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63 Posts tagged with the ronan-pensec tag

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.

3,141 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.

 

1,466 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.

2,968 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.

4,548 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

Some Fog on the Rankings

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 21, 2009

Today was very warm and it was a very dynamic and difficult course as I explained to you yesterday. I was expecting some changes in the rankings and there are some! Except for Contador who is still in the lead, there is now some fog on the next 5 to 8 spots.

 

Given what Cadel Evans showed today, I doubt he will make it back to the podium, but besides that, it’s very tough to say who will be going for one of the top-5 spots.

 

Sastre had a tough day but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him coming back later on this week. He has the mental strength to come back and I felt like today was just not his day. So pay attention to him.

 

The big question is Lance. He is still very strong and I’m no longer surprised to see him doing so well after what he has shown so far this year. The only question is how far does he want to go? Because this guy will go wherever he wants!

 

I would also pay attention to Andy Schleck who has done a good stage. He needed some support from his brother and teammates but didn’t quite receive what he needed to make it to the finish line. He is looking good and fresh and I’m thinking he could make it to the podium. Schleck might a bit frustrated by what happened today because Saxo Bank tried to attack in the second part of the stage but it didn’t work out as you have seen. Therefore, I’m thinking that Schleck could attack again tomorrow.

 

Talking about an attack tomorrow, I think the riders will keep it cool until the Col de Rome which is one of the toughest cols of the Tour and this col would actually be the perfect setting for an attack and maybe for Schleck.

 

The thing is that this year each time you expect something to happen, nothing really happens, and it’s when you don’t expect much from a stage that something big happens, like on Sunday, for example. It’s quite funny and makes the Tour de France very interesting in some ways this year.

 

Finally, I would like to express my best recovery wishes to Voigt who suffered a terrible bike crash today. I’d like to give him my support and I hope to see him back on a bike very soon. All the best, Mr. Voigt!

 

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.

4,172 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, alberto-contador, cadel-evans, carlos-sastre, andy-schleck, 2009-tour-de-france, jens-voigt

Keeping the Momentum

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 20, 2009

Today is a strange day for most riders. This is the second rest day...and it can be very special and there are two sides to it.

 

On one side, you have those super-tired riders who will be resting fully to save enough energy for tomorrow's tough race.

 

On the other side, you have those who are still racing for a good ranking. For them, it's all about keeping the momentum and making sure you don't get perturbed by anything. They will go for a short ride to sweat a bit and keep the feeling...

 

It's a tough day on both sides and there is no recipe to take good advantage of it. This is where experience plays a huge role

 

Talking about the rest day, we have to talk about tomorrow as it's also a very special day. We are going to have a short and super dynamic stage with two big climbs. It will be the perfect setting for the stars like Evans, Sastre, Schleck and, of course, Contador! I hope to see a great match up between Schleck and Contador. It's like a new generation taking over the Tour: dynamic, aggressive, talented and hungry for victory! Get ready for some great action 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.

2,332 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, alberto-contador, cadel-evans, carlos-sastre, andy-schleck, 2009-tour-de-france

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.

5,627 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, andy-schleck, 2009-tour-de-france

What A Day!

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 18, 2009

I would like to thank you for your comments yesterday. It’s with great interest that I read your comments and I totally understand your point of view.

 

The only thing that I would add is that I used to race for many years as a pro rider and, even if I retired years ago I will always look at a race from a professional standpoint. There is nothing I can do about it and I was a pro rider because I was looking at a stage as a pro rider. Let me tell you that during this second week, most riders didn’t have fun. Most of them are just waiting...

 

Now, look at today. What a day we have got! You have to recognize that it was a day of sports with tears, deceptions, but also joy and suspense!

 

The big deception will be for the Columbia team that lost BIG today with the yellow jersey that could/should have gone to George Hincapie and the green jersey that will not be for Cavendish in Paris.

 

It must be very tough for Columbia because they had to make a choice today and they decided to support Cavendish’s sprint instead of Hincapie’s run for the yellow jersey.

 

It must have been hard to choose but I think I would have gone for Hincapie as I think he deserved a run with the yellow jersey at least...and in the meantime, Cavendish could lose this stage and still win the green jersey in Paris.

 

So, in the end, we have had a great day of cycling, with lots of attacks and an unexpected finish.

 

This is what sports is all about and I’m a firm believer that you can create a fertile ground to moments like that and I don’t think that the second week had much to do with it.

 

Tomorrow riders will start climbing and I’m very excited about it...and now you know why.

 

Enjoy the 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.

2,644 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, mark-cavendish, team-columbia, george-hincapie, 2009-tour-de-france

We have had an incredible first week, as you know, and a way less exciting second week, as you may have seen.Everybody was hoping that today will be the restart of the Tour but very bad weather conditions got into it and delayed the show...until Sunday now.

