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Tour de France

18 Posts tagged with the lance-armstrong tag

It seems the unwritten rules for top competitors waiting for one another when there is a crash or a mechanical problem are yet again playing a role in the outcome of the race. In a previous post, I wrote about the top contenders not waiting for Lance when he had his huge crash and in today's Stage 15 those "rules" had an influence again.

 

When Andy Schleck Saxo Bank) had a mechanical problem by dropping his chain, Alberto Contador (Astana), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Samuel Sanchez (Euskatel-Euskadi) attacked. Though I did see the end of the race, I haven't seen post-race interviews, but internet news sources say that Schleck is mad as a hornet and looking for revenge. Contador claims innocence, he had no idea that Schleck had a problem...initially. By the time he realized there was a problem, gosh, it was just too late to wait. Ah yes, that is why the group time trialed all the way to the finish.

 

If old sayings hold water, then what goes around comes around. Those attacking when fellow top contenders crash or have a mechanical can expect the same treatment. It will be interesting to see what happens on the next mountain stages and on any crashes or mechanicals for the top contenders.

 

In the same post I mentioned above, I asked if it was really down to only two competiors. At the time, I was hoping Lance Armstrong would go for it and try to mix things up. I thought maybe Levi could pop into the top three. Now I don't think Levi can make the podium unless he is really saving something for the final climbs and the TT. Lance is back some 40 minutes now. There is a chance he could try for a stage win, but it won't be at the expense of helping Levi. I will admit I'd like to see him throw a few punches to mix things up...figureatively speaking of course.

 

Some of the best news of this Tour is there has been zero breaking news on drug issues. I'm hoping this is good news for a clean Tour.

 

So back to those unwritten rules...do you think top riders should wait when another top competitor has a crash or a mechanical? Or do you think it is a good time to attack?

3,941 Views 14 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, andy-schleck

As everyone estimated, Stage 9 was a decisive stage. Andy Schleck delivered attack after attack on Contatdor, but Contador was able to cover each one. Eventually, the two made a deal to work together with the goal of putting time into their nearest competitors.

 

The closest competitor going into Stage 9 was Cadel Evans, wearing the yellow jersey. On the slopes of the Madeleine, Evans looked bad. Really bad.

 

There is no wonder he looked so bad; as after the stage it was revealed he was riding with a broken elbow from a crash in Stage 8. The team decided to downplay the injury.

 

Somewhere along the way, Evans had bitter words with Armstrong. The peloton was criticized for not waiting for Armstrong when he crashed. Which brings up a good question – why didn’t they wait? What are the social rules of order for waiting for a rider that has crashed? I’ve seen stages in the past where riders have crashed on a mountain stage and the main contenders waited for each other so that it could be a race of strength rather than misfortune. Apparently the rules have lots of gray areas.

 

Yes, now Schleck is in yellow and has delivered notice to Contador that it is up to his team to take it away.

 

Is this it? Are the Tour results essentially decided now? Schleck and Contador have been assigned podium positions by many members of the media. They say that the only things to be decided in the next two weeks is the order of spot one and two; and who will fill third place.

 

What do you think – is the GC race finished?

4,942 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, lance-armstrong, contador, schleck

USA Cycling -

 

This year's Tour de France welcomes the most U.S.-based teams and among the most American racers in the 97-year-history of cycling's pinnacle event. Four teams--RadioShack, BMC, Garmin-Transitions and HTC-Columbia--all call the United States home, the highest representation of any one nation at the 2010 Tour de France other than France, which also boasts four teams.

 

At the same time, the interest in racing in the United States has risen year after year. So far in 2010, racing licenses registered through USA Cycling are up 7 percent. This is in addition to a 5.6 percent rise last year and a huge increase during the last decade, with USA Cycling membership growing 56 percent from 42,724 racers in 2002 to 66,800 racers in 2009.

 

This is all good news according to USA Cycling, the organization responsible for building American cyclists into world-class athletes and for elevating the sport of competitive cycling in our nation. This year's Tour de France offers a great platform to discuss America's progress in the sport of cycling and help foster new race fans.

 

"The United States now has some of the best cyclists in the world, determined not only by the number of superstars like Lance (Armstrong), Levi (Leipheimer) and George (Hincapie), but also in the successes of the young, up-and-comers like Tyler Farrar, Tejay Van Garderen and Taylor Phinney," said Jim Miller, vice president of athletics for USA Cycling. "This rise in the number of elite American cyclists who can compete--and win--on an international stage is no coincidence."

