Cycling: 2009 Tour De France Review

So the main event in cycling is over for another year, with Contador reining supreme. This despite Jens Voigt and Saxobank's radical plan to defeat them in the Pyrenees (see interview below, and ignore non-english subtitles).

The Pyrenees in fact were pretty tame, with only Contador's attack on stage 7 proving at all decisive due to long descents between hilltops and finish lines on stages 8 and 9. And there weren't any bears either.

I can now reveal the secret to the Manx Missile (who won 6 stages, including the Champs Elysees finish) . According to wikipedia, many of the roads on the Isle of Man have no speed limit, while they are all paved. As a result, the Isle has become a haven for hoon drivers, with Jeremy Clarkson, Nigel Mansell and James Toseland all moving to the Isle. This explain's Cav's proficiency in tight, bunch sprints as he madly dodged speeding hoons on the roads of his youth. It also explains why he initially took up track cycling. Despite winning 6 stages, Cav failed to win the Sprinter's green jersey which went to the 'God of Thunder' Thor Hushovd. Thor couldn't match Cav's speed on the pure sprints, but he held his own in uphill finishes and critically, broke away from the field and lead alone over the top of 2 mountains to pick up 12 bonus points at intermediate sprints on stage 17. He beat Cav by 10 points.

As the race moved into the alps, the two best climbers were clearly Andy Schleck and Contador, with Frank able to match them when on his good days. Wiggins continued to amaze with his "I can't believe hes not on a cocktail of drugs" performances maintaining his high standing. The top 2 spots were decided from the moment the road tipped upwards. However, the 3rd place was up for grabs until the penultimate stage up Mont Ventoux due to a combination of factors. Firstly Contador's ability, and frankly desire to assasinate his own team members which lead to Kloden getting dropped from the Schlecks and Contador on stage 17 and Armstrong being deliberately left back to watch Wiggins on the same stage. And secondly, Frank Schleck's horrendous (for a GC rider) time trialling ability. This lead to Armstrong just managing to hold onto the 3rd position up Ventoux, despite Andy Schleck sacrificing the possibility of a stage win to try everything humanly possible to get Frank clear of Armstrong. Wiggins just got 4th by 2 seconds after he was dropped by Frank and Armstrong up Ventoux and got lucky to hold on. Contador however, was clearly the best rider in the climbs, and atleast the second best rider on the time trials, finishing 2nd in the prolgoue and 1st in the stage 18 race against the clock, even beating Spartacus. Franco Pellizotti won the KOM, after reassessing his goals during a horrid time in the Pyrenees.

Next year's tour is looking extra spicy, with Lance starting a new team Radioshack (likely to have a lot of his mates), the Schlecks a year older and Contador's team uncertain (any of a weakened Astana, Caise D'Epargne or Fernando Alonso) as well as other contenders (Ivan Basso anyone?). Now, if Contador and Sastre were in the same team that would be great to watch them try to drop each other (Alonso on left, Sastre centre).

But for now, its back to regular sports (Ashes, footy) until the Vuelta (and possibly a couple of classics that SBS might televise). As a footnote, I came about 120th out of 10000 or so in the SBS fantasy TDF competition.

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