Posts Tagged ‘climbers


Alberto Contador Wins Stage 15, Your Girlfriend’s Heart

Tour de France 2009 Stage Fifteen


7.20.09 (VERBIER, SWITZERLAND) – The Office of Alberto Contador Velasco (TOACV) is proud to announce that the world’s strongest cyclist and UCI ProTeam Astana leader, Alberto Contador, has won Stage 15 of the 2009 Tour de France, a demanding mountain top finish in the Swiss ski town of Verbier. Contador is very much excited for his second Tour de France victory, to be celebrated on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday, July 26th, and would like to invite you and a guest to attend (please consider using mass transit, as parking will be limited).

Contador launched a brilliant attack with only 5 km to go and launched away from a group of riders including the Schleck brothers of Saxo Bank and Garmin’s Vande Velde. He quickly distanced himself from the chase group and was pleased to win the stage 43 seconds ahead of his closest competitor. The win has placed Contador firmly in the maillot jaune, and he looks forward to getting it framed at an expensive Swiss frame shop during the Monday rest day.

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A Highly Visual Reference for the Tour de France

colorful pelotonOne of the things that prevents cycling from reaching a broader audience in the US, in my humble opinion, is the fact that it’s tough to keep track of all of the major players, especially in a Grand Tour like the one starting on Saturday. American sports, much like the American ethic in general, are centered around flashes of individual greatness — the quarterback, the running back, the pitcher, the home run bomber — and as such, team-oriented sports like soccer and cycling have no chance in hell of going mainstream, save for some sort of socialist/communist revolution.

The ironic thing is that professional cycling is full of individual heroics, but the fact that it comes in rarer flashes, after hours of riding in a tightly compressed, seemingly anonymous pack, leaves many people bored as hell. A person can only ask “Where’s Lance?” so many times before flipping over to the baseball game for good, where there are only two teams and pronouncable names on the back of each jersey.

In an effort to counter boredom-by-confusion, Bike Scene proudly presents a visual reference of all the teams competing in the 2009 Tour de France, so you can easily follow the teams and know who you’re yelling at.

[the complete list after the jump]

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Valverde Wins 2nd Dauphine Libere, Sets TiVo for Tour

Valverde and Contador, seconds before a passionate kiss

Valverde and Contador, seconds before a passionate kiss

Even though I’ve found myself in a bit of a post-Giro, pre-Tour funk, I pulled it together long enough to listen to Paul Liggett’s smooth baritone over the final stage of the 8-day Dauphine Libere (aired on Versus), a mountainous race run through parts of the French Alps that I have no chance in hell of pronouncing correctly.

After fighting off repeated attacks from Cadel Evans on the final climb of the race, the Col de Saint-Bernard du Touvet (see?), Spanish rider/alleged doper/likely douche Alejandro Valverde won his second straight Dauphine Libere, besting Evans and Alberto Contador, both contenders for the yellow jersey in a few weeks. He joins Lance Armstrong in the record books as the second rider to win the Dauphine Libere two years in row; this is also his sixth win of the season, including the Points and Mountains classifications at the Castilla y Leon (where Armstrong once again managed to steal the headlines).

The bad news is that Valverde likely won’t be able to challenge for the yellow jersey at the Tour, as the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) recently slapped him with a two-year racing ban in Italy for doping, and the Tour de France finds itself in Italy for a mere 60 km during Stage 16 (he has appealed the decision, but there’s no word if it will be resolved before the start of the Tour). The good news is that he’ll have plenty of time to use his Iron Gym (GET BETTER COMMERCIALS, VERSUS) in preparation for the Vuelta in the fall.

[the winner’s interview after the jump]

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Your Belated Giro Update

Giro DItalia 1967

It’s been an exciting start to the Giro d’Italia so far this year, as riders have battled past crashes and over the mountains in search for the always illusive maglia rosa [the pink jersey]. The excitement continued with Stage 7’s thrilling 169 km ride began in the beautiful Sicilian port of Catania before winding around the base of Mt. Etna, an active volcano (in what other sport do athletes compete under the threat of molten rock?).

Franco himself

Franco himself

Although riders tried everything to close the time gap, including drafting off of spare dogs (like the Kas-Kaskol rider shown above), it still wasn’t enough to fend off Crazy Heart himself, Franco Bitossi. Fresh off a win at Tirreno-Adriatico, Bitossi could be a contender to take home the points jersey if he keeps this up.

And so, headed into a decisive Stage 8, a 218 km trek to Cosenza, Michele Dancelli holds the leader’s jersey, although Spain’s Jose Perez-Frances looks poised to strike.  Stay tuned for even more excitement from this year’s Giro d’Ita…

What’s that?

What do you mean this all happened 50 years ago? WHAT?! I just spent two hours researching all of this on Wikipedia! Yes, I’m aware anybody can edit it. What do you mean I should have known this information wasn’t up-to-date? The photos look fine — Italian cameras just have a vintage style about them. Oh, so you don’t believe me but I have to believe you? Real nice.

[Watch the 2009 Giro after the jump.]

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Apparently God is a Local Cycling Fan


Okay, okay — I’m a big enough man to admit when I was wrong, and my pessimistic declaration that Sunday’s Old Capitol Criterium in downtown Iowa City was as good as washed out was flat wrong. The clouds behaved over Southern Iowa (even as Cedar Rapids and Waterloo to the north were getting shit hammered with hail and 2-3 inches of rain), and although it was a little windier than many riders may have liked, Sunday turned out to be a great day of racing. The fairly compact 1-km loop in downtown Iowa City provided spectators plenty of opportunities to see the race from every conceivable angle, and gave you plenty of room to escape the insufferable announcers stationed at the finish line (if you’re reading this, DO NOT PICK OUT RIDERS TO CHEER ON DURING A RACE, EVEN IF THEY’RE YOUR BEST FRIENDS. See also: objective reportage).

A few photos and results after the jump.

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