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Tour de France

26 Posts tagged with the 2009-tour-de-france tag

I’m a true fan of the Tour de France. I used to ride it as a pro, I’m now helping TV productions, so I shouldn’t say what I’m about to say but it’s the obvious truth: Today was a boring day!


If you look at the course, it can’t really be any different. You have an easy climb 40k before the finish line so no one can get surprised in it and then it’s downhill and flat till the finish. Therefore, there isn’t much strategy. You just control the race, make sure you don’t lose time on your direct competitor and you can “rest” a bit.


And that’s exactly how the guys played it today. These days show some very conservative behaviours (which is normal in some ways) but it isn’t quite what we expect from the Tour de France.


I’m not talking about the riders. They made the right call today. They race to win. I’m talking about the race directors. Presenting days like that on the Tour is not quite good for the audience so maybe there could be something to think about it here. Shorten the length of the Tour or maybe these stages. I don’t have the answer.


But I’m afraid that the next stage will pretty much be the same except that the climb is a very serious one. It’s the Tourmalet. Hopefully, things can change tomorrow and we could see some action.


Today showed us that Contador is the man to beat in the mountains and I think he will rule the Tourmalet tomorrow and maybe gain the yellow jersey. That would be the best thing that could happen to the Tour.


We need some excitements like we had on the first days. We have to keep the momentum for the fans and for the riders!


The only positive thing about stages like today is that they suit any type of riders. So in some ways, it’s good for the sport. Everyone gets a shot at a stage at some point so it helps the riders stay focused on the Tour.


Anyway, I hope tomorrow will be fun to watch and if not, I’m not worried much. There are exciting things to come!


Stay tuned,



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

772 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, alberto-contador, 2009-tour-de-france, tourmalet

Tour de France, I Love You!

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 10, 2009

When the Tour de France has days like today with great weather conditions, a great course, massive crowds on the road and on TV, I’m in love with it! What a day!


I would agree to a certain extent that the beginning of the stage wasn’t super exciting to watch but with the hell of a finish we had today, you have to recognize that we are having a great show for almost a week now.


Cancellara has literally exploded in the first climb of this Tour and has lost his yellow jersey. It was maybe the only fact that we could have forecast for today.


Then, it’s not Contador nor Lance, as I thought, who got the yellow jersey, it’s the Italian, Nocentini, who is the new leader by only 6 seconds! No doubt that Contador will claim his due tomorrow and that we will have a new yellow jersey! And watch out for Lance who is just around the corner just two seconds behind!


Isn’t that great? Isn’t what we want?


So please join me in congratulating Lance for his awesome start on this Tour. It’s incredible to do what he is doing with so little time to train. He is already racing for the win. I would like to meet anyone who could have predicted that a couple months ago. I mean, the guy retired for 3 years, had a great time and comes back to one of the most difficult sports where you have to be ready to hurt yourself everyday. It’s such a great achievement to be here and be among the best already.


I heard today, in the backstage, that it’s almost guaranteed that Lance will be riding next year for his own team called Livestrong. Nike will be the main partner and they will be riding Trek bikes, of course. I talked with some friends who ensured me that this will happen. What a great news! I’m so stoked about that. We will get to see the legend again in France!


This news makes me realize how lucky we are to be part of that and be able to enjoy these great moments of sports. What else can bring you such excitement?


You never know what can happen in sports. Look at today’s race: a French man who just turned pro in September won the stage!


There is magic in sports and I hope you are seeing as much as I am.


Enjoy the Tour, enjoy the sports, it’s all good!



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

2,523 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, trek, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, nike, fabian-cancellara, 2009-tour-de-france, livestrong

Here Comes the Rain

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 9, 2009

Today was supposed to be a transition day so usually you use these days to “recover” a bit and prepare yourself for the next challenge which, for instance, is tomorrow with the first climb of this Tour.


Unfortunately, the rain was on the Tour today and with heavy showers, this transition day became actually a very stressful day for the riders as the roads were super slippery.


It usually doesn’t rain much in this part of France and Spain so the roads are pretty dusty. If you add rain to it, they become very slippery and super risky as there were some downhill today.


Lots of wipeouts, and obviously a lot of tension for the leaders because they can’t slow down, they must stick to the pack and be ready for any echappée.