 

Miller is referring to the success of USA Cycling's National Development Programs, which were redesigned in 2000 specifically to develop American athletes into internationally competitive cyclists and raise the bar for the sport within the United States. With a typical incubation time for developing a world-class racer at an average of eight years, the results from the start of USA Cycling's development programs are just recently taking hold.

 

Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie were part of the USA Cycling National Team, a precursor to the current development structure, while athletes like David Zabriskie (2000), Danny Pate (2001), Tyler Farrar (2001, 2003-2005) and Brent Bookwalter (2005-2006) built the foundation of their careers while training and racing in Europe as part of USA Cycling's National Development Program for road cycling. Young stars, like Tejay Van Garderen and Taylor Phinney, have been a part of USA Cycling's programs since their early teenage years.

 

"We are proud to witness the impact of USA Cycling's National Development Programs on both individual racers and on the sport as a whole, which benefits greatly from the talent, notoriety and competition that these hard-working, amazing athletes bring to cycling," Miller added. "This year's Tour de France should be among the most exciting yet for sports fans in the United States."

 

Many view cycling's superstars, and the next generation of athletes, as great role models, inspiring mounting American enthusiasm for the sport and a thriving amateur racing circuit. The top six states for USA Cycling membership--including California, Texas, New York, Colorado, Washington and Pennsylvania--combined have nearly 22,000 cyclists with racing licenses. The greatest increase in non-elite racers has been men age 35 or older. USA Cycling hopes the next step will be to encourage more women to join the ranks of competitive cycling as it continues to apply its successful development initiatives across all five disciplines of cycling.

 

About USA Cycling (www.usacycling.org)

 

Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including road, track, mountain bike, BMX and cyclo-cross. As a membership-based organization, USA Cycling comprises 66,500+ licensees; 2,200 clubs and teams; and 34 local associations. The national governing body sanctions 2,650 competitive and non-competitive events throughout the U.S. each year and is responsible for the identification, development, and support of American cyclists.

 

About USA Cycling's National Development Programs

 

One of USA Cycling's dual missions is to achieve sustained success in international cycling competition. To that end, USA Cycling maintains development programs for all disciplines of competitive cycling, including men's and women's U25 and junior road; mountain bike; track (endurance and sprint) and BMX development programs. These programs provide a structured pathway to the top tier of the sport through athlete development that begins with Junior racing series, Regional Development Camps and racing and moves through to international competition. For more about USA Cycling's Athlete Development Programs, visit www.usacycling.org/ndp/.

1,429 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, endurance, lance-armstrong, 2010-tour-de-france

The End

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 27, 2009

We just lived three unbelievable weeks of sport!

 

This year, Le Tour de France was back with his best ingredients: suspense and beautiful battles for each stage and each jersey.

 

In fact, this Tour de France was the confirmation and the consecration for Alberto Contador. We could also discover a young talent, Andy Schleck. Of course, we followed Lance Armstrong's convincing comeback. I think, it is a winner return for him even if he appeared unsatisfied on the podium.

 

These three factors let me think that it’s very good for cycling. I have the feeling that we are at the beginning of a new era. Indeed, there is a transfer of power between the two generations: The "old" one of Evans, Sastre, Hushovd...and the "new" one with Contador, the Schleck brothers, Cavendish, Nibali...

 

I am sure that next year, we will have an even more beautiful fight!

 

See you next year on the roads of Tour de France!

Ronan

 

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.

3,158 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, mark-cavendish, cadel-evans, carlos-sastre, andy-schleck, frank-schleck, 2009-tour-de-france, thor-hushovd, vincenzo-nibali

Two More Stages!

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 24, 2009

Unpredictable stage today, with a high average speed (46km/hour) during 178 km and the last category 2 climb, which mixed things up.

 

The most surprising was, indeed, the motivation of Mark Cavendish in this last climb. The English cyclist kept his head on and won his fifth final sprint after a suspenseful ride to the line.

 

I also think that Cavendish will want to mark this historical competition with a sixth stage victory in Paris and make his name legendary.

 

Lance Armstrong didn't get trapped in the break created during the descent towards Aubenas, contrary to all his rivals for the third place on the podium. He demonstrated today that he is still here thanks to his professionalism.

 

To me, the two first places on the podium seem reserved for Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck.

 

Sentimentally, Armstrong deserves the third place on the podium. In fact, the American brought so much to current cycling and could continue to pull the sport of cycling upward with this new podium.