 

This stage was supposed to be a strategic stage for riders within 4 to 5 minutes of the yellow jersey but it ended up in a status quo. The only one guy who took advantage of this stage was Pelizotti who simply secured his polka-dot jersey.

 

So the next exciting day will be Sunday and I can’t wait till that evening and see how the ratings will be.

 

I’m actually thinking that we should take this second week out of the Tour. Honestly, it’s pointless and it only incites riders to take “vitamins” to be on top of their games for the third and last week.

 

Honestly when you have a Tour with Astana and Columbia, you don’t need this second week. Astana is ruling the peloton and only working to secure Contador’s win. And on the other side, when it gets flat, Columbia is totally ruling these stages, so it doesn’t leave much room to the other teams...unless you have stages like today...but the weather didn’t see it that way today.

 

Tomorrow will be a classic sprint day for our legend Cavendish, so don’t wake up too early, there won’t be much to watch until the last few minutes. I shouldn’t say so but it’s so true. I only wish I will be totally wrong tomorrow.

 

Stay tuned as the fun is just around the corner,

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.

2,250 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, alberto-contador, astana, mark-cavendish, team-columbia, 2009-tour-de-france, franco-pellizotti

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.

1,967 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, lance-armstrong, alberto-contador, mark-cavendish, team-columbia, 2009-tour-de-france, jan-ulrich

It was another classic day on the Tour de France today and it should be like that until we hit the Alps now.

 

This second week of the Tour always makes wonder why we make it so long as we get to see over and over again the same scenario. It wasn't the case a few years ago but now, when stages are flat, we get an echappée and then a sprint won by Cavendish. I know it hasn't been like that all the time but since Cavendish is ruling the sprints, we can't expect much more from these stages.

 

You guys would think I'm playing the grumpy French guy here but I'm not. We have to recognize that Columbia has a great team for the flat stages and that they are really doing a great job at positioning Cavendish for the sprints. No doubt!

 

I'm just a bit disappointed that riders of other teams don't try more than what they do so far. I would expect to see them attacking a bit more, launching sprints or something about 1K from the finish line, just to destabilize Cavendish for example. If you bring him safely within the last 200m, you are 100 percent sure he is going to win. So, why not trying something else? I still wonder...

 

I feel like there is a tremendous lack of creativity from the riders and team managers. It's a bit of a shame for sports, and the Tour de France in particular, but I also guess that there is more and more money involved and you can't really argue against that.

 

Anyway, it's a great Tour with two great teams: Astana for the hilly stages and the yellow jersey and Columbia for the green jersey and the flat stages.

 

It has been a long time since we had two strong teams on the Tour.

 

Finally, we can announce that, with only three stages for sprinters to go, Cavendish will be in green in Paris.

 

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.

2,472 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, astana, mark-cavendish, team-columbia, 2009-tour-de-france

The Tour is on Strike?

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 14, 2009

After the big announcement of the ICU today regarding the radios, we have had a very weird day on the Tour de France.

 

The ICU has announced that they are looking at ways to forbid the use of the radio during races and that the Colmar stage will have to be run without radios.

 

…so as a protest, we had a very quiet race today but we got lucky enough to see a wonderful sprint from the master, Mr. Cavendish, who, once again, shows the entire world that he is the man to beat and on his way to become a sprint legend!

 

So the race wasn’t very interesting; but the talks before and after were really interesting to listen to. Here is a quick feedback from what I have heard:

 

Most riders would be for the radio…because their team managers (and therefore, employers) have clearly told the ICU that they needed the radios for safety! ICU said the exact same thing as I told you, there wasn’t more accidents before the radio. So it’s not the right call, guys!

 

The problem is that, apparently, the ICU hasn’t consulted anyone before making this announcement and I think that this is what pi$$es off team managers. The riders don’t really care except for the smart ones. Let me explain:

 

Today, every single rider is assisted by radio and what happens is that the team manager tells each of his mates when to attack, what to pace to keep, etc. In the end, we have more “machines” than guys riding stages.

 

This is why we end up with races so stereotyped. We can almost tell today at what specific mile mark the peloton is going to come back on the échappée. It’s a bit sad, isn’t it?

 

So, back to the smart guys: today, they can’t do much or take advantage of their strategic skills. They are only compared in terms of pure athletic performances. Forget the temper, the mood or whatever; they are only on the road to be told what they have to do.

 

If we could get these radios off, I really think we would have much more fun stages to watch, much more suspense, and we would see and enjoy riders’ behaviours.

 

If we can’t get rid of the radio because team managers have too much bargaining power, I would suggest at least that there is only one radio per team. That would be a nice compromise that would surely boost the Tour and all the cycling races.

