanel, were pretty close to not making the cut. What a day and what a Tour de France!

 

Over these last two weeks, I feel like the performances are a little under the level from previous years and that we are getting back to a more human race. The audience is responding well to this Tour de France as the roads have been seriously packed since the beginning of the event. It's really nice to see that, and if we can finish the Tour without another doping case, we will be able to say that cycling is on the right track.

 

Please do not hesitate to post your comments, as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

3,617 Views 6 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, frank-schleck, denis-menchov

Pretty significant move from Barloworld today, as they have decided to take the name of their company off of their team's jersey. They said the recent news has been affecting the company's image. Barloworld is still under contract until 2009, so even if they wanted to just end the relationship, they couldn't do anything other than removing their name. I think it's pretty smart move from Barloworld and I like the idea. It would have been a shame to penalize the other riders on the team who may not have taken any drugs.

 

As for today's stage, there is not much to say. I was hoping to see some early echappée as I told you yesterday, but the race was so fast during the first two hours that nobody could have run away from the peloton. They rode at 52km/h (32 mph) during the first hour and 48km/h (29,8 mph) during the second. Impressive.

 

That's one of the reasons why I felt after the finish line that most of the riders were really tired today. I agree that the weather was really hot, but I think that the guys gave a lot already. Most of them were already talking about Monday, the next day off.

 

Tomorrow doesn't seem to be a tough stage but given their fatigue, I wouldn't be surprised to see some serious damages after the finish line. This means that tomorrow will be crucial for many riders.

 

Today's good news comes from Oscar Freire who keeps his green jersey and won the stage and also from Mark Cavendish. It's always a bit sad when the green jersey doesn't win a stage on the Tour. Talking about Cavendish, it's also good news that he didn't win today. It means that he is human and it will now be interesting to see his reaction in Paris for the final sprint. Will he have the mental strength to win in Paris?

 

Well, there is only one way to know it. Stay tuned and enjoy the show.

 

Please do not hesitate to post your comments, as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

1,132 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, mark-cavendish, 2008-tour-de-france, oscar-freire, barloworld

Cavendish is just a star. He really impressed me today, and with his recent wins he's got so much confidence he is starting his sprint very early and still manages to finish up with a comfortable lead on his rivals. This guy is having some great performances. There was no one in the Tour to contest his leadership today.

 

He seems to be a very laid back guy. He is good looking. He is good with the media. He is just what cycling needs--some fresh air. We need to see some young guns more than ever. He is the perfect example of where cycling should go.

 

Look at today's stage: It was all set before they even took the start. We knew it would be a sprint, but you still had two guys running an echappée. For what? For their sponsors! I'm sorry, but that's just the truth. Today they rode for their sponsors as it was completely useless to do such a move. We all know that the Tour will be restarting tomorrow.

 

So we are at a stage where team managers tell their riders to run echappée to get some visibility and please the sponsors because these same team managers don't even know what to do to give cycling what it really needs. Some honesty, and some fun. It's a sport! It has to be fun to do and to watch.

 

It is time for a new generation to show up, and I'm not just talking about the riders. I'm talking about everybody--including the team managers. These are the same guys from 10, 20 years ago and we are still surprised when we have a doping case.

 

Take a look at Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Chipotle's team manger. This guy is what we need. He is young, smart, he comes from the cycling industry, and he is good marketer. He has the right profile. Between you and me, when a rider is taking doping products, we know that the team manager is aware of that. It's obvious. I was a pro; I know how these guys work.

 

We need some fresh ideas and new faces in cycling and I would be glad to share some ideas with you guys or anyone who wants to invest in a team. We can make some radical changes that will really benefit the sport.

 

Otherwise, we will have stages like we had today, a bit predictable and boring until we get to the sprint. Thankfully, we have Cavendish! He is one of a kind.

 

Tomorrow will be more exciting to watch as the course will be slightly hilly all the way to the finish line. The peloton will have to be careful, as the first echappée could be the right one.

 

Stay tuned and enjoy the show. The Alps are just around the corner.

 

Please do not hesitate to post your comments, as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

955 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, mark-cavendish, 2008-tour-de-france, garmin-chipotle, jonathan-vaughters

Ronan Pensec: Why?

