TDF11 - Stage 12, Cugnaux - Luz-Ardiden 209km

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telsor

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Think Basso will crack Evans in the final week and I'm not writing off Contador yet. I can see Basso winning this if it goes to plan.
Basso certainly looked good.


Looking ahead:

Tonight has a big HC climb, but plenty of time to gather a chase group to hunt down anyone who makes a break. The descent will probably matter more than the climb. I doubt any of the contenders will make a break

Saturday has a bunch of mid-range climbs, then ends on a HC ( Plateau de Beille )...Anyone with any legs will go hard here to make a break, because they following few days will be 'easy'. It should be 'fun' (to watch anyway).

Then 2 transition stages, with a rest day between...No real interest for the GC beyond 'don't get hurt'. The second ends on a cat-2, but that shouldn't be a major issue.

Wednesday they start to hit the Alps with a medium mountain stage...again, this shouldn't have a signfiicant effect on the GC.

So between now and stage 18 on Thursday, there should only be 1 stage that is likely to have a significant effect on the GC. The order should be much as it is now ( Voeckler might still be in the Yellow! ), with only a little bit of shuffling.

Then things get very very nasty.

Stage 18 is an absolute beast...Think last night, but worse. 200km, 3 climbs, but they're ALL HC, with the rise for the first starting only 31km after the start ( and rises 2400M over 70KM ), so practically the entire stage is up or down.

I was tempted to say stage 18 would largely decide the final standings, but Stage 19 is Alpe d'Huez, a cat-1, then 2 massive, legendary, HC climbs, all happening the day after they would have destroyed themselves on Galibier Serre-Chevalier. Only the very strongest will get over this stage in any semblance of order.

The very next day they have the ITT, asking the very direct question of what do they have left. No team tactics, no watching your man and trying to break him, just how fast can your tired legs cover 42.5km. Solo. The better time trialists could make up a minute or two here...If they still have it in them.



The last stage, is traditionally more a procession than a race as far as the GC goes, so unless they're very, very close, it doesn't count for competitive purposes.
 

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Vader

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Hearing chatter that Frank may not be going into italy....
Care to expand on that? Anything like the reasons why Valverde didn't ride the other year, because he couldn't go into Italy?

Surprise me and tell me that the UCI have been caught out covering up doping postives yet again..
 

telsor

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If there is only a few seconds, no one will attack. Whoever has yellow on the final day will win yellow. Regardless of how many seconds are in it.
I agree it's unlikely, and that most, if not all, would adhere to the custom regardless of how close it is, and if they did make a break, I'd hope the peleton would probably work as one to drag them down.

But the cynic in me thinks traditions often fall aside to the demands to professionalism ( or more crassly, glory & money ), and I fear that one day it will happen.
 

Freakie

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Care to expand on that? Anything like the reasons why Valverde didn't ride the other year, because he couldn't go into Italy?

Surprise me and tell me that the UCI have been caught out covering up doping postives yet again..
CONI may not let him in, just like Valverde. Not sure if it's true (I'm leaning towards possibly not as I would have thought it would have been finalised pre-race same as Valverdes case).
 

Vader

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CONI may not let him in, just like Valverde. Not sure if it's true (I'm leaning towards possibly not as I would have thought it would have been finalised pre-race same as Valverdes case).
The issues with Valverde & CONI were well known before the race. What's the story with Frank? I haven't heard of him being caught up in any drug scandals, though I have no doubt that he's on the juice (just like all the other GC contenders).

At least we knew what was going on with Valverde - they were after him because of his links to Operation Puerto.
 

Vader

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Gotta love how the Italian authorities seem 100% dedicated to eliminating drug use from the sport (and to be fair, probably all sport).

The Spainish authorities, on the other hand, seem to turn a blind eye and accept it - at the very least they appear to do little to fight it, unless backed into a very small corner.

This would not be the first time that CONI have intervened to clean up a mess that someone else (Valverde/Spain) didn't want to tackle.

The picture I'm getting is as follows.. Schleck is on record as having made at least one payment to (and had meetings with) Dr Fuentes - the doctor behind the Operation Puerto scandal. However, none of the OP blood bags were ever linked directly to him - so he's never been charged, due to a lack of evidence. Basso, in comparison confessed that some of the blood was his, though the blood did not contain any performance enhancing drugs - he still got suspended.

The Valverde court case may have opened up a can of worms for Schleck. It gave CONI access to the DNA in the OP blood bags. If Schleck rides in Italy, they can take a blood sample - giving them a DNA reference, which they don't currently have. They can then compare this with the unidentified bags, pinging him if any of them turn up a match.
 

Papa Juggs

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Awesome stage. Watched the whole lot.

Tommy hitting the car was big lulz.

That's what happens when Europcar leads the peloton. Well done Leopard Trek for taking control when it counted which kept everybody out of trouble.

Frank had the legs so Andy let him have the 2nd attack. Eventually Frank got free and is now catching up to Cadel.

Sammy Sanchez the best ride of the day. Best strategy was to wait until the Tourmalet descent to make a move. Went over with the Gilbert group and raced off on the final climb.

Jens is a monster but that's why he's a fan favourite. :)

Ruben Perez also a good job helping his team captain win the day.

