Wednesday, October 27, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2009 - One Day To Go...

Le Tour de France 2009 – One Day To Go…


Dave Chapman sent me a text, this morning, roughly translated and censored, it read; “56 years-old and I still get excited about Le Tour de France 2009!” That’s why I love him!

As our editor Martin said yesterday, we’re very lucky to have a couple of guest writers — Al Hamilton and Gord Cameron – contributing from Day One of Le Tour; in fact from ‘D minus two,’ as the military men say.

Gord is right there, schmoozing with the stars, soaking up the luxuriously ‘kit-scandal-free’ vibe (fingers crossed!) in Monaco.

Thank you again gentlemen, your first posts have been excellent.

Le Tour de France 2009
Bert is Ed’s favourite for Stage 1.

Realistically, there are a maximum of three riders who can win this Tour; two from Astana, Armstrong and Contador plus Sastre for Cervelo.

Evans can take the Lotto jersey on to the podium again, but he can’t win; Menchov can do the same for Rabobank.

Schleck can be a stage winner for Saxo Bank, but not the GC.

Don’t doubt that Lance can win; he wouldn’t be there if he didn’t think he could — I hate the expression, but Lance doesn’t “do” second places.

He’ll have the numbers on the test rigs and inside his angular skull there won’t be one iota of self doubt — he’s won the damn race seven times, remember!

But Contador is, for my money, the best stage race rider on the planet at the moment.

In a recent interview for the Guardian Sports Monthly magazine, David Millar said that ‘Bert’ is the most impressive rider he’s ever seen and destined to be an all time great.

Personally I don’t relish the in-fighting which must come when two highly motivated, driven, proud men want the same thing at the same time and are on the same team.

For me, one of the beauties of our sport is watching the domestiques and lead out men going about their selfless business.

Having Lance and Bert on the same team must end in tears — unless the Spaniard’s legs can convince Lance’s brain that it’s a lost cause and playing the loyal lieutenant is more media friendly than playing Judas.

But if Lance thinks he can win — he’ll make a grab for those pieces of silver.

But, I must say that I was hugely impressed by Sastre in the Giro; I’d be happy to see Carlos derail the Astana Railways Express.

Le Tour de France 2009
Carlos winning again wouldn’t be such a bad thing. He’d maybe smile this time too. Photo©Martin Williamson

The prologue; sorry, stage one – it’s more than 10 K – is tough and technical. If you can win just one stage — win this one.

Viktor is correct in his assertion that there’s a pattern to the media interest; and the feeding gets no more frenzied than day one.

Cancellara is he specialist, former World and current Olympic champion against the clock, he won his first Tour de France prologue back in 2004, repeating the trick in London a couple of years ago, despite the best efforts of David Millar and Bradley Wiggins.

Talking of the tall pursuiter leads me onto the man who I think will win tomorrow; Wiggins was given carte blanche by Garmin to prepare all winter for just one goal — the prologue of Paris — Nice.

Only one man could beat the double Olympic champion, back in the spring on the opening day of the ‘Race to the Sun’ – Alberto Contador.

He’s my bet for tomorrow.

Whoever wins; thank you for reading, tell your friends about our humble site and we’ll all do our best to give you insights into the race that perhaps the ‘big gun’ sites over look.

“Vive le Tour!” and “goan yursel, Bert!”

Le Tour de France 2009
We’re in Monaco, and there’s only one day to go!

Gordan Cameron

Day two in Monaco, and the excitement is starting to grow, even if some of the residents are trying too hard not to let on that they’re thrilled to have the Tour de France kicking off here.

Mind you, when they have the F1 Grand Prix, a big tennis tournament, the IAAF athletics Grand Prix finals, a major clay court tennis tournament … they can probably afford to be a little blasé about Le Grande Boucle.

Today, the pre-race Friday is about press conferences and riders checking out the TT course for tomorrow. There was a constant stream of motorcycle outriders leading the pros along the manic roads.

Plenty of riders even taking advantage of the anonymity that privilege in such a wealthy city brings them.

Giro d’ Italia champion Denis Menchov rolling past in full kit, on tricked-out Giant TT rig, and nobody batted an eyelid.

Le Tour de France 2009
Zabel, half in team kit at least.

Erik Zabel was still looking in good shape, and not nearly as chunky as Richard Virenque, who seems to be enjoying a more relaxed dietary regime than he did when he was breaking French housewives’ hearts on the climbs.

Le Tour de France 2009
You’ll recognise this from the F1 on the telly.

One of the problems for the press is that in Monaco, it’s really hard to get your car around.

We’d left our vehicle in Nice and were relying on public transport … not, unfortunately, on the million Euros and the rest yachts that are lying around the harbour in Port Hercule, like Christmas toys the kids have got bored with already.

Talking of bored, I have to admit that the Astana press conference wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs.

Bruyneel talked the talk, impressively in three languages, about the importance of team, how Contador is their total number one, and how Lance and Bertie don’t have a communication problem.

Le Tour de France 2009
Bruyneel, fighting on several fronts, with Vinokourov insisting that he gets back into Astana.

Bruyneel reckoned they hadn’t had the chance to communicate because they only raced together for one day all season ….. true, but maybe there are other reasons for that? Just speculating, just stirring the pot.