Posted by ActiveTdF Jul 17, 2008

As I said it would be yesterday, today was a very classic stage with a massive sprint at the end that has again shown us the greatness of Mark Cavendish. This guy is just outstanding. He has done another magic sprint with so much ease. It was really impressive, especially for me who never was a sprinter.

 

Tomorrow will be pretty much the same, with the real action coming this weekend (finally). I don't really like these transition periods, but we all know they are needed to do such an amazing three-week event.

 

But it doesn't look like everybody needs rest! Why did Riccardo Ricco do that? How can he do that after all that cycling, and especially the Tour de France, went through?

 

Honestly, you have to be really stupid to take such a classic product and not expect to get caught. One more time, ASO has put in place with the AFLD (the French agency in charge of fighting doping on the Tour) a great system. No one can really expect to finish the Tour "clean" if they are not.

 

Try to think for a minute about what Ricco had in mind...If this guy is not one of the most stupid and selfish cyclist we have ever had, what sort of person is he? Does he even think about the kids who are watching the Tour? We all know cycling is a very tough sport and has a pretty poor image right now. What parents on earth would let their kid start cycling with "athletes" like that?

 

This whole situation is a real shame and I can already hear the crowd saying, "Again as usual." But, wait a minute. If you think about it, what event takes the risks and actually does more to find athletes taking drugs? The Tour might be the only event taking this risk, so we have to sort of thank them for what they do. It's not easy, but it means that they are trying to give this sport the second chance it deserves.

 

So I may surprise some of you today, but I wouldn't blame ASO on this one. They are doing their job. Now comes the toughest part, educating and convincing the riders that they should stop taking drugs!

 

Please do not hesitate to post your comments, as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

888 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, mark-cavendish, 2008-tour-de-france, riccardo-ricco

Today was a transition day, just as the next two days will be. It's a good time for all the teams to recover, and it's not a surprise that there has not been much change within the rankings today. I would bet that there won't be any change for the next two days either.

 

Everybody is waiting for the Alps to start attacking again. So, get ready to watch a massive sprint tomorrow and a pretty similar stage to the one we had today on Friday.

 

The only thing I noticed from today's stage is that the Silence-Lotto team is not putting any effort in the race, and I kind of wonder why. On the opposite end, I was surprised to see how fast CSC rode today. Given the fact that these three days are only transitional days, I don't see the point in going fast and tiring the body when the rankings don't even change. It will be interesting to see how they will perform in the Alps...so keep an eye on them.

 

Talking about performance, as I forecasted it, the pace is pretty slow right now so Cadel Evans can really recover from his crash. I would bet that he will be even stronger in the Alps than he was in the Pyrénées. I'm pretty sure it will be hard to take the yellow jersey from him. It means a lot to him, as you may have seen when he was on the podium, and I doubt he will let it go without fighting like a real leader.

 

You may have all heard about the doping case today. The Spanish rider Moises Duenas Nevado thought he would be smart enough to fool the controls, but I'm glad to see that the system is quite strong and that no one is being forgotten. Duenas is not fighting for the lead, so I think it was really stupid for him to take doping products during this Tour.

 

It's really sad to see that you still have some guys who don't understand that it's in their best interest to stop behaving like that. Honestly, when they get caught, these people should be banned from the pro cycling world right away with no return possible. These guys will just kill the sport! Anyway, I'm glad he is out and I hope that we won't have another case this year.

 

Please do not hesitate to post me your comments as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

736 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, moises-duenas-nevado

Today is a rest day as you all know, but this July 15th will definitely make history as all the teams entered for the Tour de France have announced that they will stop competing in the ProTour!

 

This is it! The ProTour is over or will be over soon, and the UCI can be worried about it.

 

The real motivation for the teams to leave the ProTour is both financial and for the good of the sport. On one side, you had the marketing managers explaining that it was harder and harder to find budgets for 30+ riders to cover all the important events of the ProTour and the other private events. On the other side, the team managers and coaches said that managing 30+ athletes was really hard and it was not in the best interest of the sport.

 

Now that they will be managing 20 riders or less, the riders will be able to see each other more often and they won't be stretched out as they used to be. Team spirit will be easier to build. As you can see with the CSC team, it's definitely good for the sport to have strong teams. They make the show!

 

Well, it's a very important for the sport of cycling, and even if it's a bit early to say that, I think it's great news for cycling.

 

The Tour will be back tomorrow, so stay tuned!

