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Tour de France

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

3,619 Views 6 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, cadel-evans, frank-schleck, denis-menchov

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

1,133 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, mark-cavendish, 2008-tour-de-france, oscar-freire, barloworld

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Ronan Pensec: Why?

Posted by ActiveTdF Jul 17, 2008

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Tour will be back tomorrow, so stay tuned!

 

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

 

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

2,780 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour_de_france, tour-de-france, ronan_pensec, ronan-pensec, pro-tour, uci, 2008-tour-de-france, protour

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

1,358 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: tour_de_france, tour-de-france, ronan_pensec, ronan-pensec, mark-cavendish, 2008-tour-de-france, agritubel, christophe-moreau

I hope you enjoyed the show as much as we did here, as it was maybe the most exciting stage of the Tour so far. We were all expecting a pretty dynamic stage and I'm glad we had it. It wasn't the best stage ever, but it feeds my feeling that the Tour is showing a new face this year.

 

The only big surprise of the day has been Damiano Cunego, who I was expecting to be a bit stronger. I presume he will be performing in the Pyrénées in a few days, but I was hoping to see him launch some attack to put the pressure on his rivals.

 

Given what we have seen today, and even if it was a pretty light stage, I think we should pay attention to Riccardo Ricco, who could be a real outsider in the Pyrénées and the Alps. He has the skills and he seems to be in shape to launch several attacks in these stages. If he does so, he will be for sure forcing the other teams to race faster. This way he could surely have a real impact on the Tour. It's only a feeling, but it's worth paying attention on him.

 

As for the Tour itself, all signals are positive--we are recording a great audience in France and we now have tons of people along the roads, which wasn't the case last year. There is a real feeling of freshness on this Tour and I would bet that most of the riders have finally understood that it's in their best interest to stay clean. I hope the next two weeks will confirm that there is some sort of change on this Tour.

 

With a great new generation coming and this potential change in the rider's approach, we can have a great Tour.

 

Tomorrow's stage shouldn't have a huge impact on the ranking unless someone strikes early in the passes. The only thing that is sure is that tomorrow is for the dots jersey contenders. This is the first important stage for them. Get ready for some action!

 

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.

731 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour_de_france, tour-de-france, ronan_pensec, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, riccardo-ricco, damiano-cunego

...Mark Cavendish! Ladies and gentleman, while we were all waiting for the hot shots it was a rookie who showed up from nowhere to win this stage. Mark has an undeniable talent, and he might be a bit young today, but he will surely become one of the greatest sprinters of this sport.

 

Keep an eye on him; it will be interesting to see his progression. Don't expect too much out of him too soon, as it's always very hard to confirm a good result--even more so in today's cycling world.

 

It's the fifth stage and we have already had three yellow jerseys. Isn't this great? I just love cycling when it's like that. Look at yesterday's time trial: everybody was betting on Cancellara (including me) and we were all wrong. He didn't perform as expected. Why? Because he is human! Even Tiger Woods can miss par sometimes.

 

This Tour de France really feels fresh. I did my first Tour de France in 1986, and I have seen many things during all these years, but this year I feel something different. I'm not saying it's going to be perfect, but I would love to keep this fresh feeling for two more weeks--if you see what I mean. What if cycling was back in a brand new outfit?

 

If we have two more weeks like this, cycling will be back and we will have to thank A.S.O. for making some important changes to the Tour.

 

I didn't have any initial opinion on the new format of this year's Tour, to be honest. I was waiting to see what would happen more than anything else. Now, I must confess that taking the prologue away and setting up a short time trial is a fantastic idea. With this format, the good climbers are not losing too much time, and this promises some fantastic stages in the Pyrénées and the Alps!

 

And I bet that tomorrow will welcome a new yellow jersey...

 

Enjoy the show and keep on cycling. It's such a wonderful sport!

 

Please do not hesitate to post your comments, as I will be glad to share ideas 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.

1,183 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, mark-cavendish, 2008-tour-de-france, fabian-cancellara

For all of you who are watching the race daily, get ready for some real action tomorrow. This is where and when the Tour will start this year--with the time trial!

 

As you have seen so far, the Tour has not shown much. The first attacks were usually the right ones and no one was really willing to show his real motivation except...for Alejandro Valverde and his win on the first stage.

 

To talk about this stage, some of you may think that it might not have been the best thing to do: Beginning the Tour with a strong win and clearly show that he wants to wear the Yellow jersey in Paris. But if you look closer, you will notice that any win can make the difference, and when a pro lines up on the start line, it's always (yes, always) to give his best and win the race if possible. This is why they are pros and this is why Valverde is one of my favourites.

 

The only thing I have noticed, and I was a little concerned about, is the general behaviour of Valverde's team: Caisse d'Epargne.

 

Did you guys notice how fast they ride...for nothing? Once again, today they did a strong race up front but the outcome was just zero. So I'm worried that the team is not backing up Valverde as he should be, and at some point, if they ride like this everyday, they will get tired and they won't be able to support him when needed. It's a bit strange and I invite you to check their behaviour. It's pretty interesting.

 

...And Romain Feillu is now wearing the Yellow jersey. You all know I'm French, but don't get me wrong; I'm not going to tease you. Romain is a great kid, he has some obvious skills to perform, but he is only in his second professional season and today was his day I guess. But when you ride 200K with only four guys, you loose a lot of energy and with the time trial tomorrow, I'm afraid that Romain will loose the jersey to Fabian Cancellara!

 

Cancellara is my favourite for tomorrow. Even if everybody is going to give his best shot in the time trial, I would bet on both a win on the stage and the yellow jersey at the end of the day for Cancellara. What about Valderde and Evans? They are outstanding cyclists but I think that Cancellera is just stronger on a time trial.