The Astana team showed the most experience and self-control today and they are definitely now my favourites.


I even think that Lance is going to grab the Yellow jersey tomorrow in Andorra. He's got everything he needs to make it happen and Contador is under big pressure here. I just saw him passing by 5 minutes ago and there were hundreds of supporters on him trying to get a shot or an autograph from him. It’s not easy to handle that much stress and it could have some impact tomorrow, I think.


The only big question tomorrow is Cancellara. I know he recently won the Tour of Switzerland recently and that he has lost 5kg but I doubt he can compete with Lance in the mountains.


It’s hard to really make a guess here but if Cancellara can compete with Lance on hilly courses, we are going to have a hell of a Tour de France!


So stay tuned tomorrow for some great action and a potential comeback of Lance with the Yellow Jersey!


How exciting is that?!


Yours in Sport,



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

2,450 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, astana, fabian-cancellara, 2009-tour-de-france

First Transition Day

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 8, 2009

This was our first transition day today on the Tour de France.


After an epic team time trial yesterday, it was obvious that riders would slow down a bit. The time trial yesterday combined with a potential strong wind today forced the teams to adopt a very laid-back approach. No one really planned anything and gave much energy for the win. We got lucky enough that the wind didn’t blow too much because this could have impacted the race as the wind could have perturbed the race’s rankings.


Tomorrow will be another transition day, I think, until Friday with the first climb of this year’s Tour. Until then, don’t expect much to happen.


I was once again glad to see that Lance did a very smart race, managing his efforts, keeping the pressure on the competition and making sure the race was under control.


I would also like to take this opportunity to underline the quality of Lance’s teammates' work. They are doing great work at protecting him and I’m starting to wonder about Contador’s take. We will see when the course will get hilly. This is where we will know if Lance is going for it or supporting Contador.


Finally, Cavendish won the peloton sprint once again and is definitely the ultimate sprinter. He is unbeatable today and I can’t see someone who could threaten him. Sprints are under control as well unfortunately…


I hope you enjoyed the race like I did and stay tuned for more fun in the upcoming days!


Yours in Sport,



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

2,340 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, mark-cavendish, 2009-tour-de-france

Thank You, Mr. Armstrong

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 7, 2009

For only a few milliseconds Lance Armstrong will not wear the yellow jersey tomorrow!


There are no words to describe what Lance did today and what he is doing for the sport of cycling and for France.


We haven’t had such an exciting Tour de France to watch in years. I would be surprised to hear someone saying that he knows what is going to happen this year and who is going to wear the yellow jersey in Paris.


I haven’t seen so much crowd on the Tour in a decade and the TV audience is also very high compared to the previous years.


No doubt that this is for Lance and we must thank Mr. Armstrong because he is giving so much back to the Tour by just being himself.


The guy is more accessible than before and you can feel that he is super relaxed. This is one of the greatest champions of all time for those who had a doubt.


Thank you, Mr. Armstrong, for what you do for cycling! We need you!


Yours in Sport,



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

9,602 Views 10 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, 2009-tour-de-france

And They Have Headsets...

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 6, 2009

What a nice stage to watch today! You didn’t need to watch it from the beginning as nothing happened during the first 150k and to be honest, I was a little worried that some riders would fall asleep on their bikes as the pace was so slow and the race itself quite soporific.


But we got lucky enough that the race radically changed in one single turn. One turn that changed the whole race and maybe the entire first week of this Tour de France!


In one single turn, a group leaded by the Columbia team left the peloton and created an echappée that would hang on till the end of the race.


All of a sudden, the Columbia team, the yellow jersey Cancellara and the inevitable Lance Armstrong were leaving guys like Schleck, Sastre and Contador in the peloton!


And what is crazy is that these three guys didn’t even try to make it back with Lance and Cancellara. They just stuck in the peloton even if the echappée was not going fast at all. What were they thinking?


Even worse, their teammates didn’t make the effort to make it back with the echappée! Honestly, I still wonder how did this happen.


Honestly, you have the yellow jersey leaving the pack supported by his whole team, you have Lance and four other Astana guys and what do they do? They just look at them. Come on!!!


They have team managers, they have the experience, they are trained, they have a strategy, they know who to watch after and they have headsets linking them with the team manager who is supposed to know what is going on!