 

Please do not hesitate to post your comments as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

2,779 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour_de_france, tour-de-france, ronan_pensec, ronan-pensec, pro-tour, uci, 2008-tour-de-france, protour

And it's not without surprises. Who would have guessed that after only one week Alejandro Valverde and Damiano Cunego would be out of the race for the yellow jersey? Sorry to ruin the fans' morale, but these two guys are pretty much out for the rest of the Tour and it's obviously Cadel Evans and the CSC team who really took advantage of this stage.

 

I knew this stage was crucial and Cadel knew it too. After a serious crash yesterday, he was here in the peloton and in pretty much all the attacks to cross the finish line and steal the yellow jersey from Kim Kirchen. Today has shown us that Cadel Evans has great mental strength to get the job done. I'm sure he is quite happy right now as he knows that tomorrow is the first rest day, and that the next three stages shouldn't be too tough to control. It will surely boost his morale and help him heal faster.

 

The only thing I'm a little worried about with Evans is that I feel like he is sort of alone on his team when it gets to mountain stages. Even if he has done a wonderful stage today, I'm afraid that his team won't be able to back him up in the Alps. Unfortunately, this is where he could lose the Tour to some guys like the Schleck brothers or Carlos Sastre, who run for CSC.

 

The second great news of the day is the CSC Saxo Bank team and how they structured their race today to take Valverde and Cunego out of the race so soon. It's real teamwork, believe me. They started really strong up Tourmalet and then they managed the race all the way to Hautacam by keeping a high pace and controlling the lead.

 

CSC has great individuals, as I said earlier, and I think that the yellow jersey could come from this team because of what they have shown today. The only question is: Even though they have lots of talent on this team, will they be able to cooperate when they get to the money time? I'm sure they all want to wear the jersey, but did their manager make things clear before the Tour started? We shall see...

 

Finally, we have had some good surprises with Christian Vande Velde and the Austrian Bernard Kohl today. These two guys are pretty much coming out of nowhere and they have done the job during this tough stage. It's a true pleasure to see new talents and new names on top of the rankings at each stage. It really gives some freshness to this Tour. Pay attention to these guys in the Alps. Who knows, they could have some influence on the rankings...

 

Great day, great stage, lost of actions in the Pyrénées--ladies and gentlemen, the Tour is launched!

 

Please do not hesitate to post me your comments as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com, the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates Ronan Pensec Events, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

900 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: tour_de_france, ronan_pensec, ronan-pensec, alejandro_valverde, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, carlos-sastre, damiano-cunego, damiano-cunego

Today was a transition day, as forecasted, at the Tour. Because of tomorrow's stage, it has not been a great stage today.

 

We haven't recorded much change in the rankings and the riders were recovering from yesterday to be on top of their games for tomorrow. With a short and tough stage, Monday is the perfect day for the favourites to make a difference. We just hope that Evans will get back strong tomorrow as his wipe-out may cost him the Tour. I sincerely hope not as we really need all the big shots to keep on having a great Tour to watch.

 

We have to be honest (and I'm not saying this because people who read these posts are mainly Americans), we are really missing a boss in the peloton. The Tour is missing someone like Lance Armstrong. You can feel that no one in the pack has the real guts to take the responsibility of being the man to beat or even assuming the pressure of being the favourite.

 

Once again, tomorrow will tell us some more about who is willing to win this Tour.

 

As we are waiting for the favourites to show up, we can be thankful for having Riccardo Ricco in this Tour. His motivation and mountain skills just fed the show today. He is the new "Pantani", if there was any doubt.

 

Thanks to Ricco today and many others this week, we have had some actions and great stages to watch everyday. I hope you are enjoying the show as much as we are and I'm telling you; save the day tomorrow, it should all start between Pau and Hautacam!

 

Please do not hesitate to post me your comments as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com, the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates Ronan Pensec Events, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

856 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: tour_de_france, tour-de-france, ronan_pensec, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, riccardo-ricco

Not mentioning the wipe-outs that we have had on this stage, today has been a really tough day for the Tour de France riders. With some heavy rain, winds and a particularly cold weather for the season, this stage will have a serious impact on tomorrow's performances.

