Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2009 - Stage 16: Martigny > Bourg-Saint-Maurice, 159km

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 16: Martigny > Bourg-Saint-Maurice, 159km



Sitting here in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, perhaps I’m going to revise my opinion that l’Equipe’s Tour coverage isn’t as good as the Gazzetta’s Giro coverage. The Gazzetta looks better, but the L’Equipe goes so deep.

Today, for example, as well as the usual stats, there’s a big analysis of how the stage might pan out, with four options; a table of how Contador has built his lead and – one that Viktor will love – the best and worst descenders.

Ed and Martin decided to take a trip through the Mont Blanc tunnel to get onto the race route in Italy, then drive along race route and stop on the last climb to watch the action. And have a picnic. Photo©Ed Hood

In line with their “in depth” approach, they’ve canvassed a whole host of riders and DS’s.

Hushovd comes out as ‘meilleur descendeur’ with Cancellara and Samuel Sanchez joint second.

But not content with the best, they’ve sussed the ‘moin bons descendeurs’ – and here’s the part that will please Viktor – worst by a mile is David Moncoutie with Frank Schleck second and the disappeared Mauricio Soler in third spot.

Pello rode strongly today. Photo©Ed Hood

Every day, you have to be thinking about doing things just a little differently – today is le pique-nique; we’ve got bread, cheese, salami, water, fruit – all we need now, is a little alcohol!

Well, 11:50 pm and the day is up on the site – no dinner tonight, didn’t have time.

A good day’s racing – the last climb was carnage, riders everywhere; and Brad’s still there, among the Heads.

LA is surprising lots of folk with his powerful riding in the mountains. Photo©Martin Williamson
It looked to us as if Dave was ridden-out, but when we spoke to Ryder tonight he said that it ‘just ended up that way’. Photo©Martin Williamson
Cavendish was comfortable in the autobus. Photo©Martin Williamson
The autobus was driven by Ballan and Pozzato. Photo©Martin Williamson

He has to get through tomorrow – it’s a monster; four firsts and a second cat. then, on Thursday, it’s his “thing,” the time trial – but a time trial in the last week of a three week Tour isn’t the same as a prologue or test in a small stage race.

However, he’s been full of surprises, thus far.

Midnight – time for bed, au demain.

Tour 09 Stage 16 Map.
Tour 09 Stage 16 Map.
Tour 09 Stage 16 Profile.

* * *

Al Hamilton

Contador: “Quiero ganar muchos Tours”.

That was the top of the front page of todays: AS, yeah “Bert” wants to win lots of Tours and looking at his present form and the competition I should think that would be quite possible. He is still thinks of his rivals that “Andy Schleck is very strong and Wiggins is dangerous in the time trial”.

The two climbs today were both monsters.

Inside the sports daily we have; the sunrise of a champion and the Tour following life, all good rest day fare as the race journalists struggle for anything to write!

French sports paper L’Equipe goes for the obvious “Contador is the matador of the Tour”.

In Italy, the Gazzetta dello Sport says; “climbs with an imperious (urgent) rhythm”

The New York Times gives “Contador a 2-0 win over Armstrong in the mountains”.

The Times of London think that Alberto “Is the boss of the Tour”. So nothing new from the worlds hacks.

Carlos can’t complain about us – we bigged him up after his two Giro stage wins!

Talking of journalists, Carlos Sastre is not impressed with the press corps, especially the ones from his home country of Spain. He feels he is not treated as the previous year’s Tour winner, and complains that 99% of the questions they ask him are about the troubles at Astana, mainly to fuel the fires between Contador and Armstrong, not about his Tour or team. He would like to win on Mont Ventoux, the podium is now not his ambition.

José Angel Gomez Marchante is in this Tour to help Carlos Saste in the mountain stages, but he says he will be the leader of the Cervelo team at La Vuelta a España, so we might actually see him in that race as he’s been a bit invisible in the Tour!

Last word to Contador, the new king: “I want to win the maximum of Tours”

El Tour segue vivo.

That’s the offerings from yesterdays rest day. We can only hope there is more to read this week?

Hasta Mañana. Al.

* * *

Postscript – 31/07/09

A Press Release from the UCI today accounced that Stage 16 winner Mikel Astarloza has been provisionally suspended by the UCI for a positive test for EPO in an out-of-competition test, dating from June 26 this year.

He: also finished 11th overall in the Tour, and the decision to suspend Astarloza was made in light of a report from the WADA-accredited laboratory in Madrid that found traces of the drug in a urine sample.

The provisional suspension will remain in place until a hearing panel convened by the Spanish Cycling Federation determines whether Astarloza is guilty. The hearing panel will also make a decision on applicable sanctions, if necessary, and possible disqualification from the Tour de France.

Wonder if second-place Sandy Casar will be promoted to the Stage win?