I’m seriously laughing at these team managers who have been in cycling for 20 years and can’t even see what was obvious! This is just not acceptable from a sports standpoint. You can’t let Lance and Cancellara leave like that, you have to be stupid or you just don’t care.


So here we are now with Lance just 40 seconds away from the yellow jersey and a team time trial just around the corner. I’m telling you now: Lance is going to wear the yellow jersey again and who knows what can happen after.


In the end, we now have a very exciting Tour de France to watch and I’m super happy for Lance.


The pressure is definitely on his shoulders but we know the man and we know that it will actually boost him…if he needs any boost now!


Lance is going to wear the yellow jersey, attract all the attention on him and during this time, the real favourite, Contador, can rest, manage his physical condition and strike hard in the mountain stages where he is supposed to win the Tour.


You know what? It reminds me a Tour de France with Greg Lemond when a young French guy of his team took the yellow jersey for a couple days.


That French guy was being asked to give everything he had to help Greg win the Tour. He did his best and, at some point, his team manager came over and told him to step back and help Greg endorse the yellow jersey…that’s what the French guy did and a couple days later, Greg won his Tour de France as forecast!


That French man was actually me…and what Lance is doing today reminds me a bit of that and I can tell you that he is having a very good time out there. Let’s see how long he can keep the momentum for!


I hope you enjoyed the race and that you are as excited as me for tomorrow!


Yours in sport,



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

948 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, carlos-sastre, fabian-cancellara, andy-schleck, frank-schleck, 2009-tour-de-france

We almost lost the whole sprinters pack today. That was close!


With a wipeout of one of the Euskatel guys, we could have lost all the top sprinters but we got lucky enough that there wasn’t any crowd or barrier where the accident happened.


Except for the accident, it was a quiet stage today and it all ended up in the final sprint totally dominated by Cavendish who showed the world what a sprinter he is…and what a great team he's got. It’s important to highlight that because you can’t win a sprint without the help of your teammates and his team really did a great job for him today.


Cancellara will keep his yellow jersey one more day as forecast but I would like to attract your attention on tomorrow’s stage.


Tomorrow’s stage could be seen like today’s one: a true classic with an echappée caught up a few kilometres away from the finish line to end up in a final sprint. But, if you look at the calendar, with the Team Time Trial just around the corner, tomorrow is actually going to be an interesting stage to watch.


We could all think that people will rest up but we all know that Saxo Bank is going to slow down or at least will not go in any echappée tomorrow just to be sure that they are in the best conditions for the Team Time Trial. It will be very interesting to see how they handle this stage strategically speaking. I would ask my riders to slow down a bit and let an echappée go for it unless Astana is involved.


You know that the Team Time Trial is a super important stage and this is a first great occasion to make a difference in the rankings.


Everybody knows that so I wouldn’t be surprised that tomorrow’s echappée could go to the finish line as most teams will be "resting" to be on top of their games for the Time Trial.


It was a very warm day on the Tour de France and all the riders are already at the hotel resting for tomorrow’s race. Tomorrow should be an "open" stage!


It was a good first stage and the crowd was here to support the riders. The Tour de France is on and I didn’t realize I was missing it so much.


Yours in Sport,



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

1,748 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, astana, mark-cavendish, 2009-tour-de-france, saxo-bank, euskatel

In preparation for the 2009 Tour de France, Team Garmin-Slipstream set up camp in Girona, Spain. Meet the riders in argyle and follow them around their new home base.


723 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: will-frischkorn, 2009-tour-de-france, garmin-slipstream, david-zabriskie, tom-danielson, girona, clif, christian-vande-velde, bradley-wiggins, david-millar

Lots of crowd today for the first day of this 2009 Tour de France and what a nice prologue!


I didn’t talk much about the prologue course yesterday as I wanted to see the riders performing it to make sure that I had the right feeling about the course. Today’s performances just confirmed my thoughts. This was a very tough prologue with two important parts: the beginning with a long climb where heavy riders were penalized, and a very technical downhill at the end that cost some folks a lot of seconds on the finish line. I hope you also noticed how often the riders had to adjust their speed and brackets. It showed once again how technical it was and how painful it must have been!