 

However, the ultimate explanation will take place tomorrow on the slopes of the mythical Ventoux. The Tour de France is waiting for 500,000 spectators on the edge of the road of this last important stage.

 

My feeling today is that we enter again in a period of domination--with Cavendish, who is simply the fastest for the sprints, but also with Contador, who appears above everybody. Andy Shleck could be the only guy to perturb the Spanish champion, but he will have to work hard for that.

 

Tomorrow, see you on top!

Ronan

 

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 Events, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.

 

1,474 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, mark-cavendish, andy-schleck, 2009-tour-de-france

Showtime!

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 23, 2009

It was once again one of those amazing days the Tour de France has to offer.

 

I just love time trials. It's such a beautiful stage, it's such a unique format with the bikes and special outfits. It really motivates you to get out there and give it a try.

 

And what a performance scored by Contador! Guys, this is just completely outstanding! I mean you look at Cancellara's body mass and you look at Contador--anyone would say that you have time trial specialist on one hand and a climber on the other! But Contador doesn't care about that and he is the perfect example that with a skinny body you can do amazing things! He just won over Cancellara and I didn't think this would happen. He is the boss and deserves the yellow jersey in Paris now!

 

Andy Schleck really amazed me today, too. He was also super-fast and it comforts me when I think that he is got it all to win a Tour at some point.

 

But what is even better about today is that we have the Ventoux in two days from now. The French beast is just around the corner and anything can happen there. I'm telling you: anything! The Ventoux was planned to be one of the most exciting stages of the Tour and I'm telling you now it's going to be the day to watch!

 

And don't worry about tomorrow, it will be a transition day. Riders will rest a bit and will save everything they have for Saturday! I just can't wait.

 

Anything can happen and Armstrong finished third today. Anything is possible in this Tour de France and that's definitely why we love it!

 

Enjoy the show!

Ronan

 

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.

2,974 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, fabian-cancellara, andy-schleck, 2009-tour-de-france, mont-ventoux, ventoux

Thank You, Guys!

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 22, 2009

I hope you were in front of your TV today as we have had the best stage of the year by far. What a day! The riders gave so much today. It was a strategic day and we were expecting to see some changes in the rankings after that day. It was money time.

 

My first “thank you” will go to Thor Hushovd for his incredible start with two climbs in first position and the green jersey almost secured for Paris. I got really impressed by how much he put into it. This is what I love to see. He really gave his best and got what he wanted!

 

With the largest audience recorded this year on the Tour de France, the riders had to run the show and my second “thank you” will go to Astana and Saxo Bank. They ran a great mano a mano between Alberto Contador and Andreas Kloden on one end and the Schleck brothers on the other end. What a ride! Everyone was giving his best and the first to go down was finally Kloden but that was a bit expected.

 

The big question was Franck Schleck who showed some fatigue yesterday. Today was another day and he showed the world that he and his brother are the biggest threats to Contador’s run for the yellow jersey. And they attacked right at the end on the last two climbs that were super hard. So it’s one more “thank you” for taking so much risk by attacking in the critical part. In the meantime, it was the only way to make a break...

 

Contador is still in great position to win this Tour and I think he will make it. The only doubt that remains comes from the Schleck brothers. They have one more stage to go to win the Tour. It’s the Ventoux on Saturday. If they go hard and Contador gets some problems (fatigue), then, Andy could win the Tour.

 

What a day! Tomorrow comes the time trial and we will see some great action again. That’s for sure because all the seats, except maybe the yellow jersey, are still wide open for many riders: Lance Armstrong is always around the corner, the Schleck seem to be on top of their game, etc.

 

This promises us a great finish for this Tour. It’s been some time since the Tour was so open like that and I’m very happy about it.

 

Well done guys and thank you for the show!

Ronan

 

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.

4,556 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, astana, andy-schleck, frank-schleck, 2009-tour-de-france, thor-hushovd, saxo-bank, andreas-kloden

I hope you were awake to watch today's stage as it was one of the best days of this week and probably of this year's Tour de France so far. It was intense; there was a lot of suspense and we got a hell of a finish with Contador.

 

So Contador wins today after a massive climb and he can finally wear the yellow jersey on Tuesday. I think he is now on the highway of success and I don't him see him losing the Tour unless something very unexpected happens (ie: crash, injury).

 

We were looking for some action today and got very pleased with the pace set by the peloton. The race went really fast and they were at the foot of Verbier a little earlier than we could have expected. It's funny because we didn't expect to have so much action today. It was really intense and everybody in the crowd were surprised that the riders went so fast.