 

I will end up this post by answering a classic question that everybody asks all the time here: "Is the new Tour de France for this year?" Will we have the great event that we all want to see?

 

My answer is NO. We said back in 1999 and the Festina case that we would have a new Tour de France, a much cleaner event and all that. Look at the last ten years...it's been a real drama for the sport. This year's Tour de France can bring cycling back to where it belongs, among one of the best and most exciting sports on earth, or it can take it down for quite some time.

 

This sport only lives thanks to private companies who sponsor our favourite riders. What if tomorrow we have another case? It could be the end of it. We have been lucky enough this year to welcome two U.S. companies on the professional scene with Garmin and Columbia. Let's catch this great opportunity and trust to share more and more days like the ones we will enjoy for the next three weeks!

 

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.

1,098 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france, alejandro-valverde, cadel-evans, fabian-cancellara, caisse-d'epargne

First of all, it is with great pleasure that I will be posting blogs about the Tour de France this year again. As for the race, we all know now, there won’t be any prologue and only 2 TT for this year’s Tour de France and I’m welcoming these changes with great hopes! I hope that with less TT, we will have a much more open Tour and that each single stage will be a real battle with great scenarios everyday.

 

I guess this year’s Tour will be for a sprinter that has also great abilities in the mountains; this is why I’m picking Cadel Evans as my favourite. For those of you who are into betting, you should pick guys like Andy Schlek, Damiano Cunego or even Valverde. Why Cadel? I think he is doing very well right now, he has huge potential and the only that he was missing was a strong team to back him up. With the arrival of Popovych, I think Silence-Lotto has everything in store to boost Cadel for the yellow jersey race this year.

 

But the Tour de France is no easy to win and the most important stages will always be the Alps and Pyrenees stages again. The Tour de France is all about the mountains but I would also count on the TTs which will have a greater impact than before. They should be fantastic to watch as they will be highly strategic because of all the points you can loose or win in them.

 

Talking about strategy, the beginning of this Tour will be much more exciting to watch than the 2007 event, and I’m betting that the first three or four days will be just crazy. Sprinters will give their bests to make a little difference and build their team’s position on the rankings.

 

I don’t know how you feel today but I just can’t wait for this Tour de France to begin. These few days before the Tour, it reminds me of this mixed feeling between excitement and stress and although I may have stopped cycling as a pro in 1997, you know what? To me, when I get this feeling, it’s just like if I was going to be out there as a pro. Pro or amateur, we all have the same excitements and stresses when the event approaches! That’s what we live for, don’t we?

 

I look forward to receiving your comments. Feel free to ask any question you want on the Tour de France. I should be able to help.

--Ronan

 

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.

897 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour_de_france, tour-de-france, ronan_pensec, ronan-pensec, 2008-tour-de-france

Rob Klingensmith: Aftermath

Posted by ActiveTdF Jul 27, 2007

!http://www.active.com/Assets/Cycling/RobKlingensmith.jpg|style=padding:10px;|align=left|src=http://www.active.com/Assets/Cycling/RobKlingensmith.jpg!I left my bike on the front porch of my rented apartment outside of Lourdes and drove into Pau for the start of today’s stage. Admittedly, after learning of Rasmussen’s ejection late last night, I lacked my usual enthusiasm for immersing myself in the Tour. But, I needed a day to rest my legs and buy some souvenirs, and I was a bit curious to see how the ASO would deal with the latest scandal.

 

I arrived in Pau behind the train station, an area that is usually the underbelly of a city. Today, however, it was open industrial space had been transformed into the staging area for the Tour’s caravan. The brightly colored floats and vans were helter-skelter, their drivers smoking and chatting, waiting for their call to action.

 

A few hundred meters away, the official start village was operating in prime time, with no apparent worry of drug tests or scandals. Behind its 8-foot chain-link fence, the VIPs-of-the-day were nibbling on snacks, collecting sponsor freebies and enjoying the stares of those not so lucky to have a yellow credential hanging around their necks.

 

About an hour before the stage start, the space-age team buses lumbered in, followed closely by their garishly branded station wagons bristling with bikes and wheels. As the managers unloaded gear, athletes lazily stepped from the buses and waved to the crowd. Some posed for pictures or granted interviews, as others rode in groups of twos and threes to sign-in for today’s stage.

 

The appearance of the cyclists was a great equalizer, as VIPs and general public alike pushed and shoved and craned their necks to get a glimpse of the stars. Wow, do we cycling fans have short memories...

 

There was some speculation that the entire Team Rabobank had withdrawn in shame, as Team Cofidis had done the day before, but their orange-and-blue-clad cyclists were seen rolling in. My heart skipped a beat when I thought that Team Discovery was absent–-what controversy could have rocked them?–-but it turned out that they had merely parked their bus in a different area.

 

I’ve been to many start villages, but this one seemed flat. Everything looked normal but that bit of zing. With the Alps and Pyrenees behind them, the athletes had to be tired, and all that remained was a time trial to finalize the GC. But I wonder if they were also angry and depressed about their sport being, once again, undermined by scandal.

 

But this was the Tour de France, an event much greater than its athletes or teams. Locals call it a “French thing,” but I think cycling fans worldwide understand the sentiment. So, before returning to my flat for a suddenly inspired afternoon ride, I patiently waited in line for overpriced souvenirs that I’ll wear proudly back home.

 

Do you have a Team Astana jersey in size large?

Rob

 

Rob Klingensmith is an avid recreational cyclist and an executive at Active.com. Rob will provide a unique perspective on what it's like to be inside some of the most decisive stages of the Tour.

1,530 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: tour_de_france, 2007-tour-de-france, tour-de-france, 2007_tour_de_france, rob_klingensmith
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