For all these reasons, we have to celebrate today a great Cancellara. His ride was just great. He didn’t suffer much in the first technical part with that long uphill, and then he simply smashed away any competition in the downhill towards the finish line. For proof: he even passed Menchov one kilometre before the finish line.


Just for the records, I think that Menchov’s car and Menchov himself helped Cancellara in the downhill and for the finish…well done Mr. Cancellara!


As I told you yesterday, Menchov paid today for his strong Giro and it was no surprise to me to see him underperforming. It’s no surprise as well to see all the favourites doing well today. Evans, Sastre or even Leipheimer gave a good shot at it and didn’t lose much time.


Regarding Lance: I think he did great with a 10th position. Given the fact that he didn’t have the chance to do much time trialing before Monaco, I think this is the best start he could have taken on this Tour. He is right on track so keep an eye on him.


You should also keep an eye on the Liquigas and Astana teams as they look like the strongest teams on the field today. Look out for lots of strategic moves from these teams; it will be fun to watch!


Tomorrow will be a good day for sprinters and I would go for a win of Cavendish even if there is a little climb right before the final sprint. He could do something great tomorrow and if he is not, guys like Haussle and Bennati will surely be looking for a win as well.


I think that this year will be a super-open race compared to the previous years and this provides me lots of excitement. It was a great kick off, the crowd loved it and I hope that the next 3 weeks will have the same flavour!


Yours in Sport,



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

1,027 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, levi-leipheimer, astana, liquigas, fabian-cancellara, denis-menchov, 2009-tour-de-france

It’s with great pleasure that I will have once again the opportunity to provide you with my feedbacks on the race everyday.


I can’t remember how many Tour de France I have watched (I do remember how many I raced) but what is sure is that it doesn’t matter if you are a pro cyclist, a weekend warrior, or even a former yellow jersey like me, you are always super thrilled when it’s about to start.


This Tour de France looks very exciting with lots of interesting finishes. I have had a good look at the course the other day and I must confess that I would love to do it. Special credit goes to this massive third week with the Alps stages, the Ventoux on Saturday and all its drama before the final run to Paris. I can’t wait!


Because of this “hilly” third week, I think that the winner of this Tour will have to be a climber.


Thing is that even if you do a great third week in the Alps, you get the Ventoux on Saturday and still have one day to go to get to Paris. And I know from my experience that anything can happen in the Ventoux. Climbers will have their shot at it this year for sure. So don’t miss that day, check you calendars, book the whole night and watch this live. It will be one of these great days in the Tour’s history.


So here we are, we have a great course, with a fancy start in Monaco, then, you look at the athletes engaged and you become even more thrilled about this 2009 Tour de France: Contador, Cadel Evans, Sastre, the Schleck brothers, the Astana team and its phenomenon Lance Armstrong! What else could you ask for?


The Tour is already the greatest cycling event on the planet but with Lance’s comeback, you just get it all at once…and this is going to last for 3 weeks! When you think about it, Lance is by far the only superstar cycling has ever had and having him coming back, this is almost too much! Seriously, Lance’s come back is one of the greatest things that has happened to the Tour since he won his titles. Coming back with no ambition than just enjoying the sports, helping his charity Livestrong, it just shows the world what a great man he is.


You may not realize how tough a Tour de France is for your body, but it really is one of the toughest effort you can do in today’s sports. So you have to realize that you can’t just say “Well, I’m back” and expect to have fun or even finish it. It’s not like a golf player who is willing to do a comeback. This is serious work to get back in a shape to feel confident to take the start and it requires even more work to get enough trained to perform well even if your name is Lance Armstrong! This is a former yellow jersey telling you that. I never thought about coming back, just for that one reason. Lance is even fitter than he used to be in 2005 and he has taken back his 2005 position on his bike. The guy is going for it, I’m telling you.


Talking about Lance and because it’s my first post, most of you will be waiting for my favourites (I hope). I won’t make you wait any longer, so here they are: Contador, Evans, Sastre, Armstrong, Andy Schleck and Leipheimer. I don’t think Menchov is a real threat; he will be tired off his great Giro and shouldn’t have enough resources to make it.


If I had to pick one among these athletes, I would go for Andy Schleck because cycling needs some fresh blood I think and Andy looks like a great sportsman with a true cycling heritage. Fingers crossed!