Hoogerland can retire now if he likes. Doesn't look like he has much left. Embarrassing to go early and have the peloton go straight past him.

Vanendert one to watch.

Big props to Cunego for beating home Contador.

Awesome stage for the first big mountains. :D
 

swuzzlebubble

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Gotta remember the final stage is always very flat - it's near on impossible for a GC contender to get a stack of time on anyone on a flat stage unless crashes happen
That is true however if we are talking say under five seconds I would say game on because it might only take a split in the pack to take it.
 

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swuzzlebubble

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They wouldn't attack.

Trying to create a time split on the final day is stupid.

They can cross the line with the yellow and be happy with finishing the tour.
Refer final stage 2007.
There was a split after about 25 riders at the finish when someone could not hold a wheel which put most of the GC contenders at 5sec.
Could have been decicive if that was all that was in it.
 

mcgarnacle

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my, my, wasnt the wind a blow-in last night? :eek:

If there is only a few seconds, no one will attack. Whoever has yellow on the final day will win yellow. Regardless of how many seconds are in it.
your statement is more an opinion of what will happen, rather than what can. And I agree with you. No way should a pro-cyclist get to the champs-elysees in yellow, but then lose it there on ability. Such a competitor and his team would not have got him into the Maillot Jaune to begin with.

And yes, Basso is the man. He looked like ****ing gold last night. doesnt have the obvious weaknesses of the Shleck bros either. Kept his nose clean, let everyone else do the work throughout the first week, and bang. He was doing it easy, then tells Szmyd, 'andiamo'! The pole was a star last night. But the Schleck's have each other. The other GC contenders themselves may need to combine to launch attacks against the Schecks, or help each other latch on. Trust is the barrier. Unfortunate thing too is guys like Basso and Evans dont have a kick. They're rollers up the mountain. Bertie? Something inside me thinks he's foxing. More accurately perhaps, I'm wishing.

Cunego was a great and pleasant surprise. Showed the promise years ago but really didnt think too much bout his form at TdS. Thought he was a level beneath these guys. Then again. It was like Rd 1 of a title fight and they were just sorting each out. Plateau de Beille could see the first big upper cut before the following flat stage to Montpellier and then the rest day.
 

Wahooti Fandango

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Plenty more mountains to ride yet. Contador looks like he'll be hard done by to make any significant gains. Andy was blowing hard, but his brother looks like he is a real chance to win the Tour. Voeckler spent himself keeping the yellow, won't hold onto it much longer. Evans didn't seem too stressed by that ride.

Great work by Sanchez, chance for the podium
Did you watch the 2004 TdF? I would not be surprised if he held it until the Alps. He becomes the hulk when he is in yellow.
 

Wahooti Fandango

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my, my, wasnt the wind a blow-in last night? :eek:



your statement is more an opinion of what will happen, rather than what can. And I agree with you. No way should a pro-cyclist get to the champs-elysees in yellow, but then lose it there on ability. Such a competitor and his team would not have got him into the Maillot Jaune to begin with.

And yes, Basso is the man. He looked like ****ing gold last night. doesnt have the obvious weaknesses of the Shleck bros either. Kept his nose clean, let everyone else do the work throughout the first week, and bang. He was doing it easy, then tells Szmyd, 'andiamo'! The pole was a star last night. But the Schleck's have each other. The other GC contenders themselves may need to combine to launch attacks against the Schecks, or help each other latch on. Trust is the barrier. Unfortunate thing too is guys like Basso and Evans dont have a kick. They're rollers up the mountain. Bertie? Something inside me thinks he's foxing. More accurately perhaps, I'm wishing.
What are Basso's TT skills like? The effort by Szmyd was suspiciously good.
 

sblack

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What are Basso's TT skills like? The effort by Szmyd was suspiciously good.
Szmyd is a star. Will do those efforts all Tour.

Basso was a better TTist when he was younger.

Recent GTs, have shown he will lose 20-30" to someone like Cadel, but those are over about 25km. The 43km TT in Grenoble, could easily lose 0:45-1:00.
 

mcgarnacle

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I'd say he was probably worse when he was younger but has improved it substantially. particularly once he left Fassa for CSC. Still not as good as Evans though so will need time on him going into Grenoble. Just not as much as what the Schlecks will need. Undulating ITT route with a start and finish elevation of around 200m in Grenoble, to a high point of 600m during the course will suit him more than would a flatter TT.
 

sblack

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Other way around. Basso was surprisingly good when he was younger. When he podiumed in 04, he was Top 10 for the final TT, only losing to guys like Lance, Ullrich...

Won a Giro TT round that time as well.
 

mcgarnacle

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Other way around. Basso was surprisingly good when he was younger. When he podiumed in 04, he was Top 10 for the final TT, only losing to guys like Lance, Ullrich...

Won a Giro TT round that time as well.
he wasnt good very young. improved it. may have tailed off a bit.

i dont think the 6 mins he lost to Tony Martin (5mins to Evans) in the Dauphine should be reflect how he'll go either in this TT either. Same course, yes, but same circumstances, no. Was just recovering from training crash a couple of weeks before hand. He will lose time to Evans no doubt, but I think he'll surprise.
 

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