Anyway, there’s no doubt that even with no sign of Big Tex, the Astana show was the biggest in town today. You could open a dozen Hollywood studios with the amount of kit stacked at the back of the room.

Le Tour de France 2009
In total contrast to Astana and LA, the Cervelo guys seemed genuinely relaxed.

We checked out Cervélo Test Team’s press conference, too … and were spiritually refreshed by team owner Gerard Vroomen’s attitude: there’s more to life than the Tour and if we don’t win, it doesn’t matter.

Le Tour de France 2009
We’re all wondering what shape Carlos is in.

Seems like some sections of the media like this new philosophy as the room was totally packed … way too many people in too small a space. And most of them from Scandinavian press, too, for some reason.

Tomorrow’s the big kick-off, and we’ll get a few answers that eluded us in the press conferences … are Cervélo really that chilled out? Is Alberto really Astana’s number 1?

Au demain, Gord

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 19: Bourgoin-Jallieu > Aubenas, 178km

We left Bourgoin-Jallieu this morning, but first a quick run through some of the teams' performances; Cervélo: their Tour has been a good one, Haussler and Hushovd have won stages and Thor has made himself a whole load of new fans by the way he has ridden in pursuit of green.

Le Tour de France 2009 – The Day After

And now Le Tour de France 2009 is all over; it's Monday morning and we're in a cafe at Montmartre - lucky us, I'm taking care to savour the moment. Even though the coffees are four euros each.

Perfect Storm of Crap: TdF 2010 Stage 2 (mini LBL)

Perfect Storm of Crap! All talk of the Mock aside, holy crap. What a day. Yesterday’s stage was dubbed a mini Liege-Bastogne-Liege as it covered a segment of the same course as that particular race. For those not in the know, LBL is one of the major Spring Classics on the calendar. It’s a tough race with lots of short, sharp hills on very small old roads.

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 2: Monaco > Brignoles, 187km

Mark Cavendish blasted to his first victory of the Tour today at Brignoles, a victory that also places him in the green jersey as the leader of the race's points classification, for the first time in his career.

Le Tour de France 2006 – Day 3: Strasbourg Prologue

Another good sleep, alarm at 06:00 and straight into the shower, shave, jump into shorts and a T-shirt then down to the car and haul the bike out, stick the wheels in, blow the tyres up, run over it with a baby wipe [they work great] and we’re off to the Strasbourg Prologue.

Jérémy Roy – Looking Forward to the Show

Last July, Jérémy Roy (FDJ) was becoming well known to followers of the Tour de France, his attacking style gathering him lots of attention and admiration in this, his fourth participation, despite the big win in the biggest race eluding him thus far. In his ninth year as a Pro, but not a regular winner, Jérémy was one of the heroes of Friday's Stage 12 from Cugneaux to Luz Ardiden, having been in the break of six riders which escaped soon after the start and remained in front most of the day.

At Random

La Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 15; Oviedo – Lagos de Covadonga, 149 km. Przemyslaw Niemiec Impresses

Przemyslaw Niemiec wins today, but it’s just morbid curiosity which compels me to watch Chris Froome (Sky & Monaco/England/South Africa/Kenya) these days – he climbs like a stick insect with Saint Vitus Dance. It upsets me; but distressing or not, it gets him up them hills, albeit in his own mystifying style – off the back, off the front...

Junior Tour of the Kingdom 2019 goes to Finn Fisher-Black

Overhauling a 34 second deficit from Saturday’s savage Lomond Hills Stage One finale, New Zealand rider Finn Fisher-Black in the colours of Netherlands outfit WWV Junioren took Stage Two and the overall win at the Junior Tour of the Kingdom in Kennoway on Sunday.

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 2: Bastia > Ajaccio, 154km. Jan Bakelants by a Second!

Jan Bakelants today, but they couldn't resist it; "Tour de Farce" trumpets the headline in the Sunday Times. I'm not really a Times man, my dad wouldn't have approved. But I wanted to see what David Walsh had to say about Stage One.

Dan Patten’s Blog – Up and Running with the First Win!

So it's been coming and I'm happy to say I have my first win of the 2011 season in Belgium! And oh, what a fine day it was. Everything fell into place and to finish it off with the win was extra special. After a lot of bad luck before and in the earlier part of the season with injuries, crashes and what-not, it's a nice feeling now that things are going my way. Patience has paid off! Dan Patten's Blog.

Fast, Furious and Free: Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 Cycling Road Routes Unvieled

Glasgow 2014 today revealed the routes for the Commonwealth Games Cycling road events that will see elite athletes from across the globe race through the heart of Glasgow and beyond. The excitement of the Games will reach audiences in towns and villages around the city as riders battle against the clock during the Time Trial event on Thursday 31 July, while Glasgow itself becomes the race track on Sunday 3 August with the fastest riders chasing each other through the city’s streets for the action packed Road Race.

The Finale: Stage 20 (bunchie) Very Tardy!

The strangest stage of the whole race from the point of view of the staff is the finale into Paris. Our team base is in northern Spain, and so all non-essential equipment went from Bordeaux back to Spain (rather than go to Spain from Bordeaux via Paris — a 1200km detour). Thus we were truckless (or untrucked?) for the only time in the race. Very Tardy.