Ed Hood and Martin Williamson
Ed and Martin, our top team! They try to do the local Time Trials, the Grand Tours and the Classics together to get the great stories written, the quality photos taken, the driving done and the wifi wrestled with.

Related Articles

Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 10: Mulhouse – La Planche des Belles Filles, 161 km. Nibali Wins, Contador Crashes

La Planche des Belles Filles. Epic. There's no other word. In any Saga there are heroes and villains; but the only one of the latter to manifest herself on this day was Lady Luck. Lashing out spitefully at Alberto Contador and casting a second Grand Favourite from the Tour. I can't recall the last time I saw the Spaniard "chuck" a race so knew it was serious.

Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 13; Saint-Étienne – Chamrousse, 200 km. Vincenzo Nibali scores a Third

10 years ago we’d have been knocked out by the riding of Vincenzo Nibali – now we question. It’s not a case of cynicism or love of the ‘D-word’ gossip, it’s just that we were fooled for so long and so comprehensively that if a rider is dominating in the fashion of ‘The Shark’ then one does wonder – it’s impossible not to.

Le Tour de France 2010, Stage 2: Brussels – Spa; Tour Feminine?

Le Tour de France 2010 'Ride to rule,' 'rider protest,' or 'strike' - file all under, 'PR disaster.' Once again it was Viktor with the quote of the day; 'Tour Feminine.' Dave Chapman only needed one word; 'farce!'

Paul Watson – Part of the Legendary 1987 Tour de France Team to 2016 World Champion!

It’s hard to believe it’s 10 years since last I spoke to Paul Watson about a great ride he pulled off in 1987. Paul was British Amateur Road Champion in 1985, the same year as he was third in the Tour of Britain, ‘Milk Race’ behind Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner, Eric Van Lancker of Belgium and the man who should have been a super star but never quite was, Roy Knickman (USA). He rode pro with Van Lancker’s Belgian Fangio team at the end of that year but returned to Britain to ride for Raleigh in 1986.

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 12: Fougères > Tours, 218km. Kittel’s Third Win!

We left Fougères this morning and Martin summed it up best; ‘normally you’d have expected Cav to be all but unbeatable in those circumstances.’ I felt the same, especially with Tony Martin winning the chrono, QuickStep morale being sky high and Cav being desperate to make amends after his brush with Veelers the other day.

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 4: Nice > Nice, 25km TTT. GreenEDGE Edge It!

'GreenEDGE will be on a high' we said of their chances in the TTT – and they exploited it in the best way possible. There’s a lot of luck involved in professional cycling and it was Sky and QuickStep’s turn for that particular lady to desert them, this time around.

At Random

Guy East – The American Pro Crazy About the Six Days

When do the boys at VeloVeritas stop thinking about the Six Days? When we’re sleeping; but sometimes we dream about them... A man who we've had the pleasure to work with and who impressed us with his speed and spirit is America's Guy East – and he’s crazier than us about the Sixes. We thought we’d give him a shout and see how he’s coping with a world of sunshine, no Euro pop, real food and proper toilets.

Alex Coutts – in Asia

Scottish rider, Alex Coutts, who is a regular interviewee on VeloVeritas, has been riding in Asia this season for the Giant Asia Race Team; it's now been five months since his season started in the Tour of Langkawi. As "The Burntisland Buzzard" is training again in Spain for a hard six week period of racing in China, Japan and Korea, we thought it was about time we got an up-date on life competing in the UCI Asia Tour circuit.

Evan Oliphant – a Bit of Everything

Ever-versatile Endura man, Evan Oliphant crammed just about every discipline into last weekend - criterium, Premier one day and a British grass track title. We had a word...

Theo Hartley – Racing for Belgian team Illi Bikes, thanks to the Dave Rayner Fund

The David Rayner has been helping young riders realise their continental dreams since 1995 with David Millar one of the first to benefit, and Theo Hartley from Bolton in Lancs will be one of the grant recipients in 2018. He'll be joining the Belgian Illi Bikes squad, run by long term Six Day soigneur and track aficionado, Etienne Illegems and his son Ken who was for a time a mechanic with Team Sky but could get round a tough kermis on his good days.

Alan Thomson – Scottish 50 Mile TT Champion 2015

VeloVeritas didn't make it to the National '50' but we did pick up the phone and ring the winner, Alan Thomson. We asked if it was a tough shift up there in the North East; "Nuts! The course rolls and there were spells of brutal headwind where I was down to 19 mph then you were back up to 30 mph and sections you thought would be fast were slow. It was a day where you really had to concentrate and think about what you were doing."

Grenoble Six Day 2010, Night One – Politics and Plaudits

There were politics in play before a ball was even kicked; ‘how have you guys got that big cabin, you only have two riders?’ Kris’s response was succinct; ‘Because I’ve been coming here for 30 years and the organisers are friends of mine!’ A Six Day wouldn’t be a Six Day without politics and plaudits.