 

Anyway, right when they started the climb, Contador decided to accelerate and only Andy Schleck was able to follow him for a while. It was impressive to see how fast Contador climbed Verbier today. I think he has definitely put some pressure on the other riders now. And right before the second rest day, it's a very good move. Riders will tend to think about it.

 

We all know that it's hard to be on top of your game when everyone is waiting for you to perform but by doing this nice move today, the pressure has now changed and for those who thought that Contador could fail under pressure, I can tell you now that he must feel much more comfortable than a few days ago.

 

We have also to congratulate Armstrong for his job so far. I wouldn't be surprised that we will see him in the top-five in Paris. When you think about it...what a comeback! What is it going to be next year when he will have had a full year of training and racing? I can't wait.

 

Finally, I would like to draw your attention on Andy Schleck who did an excellent stage, and even if he couldn't keep up with Contador, I keep on thinking that he would be a good runner-up in Paris. He has got the skills to climb and it looks like he is got the mental and freshness for the Alps. Keep an eye on him, I'm sure he will be exciting to watch.

 

Tomorrow is a rest day, but with today's action Tuesday promises a lot of fun!

 

I hope you enjoyed the race and stay tuned for more fun to come!

 

Yours in Sports,

Ronan

 

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.

5,638 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, andy-schleck, 2009-tour-de-france

I would like to thank you for your comments on my post regarding the radio. I can see that this is something that makes people talk…and there are very good reasons why.

 

Back in the days when we didn’t have radios, you had three options to get info on the race:

  • The crowd: it wasn’t the most accurate info you could get but it was very motivating and you are feeling much closer from the fans that the riders probably are today. I loved it and I’m sure that if you talk to any NFL players, they would tell you they love to hear the crowds!

  • The “Ardoisier”: This is that funny guy on his motorcycle who gives you the gap between the echappée and the peloton. When you race, you always look for this guy. Today, they are really useless but tradition stands and we keep them on the course.

  • Third and most safe option: the team manager and one of your teammates who would slow down to the race director’s car, collect the info and orders, and pedal back up in the peloton to tell his mates what to do. It was way less secure but we had much more open racing.

 

So the real question is: Do you enjoy predictable races like we have now? Do you like the fact that we can almost say at what second the peloton will make it back on the echappé and Cavendish will win the sprint?

 

I’m sure you don’t.

 

The reality is that cycling is not a technical sport. It’s an athletic-performance sport. Therefore, the peloton has never been more compact and consistent. There isn’t much difference between riders except for cycling icons like Armstrong, Contador or Cavendish on the sprint.

 

I remember the rivalry between Ulrich and Armstrong a few years ago. Back then, Ulrich was stronger than Armstrong but don’t get me wrong, Armstrong was still winning, wasn’t he? Why? Because he is just a smarter dude! Ulrich couldn’t get in the right echappée or get the right pace without his team manager.

 

Note also that in team sports like you talk about, you have team managers, coaches and players. In cycling, you go straight from team managers to players/riders. You don’t have a coach on the field. So it’s hard to compare sports that are not comparable.

 

Cycling is an old-school sport and it happens that it’s a lot more fun if you play it old school, without radios.

 

The more I think about this, the more I think that the idea of having only one guy in the team with a radio is the best option. The rider and the team get informed if there is any danger...and if the guy holding the radio gets one of his teammates in the echappée...we can’t control the échappée anymore and here comes the fun..

 

I will finish this post with today’s race that didn’t see Cavendish winning, surprisingly. The Columbia team looks very much out of shape and rode very slowly. I don’t know why and we are still trying to figure this out.

 

I guess Cavendish was a bit tired and the team decided not to launch on a sprint he wouldn’t win…just so he can keep his confidence up.

 

But what is funny about today is that the other teams are so stressed by the Columbia team, they are so scared that when Columbia didn’t ride hard, they layered their pace on them just to control Cavendish. It was funny to look at. Columbia is ruling the peloton this week.

 

Tomorrow will be rainy and hilly so I guess we will have an interesting day. I’m just hoping that we won’t get too many crashes. Will radios and team managers be able to prevent a rider from sliding on a slippery road? I doubt it...

 

Enjoy the show,

Ronan

 

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.

1,981 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, mark-cavendish, team-columbia, 2009-tour-de-france, jan-ulrich

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

 

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.

2,243 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

 

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.

2,148 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

 

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.

2,083 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

 

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.

9,349 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

 

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.

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

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

 

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.

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