 

This is why tomorrow's stage will be very interesting to watch. It will be a pretty strategic day as all the riders will try to recover as much as possible for Monday and the first real mountain stage. In the meantime, they will try to stick to the pack and keep the same ranking. One more time, Monday will be crucial for all the favourites.

 

As we will have a pretty short but difficult stage, it will be the perfect timing to make a difference and gain some seconds. But a tough day like we just had is a real pain for top athletes. You got heavy, stiff legs during the day and it's hard to recover well from that, not to mention the cold makes you burn more energy than usual.

 

As for the stage itself, some of you were wondering about Mark Cavendish's performance recently, well, I guess now you don't wonder anymore. I was quite amazed by his performance today when I first saw him crossing the finish line but when I thought about it again, I think we are witnessing a change of generation.

 

Some of the top sprinters are just getting a little older and lack the motivation compared to the British sprinter. Look in his eyes and you will understand why he won these sprints. He wants them more anyone else! He still has something to prove to the world of cycling, which might not be the case for some of the today's top sprinters.

 

At this level of competition, the training is still crucial, but what really makes the difference is your mental strength.

 

This is what George Hincapie brings to Team Columbia, which to me is one of the greatestif not the greatestsatisfaction of this first week. George is doing an outstanding job in getting the young and the older riders of this team performing together. What they have achieved so far is great.

 

However, even though I like them, I now think that the Alps and the Pyrénées will hurt this team. And I would be surprised to see them on the podium in Paris, unfortunately. They have shown great strategic skills and a good sense of tactics this week, so who knows; they could be the real good news of this Tour. A new and fresh team bringing some excitement to cycling!

 

I will end up my post today by expressing some sort of disappointment and a certain worry about Damiano Cunego. He has not done well over the last two days and if he still wants to be in the race, he will have to do well tomorrow and more importantly on Monday. It will be interesting to watch his race in particular as the next 48 hours are the real money time for Cunego...So pay attention to this guy because if the comes back strong, it will have a serious impact on the mental state of the other favourites!

 

Please do not hesitate to post me your comments as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

855 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: tour_de_france, tour-de-france, ronan_pensec, ronan-pensec, mark-cavendish, 2008-tour-de-france, team-columbia, george-hincapie, damiano-cunego

What a wonderful day at the Tour, and what a great stage! I hope you had the chance to watch, as we have had maybe the best stage of the Tour this year.

 

Lots of attacks, lots of fights, everything shows that we have an open-ended race even if the yellow jersey remains in Kirchen's hands. It was a great day of cycling and it keeps me saying that we do have a great 2008 Tour de France.

 

The weather also helped for this stage to be so exciting. There was quite some wind and all the teams tried different strategies to take advantage of it--with some success sometimes. It's always interesting to see how each team reacts in these conditions. It gives you a good idea of the team spirit and what their goal really is. Are they trying to place, or protect a rider in particular? Are they just in the pack waiting for the next stage?

 

I'm now hoping that we will have some great action like that tomorrow. I'm betting on a pretty classic stage with a strong sprint at the end. There are not many stages for sprinters this year, so tomorrow is definitely a day for them. And to answer Dave O's post, we will see how Cavendish plays it tomorrow. It will give us the trend for the rest of the Tour. I will sure keep an eye on him as everybody will want another performance.

 

As a Frenchman, you must wonder why I don't speak much about French riders, but I think today is the perfect case study. We all know we don't have someone in France to win the Tour, but you should still expect to see some motivation and passion about the Tour from my fellow French riders. Don't count on it!

 

Christophe Moreau has just said goodbye today. It feels like it's the end of his professional career, and he was the French champion again recently... and I think that the saddest thing is the Agritubel team. These guys gave us a good four days and now it looks like it's over. None of the team members were able to finish in the top 20 and you don't even feel like they want to fight at all.

 

It's as if they were getting paid too much or as if their team managers were happy with these results. French cycling looks sad and boring to me. It must be the lack of challenge and competition between French riders that makes them so transparent--and today was the perfect illustration of that.

 

French cycling is not on top of its game, but the most important thing remains: we have a great Tour de France and I hope you are all enjoying it!

 

Please do not hesitate to post me your comments as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!

 

Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates +Ronan Pensec Events+, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

1,355 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: tour_de_france, tour-de-france, ronan_pensec, ronan-pensec, mark-cavendish, 2008-tour-de-france, agritubel, christophe-moreau
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