So, regarding tomorrow now, here is my first insight of this year’s Tour. Astana is going to have Lance starting the prologue in first and Contador finishing it. You know that usually, you would launch your best shot at the end but Astana has been in Monaco for several days and so have I. You notice that everyday is very sunny except during the last hour of the afternoon where you can even have some light rains. I think Astana wanted to get Lance going first to make sure he is got he ideal conditions to perform and put the pressure on the other teams.


This prologue is like the Team time trial. This is not just a very nice stage, great for the public and all that, it’s almost the perfect setup to put pressure on your competition. So don’t look at the prologue or the team time trial just like a great day of cycling with athletes riding the nicest bikes in the world, a lot of strategy is taking place during these moments and tomorrow it starts with Lance going first!


Finally, I would just like to write a note about Boonen who has finally been accepted on the Tour this year after two positive controls. Some will say that it’s once again a shame for the sports and I could understand that but I will argue the opposite. I think it’s good for cycling that Boonen got in. We need all the pros on the line tomorrow to make this Tour de France one of the greatest. Boonen made a big mistake during “this party” and I’m sure he has already paid the price for his mistake. It wasn’t doping to perform better and I think Justice should have been clearer and more strict from the beginning. With all these changes, it’s the whole legal process that lost a bit of credibility here I think…but we will have other opportunities to talk about doping in later posts…


I’m looking for a lot of great moments of sports during the three upcoming weeks and am truly happy to be able to share them with you. So feel free to contact me if you have any question as it’s always a pleasure to share my passion of cycling with all of you.


To a great Tour de France!


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

695 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, levi-leipheimer, tom-boonen, astana, cadel-evans, carlos-sastre, andy-schleck, frank-schleck, denis-menchov, 2009-tour-de-france, monaco

The route of the 2009 Tour de France was revealed yesterday in Paris. The 96th Tour will begin in the luxurious principality of Monaco on July 4 and finish in Paris on the 26th. Along the way it will cross into Spain, with stops in Girona and Barcelona, and Switzerland, with stops in Verbier and Martigny. In addition to two individual time trials, there will be a team time trial on Stage 4 in Montpellier.


The race will also feature two long transit days, one by air, the second by high-speed rail. This latter transfer is the result of the penultimate stage ending with a mountain-top finish on the legendary Mont Ventoux. It has been seven years since "the giant of Provence" has been included in the Tour.


For more on the presentation, click here . As far as Lance Armstrong's return to the Tour, Astana manager Johan Bruyneel says he is "50-50".


The Official Press Release from ASO




The kick-off of the 96th edition of the Tour de France was symbolically given through the announcement of the course by Christian Prudhomme, at the Palais des Congrès of Paris, in the presence of Prince Albert II of Monaco, the 'Grand Départ' of the 2009 Tour taking place in the Principality. After the international stature of London in 2007, the heart of cycling's roots at Brest in 2008, the riders will look for their energy and inspiration next July in the prestige of Monaco.


The balance of difficulties, the choice of the climbs and the position in the course of each stage, are part of the elements that directly condition the confrontation between the champions. By deciding to spread the mountain stages on over two weeks, the teams of the Tour guarantee an intense battle to the fans until the penultimate day. From the finish at the Andorran resort of Arcalis, Friday the 11th of July to the fearsome climb up the Mont Ventoux, on the eve of the finish in Paris, the yellow jersey could change shoulders on numerous occasions.


To soften the "bonus to the time-trial specialists", the format of stages competed against the clock was thought over. The total of 55 kilometres covered during individual time-trials will be one of the smallest since the systematic introduction of the solitary effort in 1947. The 2009 Tour will also be marked by the return of the team time-trial absent since the 2005 edition.


A showcase of the French territory, the Tour is also keen to help discover the variety of landscapes throughout the country. This year, the theme of the sea will have a key role with the visits of three great lighthouses of the Mediterranean Sea: Monaco, Marseille and Barcelona. The itinerary designed in a clockwise way, will then lead the pack to the Pyrenees, go upwards towards the centre of France then the Vosges and the Alps before a decisive bend to the Giant of Provence.


Discover the course of the 2009 Tour de France and Christian Prudhomme's commentary at .

1,151 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, lance-armstrong, 2009-tour-de-france, christian-prudhomme, mont-ventoux, team-time-trial
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