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Tour de France

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Last fall when I saw the potential American line-up for Tour de France riders, I decided 2009 would be the year to check off that item on the Life List (Bucket List, whatever you want to call it). I was able to convince a few of my Sunday riding buddies that they should see the Tour in 2009 too, and the planning wheels were set into motion.

 

While I wanted to see a part of the Tour, I also wanted to ride my bike in France. (What cycling fanatic

wouldn’t?) I was not interested in just being a spectator at the Tour and luckily my buddies felt the same. Our preference was to ride one or more of the classic climbs.

 

Julie Gildred at Ride Strong Bike Tours put together a custom design for us. In less than two weeks, I’ll be dropping you notes from France.

 

Here are the trip highlights:

 

Day 1: Arrival day and possible 25-30 mile ride in the afternoon, time permitting.

Day 2: Warm-up on a beautiful local's loop over the Col d'Ornon and La Morte (90 km/ 5,130 feet climbing)

This ride is ideal for the first day starting in the cool shade of the mountains and saving the easier

climb, the Col d’Ornon (14.4km at 3.9% average grade) for last.  The descent drops us back down above Bourg with cross valley views of L’Alpe d’Huez. The first climb Col de la Morte is 14km at 6.5% average.

Day 3: Ride L'Alpe d'Huez (Life List item) and Col de Sarenne (86 km/5,200+ feet climbing). There's a short warm-up ride in the valley below before climbing the 13.8 km, 21 hairpin legend, L’Alpe d’Huez.

Day 4: July 22, Ride Col du Marais and Col de la Croix Fry to the Stage 17 Finish in Grand Bornand (85 km; 4089 feet climbing with options for more). Race fans can spend the morning climbing and descending through the pretty Swiss-like villages to La Grand Bornand for the Stage 20 finish festivities.  Others can continue up the Col de la Columbiere to watch the pro peloton as they ascend the final col of the day.  Any where you are is guaranteed to be a good spot.  This is one of the climbs made famous by Floyd when he made his miraculous 'come back'!

Day 5: Ride the Col de la Forclaz (2,100 feet gain in 10.2 km) in the morning and descend to Lake Annecy to watch the Stage 18 TT around the lake.

Day 6: Ride Stage 20 without the crowds to near Mt. Ventoux (75 km with many options for more).

Day 7: Ride the Col de Notre-Dame des Abeilles and Mt Ventoux before the pros (80-140 km/ 6,000 - 8,000 feet climbing). This is a stage not to be missed.  Strong riders will depart early to ride the stage

and see the finish on Mt. Ventoux.  Slower riders have several 'short-cuts' to get to Bedoin and start the classic ascent of Mt. Ventoux.  Riders can wait at the top and enjoy the party or descend before the pros and watch the action on TV.

 

Those of you that have following my regular blog and Twitter have seen some of the preparation I’ve done for this week of riding.

 

Watching the Tour on TV, it seems surreal that I'll be there in just a few days. I can hardly wait.

406 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: tour_de_france, alpe-d'huez, mt_ventoux, lake_annecy

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.

737 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

 

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.

1,506 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.

 

543 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

 

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.

796 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.

486 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

As the Grand Depart in Monaco draws closer, Team Astana remains a subject of great debate. With the recent struggles just to force their sponsors to pay the bills, Johan Bruyneel and co. have more than enough to distract them from the goal at hand: winning the Tour de France.

 

But being one of (if not the) best stage racing team in the world means having a few options for who can take the yellow jersey. So perhaps the question shouldn't be "Who will lead Astana", but rather "Who will emerge as Astana's leader?"

 

Check out Bruce Hildenbrand's recently updated (for post-Giro results) article,Who Will Lead Astana at the 2009 Tour de France?. Whatever happens between now and July 4, one thing is clear: It will be an exciting ride to the finish in Paris.

958 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, johan-bruyneel, astana, monaco

Stayed tuned to Active.com as we follow the pro peloton through May and June in the lead-up to the 2009 Tour de France. When the Tour starts in Monaco on July 4, we'll also kick off our daily coverage with expert commentary from cycling journalist Bruce Hildenbrand, former pro cyclists Frankie Andreu and Ronan Pensec, Active Expert Gale Bernhardt, plus exclusive sneak-peaks into the Team Garmin-Slipstream bus, and more.

 

And don't forget about our daily emails and trivia contest, where you can win great prizes. Be here May 9 when the 100th Giro d'Italia kicks off.

727 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: tour_de_france, tour-de-france, bruce-hildenbrand, ronan-pensec, gale-bernhardt, frankie-andreu, 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

 

TOUR 2009: THE VENTOUX 24 HOURS BEFORE THE CHAMPS-ELYSÉES

 

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 www.letour.com .

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

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Sunday that Lance Armstrong is rumored to be interested in a possible buyout of ASO, the company that owns the Tour de France.

 

The author, Rupert Guinness, writes:

 

+It may not be unveiled next week, but the word is that Armstrong is involved in a possible buyout of Tour organisers Amaury Sport Organisation from its parent company the Amaury Group.

 

Furthermore, Armstrong may saddle up in the deal with Hein Verbruggen - the former president and now vice-president of cycling's world body, the Union Cycliste Internationale. Some say it may be an Armstrong-UCI deal.+

 

While this is purely rumor right now, so was "Lance Armstrong is coming back" before it actually happened. Who knows?

 

P.S. Credit to EveryMan Triathlete Roman Mica for posting this on his blog yesterday.

1,039 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, lance-armstrong, aso

Ronan Pensec: The Tour of Hope

Posted by ActiveTdF Jul 27, 2008

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

1,690 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, alberto-contador, csc, mark-cavendish, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, carlos-sastre, riccardo-ricco, frank-schleck

Ronan Pensec: Chavanel got it!

Posted by ActiveTdF Jul 25, 2008

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

1,217 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, andy-schleck, frank-schleck, marcus-burghardt

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

2,684 Views 12 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, carlos-sastre

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

2,639 Views 7 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, frank-schleck, alpe-d'huez
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