 

What’s your take on that? How do you feel about all that? I’d like to read from 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.

5,008 Views 14 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, mark-cavendish, 2009-tour-de-france

Tricky Transition Days

Posted by Ronan Pensec Jul 13, 2009

Thank you for your comments yesterday. As it's a rest day and that not much happened today in the backstage, I will try to answer all your questions below.

 

Please feel free to comment them and no worries if some other questions arise...

 

Regarding the Astana potential competitors, I will make it short here. I don’t think there is any competition to be honest. Today, they have for sure 4 guys who can finish in the top 10 and no other team is even close to that. No doubt that Astana will make it this year. Sorry if I ruined the suspense.

 

If there was a coalition between guys like Schleck, Evans or Sastre, maybe we could have someone else in the lead but do you think these guys will cooperate and accept to leave the race to a competitor at the end? There can only be one winner…and it will be one of Astana’s riders.

 

As for the Tourmalet stage, I think the main reason why they left so many miles after the Col du Tourmalet was to make sure that the Tour wasn’t over after the Pyrénées. And I think they made the right call even if it wasn’t an interesting stage. The Tour isn’t a one-day show, you have to entertain the crowds for several weeks!

 

The other reason is that the last week is super hard and we don’t want anyone to fall in the situation where people will start talking about doping before we start the race. I mean, we all know what is going on but it’s not a reason to feed it…won’t you agree?

 

So, it was for sure a boring day but in the end, we have some remaining suspense and that’s all we want. However, I think that the right call would have been to put another climb right after the Tourmalet. There are lots of small hills around it and it’s a shame they didn’t think about that. Another “col” (mountain) wouldn’t have killed the Tour for sure and the stage would have been more exciting to watch I think.

 

As for the Rabo team, I think that honestly, it may not look like they tried but I can tell you that they really tried their best. They were trying to go for it but the Caisse d’Epargne was just stronger.

 

And by the way, I think the Caisse d’Epargne can actually win other stages next week. We have quite a fast course on the second week and we will have classic stages with lots of echappées. So, the Caisse d’Epargne is surely not going for the yellow jersey but they will go for stages wins and I’m sure they will attack and try to win some. They have the talent to do so I think, and they are good at reading echappées…thanks to headsets?

 

I don’t think so…

 

This takes me to your last questions about the use of radios. Today, if you ask the race directors, they will tell you that it’s for safety. That’s their main argument! If you look at statistics, there are not less accidents than before. It’s not a serious argument and my opinion is that without radios, we would have much funnier stages to watch.

 

Riders would just be in each échappées, they will have to try, they will have to feel what is going on in the peloton, who is having a good day and there would be more attacks and so on, that’s for sure…in the end, they would have to PLAY! That’s a sport and when we all started racing in cycling, it was for the fun of it, wasn’t it? Let’s bring back the fun in this peloton and I’m sure the riders will be happy and so will we!

 

Enjoy the show tomorrow and I look forward to reading from you soon. Thanks for the birthday wishes and for posting your questions!

 

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.

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Today was the boring day I was afraid to have, but it did happen.

 

Not much action to look at in the end, it's very sad. It's very sad because you are in the Pyrénées and especially today, you have the Tourmalet.

 

But even a top mountain like this one didn't foster the riders enough to see some action. I'm not blaming them but it takes me back to what we discussed yesterday.

 

Why do we have stages like that? We have to go to the Pyrénées and we know that but; you can't just soften them so much otherwise you don't get fun anymore.

 

Today, I can hear two versions of why we are having some days like today.

 

The first one is because of doping. We are now always expecting to hear about a doping case so the Tour de France race director has setup some stages like that, that are tough, but not supposed to get you into doping. I have some doubts about that but why not...it's a fair try.

 

The second version is to make sure that the Tour de France is not already over. With a strong Contador this year, we all know that he has a 99 percent chance to win the Tour but if you make him win before the end of the first week, you start losing business. I can handle this explanation, it makes a bit of sense but in the end, but I think it's regrettable that we get stages like that at all.

 

We know Contador is going to make it and he had such a strong team that I doubt he will lose the Tour this year.

 

But another question remains? What the hell are the team managers doing? Once again, today was a good opportunity to try something. Do they lack creativity? Is there too much money involved?

 

I mean when you have the Tourmalet in a stage, you have a very nice "tool" to play with. Why aren't they using that?

 

I will be glad to read what your thoughts are about all that and what you would like to see in the future (if things could be changed).

 

Please free to send me all your questions and I will take a couple everyday to answer them.

 

I look forward to reading from you 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.

2,226 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: ronan-pensec, alberto-contador, 2009-tour-de-france, tourmalet

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

 

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.

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