Thursday, June 24, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2009 - Stage 21: Montereau-Fault-Yonne > Paris Champs-Élysées,...

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 21: Montereau-Fault-Yonne > Paris Champs-Élysées, 164km

-

Montpellier

Bonjour! The start starts today in Montereau-Fault-Yonne, but we’re not there. Usually I start the VeloVeritas diary for Le Tour de France 2009 in the morning but then have to switch to ‘other work’ mode for most of the day – going back to poor old VV late in the day, as Martin and I fight off le vieux homme Morpheus.

But today, you got me all to yourselves – at least until this afternoon, when le Tour hurtles into Paris; with Astana as winner’s (and winning) equipe at it’s head – as tradition dictates, because right now Martin is driving us from Lyons to Paris, a small matter of 350 miles.

Talking of L’Equipe, some good (or sad, depending on your viewpoint) stuff today:

  • oldest podium place was Raymond Poulidor at 40 years and 3 months – [hey! isn’t that amazing, we could have Lance for three more years!]
  • “Contador wins and puts an end to the politics – a good strategy” says Philippe Brunel, damn right, Phil!
  • Garate 10/10; Brad 4/10 “the Ventoux is just a little too high for him.” Kloden 1/10.
  • Team classement on national teams [3 riders] 1) Spain. 2) USA. 3) France. 4)Germany. 5) Italy. 6) Luxembourg. 7) Russia.
Montereau-Fault-Yonne
Andy pulled Bert and LA up the Ventoux. Photo©Martin Williamson
  • Fastest up the Ventoux, yesterday was Andy (or Awndee as Daniel Mangeas calls him) Schleck in 58:40 for the 21 kilometres. The record? Iban Mayo in the Dauphine 2004 with 55:51.
  • Garate: this was his third Grand Tour stage win – Giro 2006 & Vuelta 2001 plus a stage in the Tour de Suisse 2002 and the Spanish champs in 2005.

Martin was reading me out Armstrong’s ‘tweets’ tonight, he was in Avignon with “McConaughey, and others.

One has to respect the man’s ability, single mindedness and drive but I think that the “McConaughey” reference sums up what I dislike most about the whole Lance-Mania carry-on.

Bicycle road racing is the people’s sport, you don’t have to pay through the nose to watch it; the parcours go past your front door or over that big hill, just down the road.

Eddy Merckx was the greatest ever – I don’t recall bodyguards.

Montereau-Fault-Yonne
Lance’s minders clearing a path for him at the ’09 Tour, and shoving anyone in arm’s reach out the way – which included us. Photo©Martin Williamson

I’ve seen babies thrust into Johan Museeuw’s arms for a photo opportunity and Johan responding with a laugh and the perfect pose.

The sport isn’t about excluding people, minders and Hollywood – it’s about Brittany, Flanders, old ladies cuddling Tom Boonen, Christophe Moreau stopping by the roadside to meet his family, Nico Mattan heading straight for his supporter’s club cafe after he wins Gent-Wevelgem – it’s about real people, real life.

Montereau-Fault-Yonne
Bert handled the extra stress of having to race his teammates superbly well. Photo©Martin Williamson

Meanwhile, Contador keeps it low key, no tweets, no celebrity pals and even though he must hate the sight of the kit he wears, he’s never seen sporting anything else – except yellow, that is.

Ah well, Cav again!

Montereau-Fault-Yonne
Number six for Mark. And Renshaw second – stunning.
Montereau-Fault-Yonne
Tour 09 Stage 21 Map.
Montereau-Fault-Yonne
Tour 09 Stage 21 Profile.

* * *

Al Hamilton’s Le Tour de France 2009

As you might guess the Spanish media is full of Juan Gárate and Alberto Contador.

Front page headline “Gárate se corona en el Mont Ventoux” Gárate is crowned on the Mont Ventoux and lets face it he has saved the Tour for the Rabobank team who after a great Giro d’Italia have done nothing here until now!

Montereau-Fault-Yonne
Garate took the “queen stage” to Mont Ventoux.

Juanma Gárate is no stranger to victory as he was Spanish National Pro Champ and yesterdays Tour stage win goes with his Giro and Vuelta stage successes.

And winning on the Mont Ventoux? “It gave me goose flesh…I can’t explain it in words! It’s the gold badge of my career”.

Alberto Contador: “Corri dos Tours, uno en la bici y otro en el hotel” – I rode two Tours, one on the bike and another in the hotel. This refers to his problems within his Astana team, Armstrong/Bruyneel and their working relationship past and future.

And next year? “After tomorrow I will be talking about my future. Armstrong and I are working on different projects”.

What about the insinuations of Greg Lemond? “I have no problems over doping. I am available 365 days a year and have taken all the necessary controls. I think there has been a change in the mentality of cyclists. A Tour without doping is also a victory”.

Montereau-Fault-Yonne
Bert fought ‘two Tours’ – one on the bike and one with his teammates.

A big “Fiesta” is planned in Alberto’s home town of Pinto. After the finish in Paris where the Mayor of the Madrid Community and the Spanish minister of Sport will be in attendance, Contador will be having a private party in Paris with his girlfriend; Macarena and all the team of Astana, then at 12:30 he is off to Madrid airport and Pinto for a “Grand Fiesta”.

After the Tour the two Astana riders (Contador and Armstrong) have very different schedules. Contador will be going to his celebrations in Pinto and then riding a post-Tour criterium in Holland. Lance Armstrong, on the other hand, is off on his holidays to the Bahamas.

Last word goes to Carlos Sastre: “I just didn’t have any strength in my legs!” the ex-Tour Champion dropped to 17th overall at 26 minutes and 21 seconds behind Alberto Contador.

Hasta Mañana, Al

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 2010, Second Rest Day

'How's it goin' Shane?' we ask Skyman Shane Sutton as we cross the car park in search of Michael Barry for a rest day interview at the Le Tour de France 2010. 'Been better, mate!' he fires back between hard draws on his fag - it's difficult for a man who wears his heart on his sleeve to 'spin.'

Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 11 : Albertville – La Toussuire – Les Sybelles, 140 km.

We're late! Despite us writing our schedule out for the morning, we're heading to the Albertville depart later than we should. I just smile when people tell me about the high old time we'll have in France. By the time we get from the parcours to the hotel, edit the pictures, insert picture holders in the text and get all that sent off, it's well after 9:00 pm when we grab a pizza and one beer.

Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 11; Besançon – Oyonnax, 186 km. Tony Gallopin Encore.

VeloVeritas owes an apology to the Frenchman who rides for that most Belgian of teams, Lotto’s Tony Gallopin; we thought he’d had his ‘day in the sun,’ wearing le maillot jaune on Bastille Day. And if we may digress for a moment; since World war Two the jersey has been worn on Bastille Day by a French rider on 17 occasions, including Anquetil on five, Hinault three times with Bobet and Tommy Voeckler both achieving this feat twice – as well as Monsieur Gallopin, this year.

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 10: Limoges > Issoudun, 194.5km

I didn’t think that Cav could win the Primavera now, after today's display in Limoges, I think that he can do pretty much anything he puts his mind to within the scope of his physical characteristics. He can win the green jersey on the Champs Elysees in Le Tour de France, Paris - Tours and the Worlds too-when the parcours suits him.

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 10: Saint-Gildas-des-Bois > Saint-Malo, 193km. Kittel’s Second Win

It's not often he gets it wrong, but he did today on the stage from Saint-Gildas-des-Bois to Saint Malo. Cav let Steegmans go and decided to go 'in the wheels' with Greipel and Kittel, tangled with Veelers - taking the Dutchman down - and ended up third.

Final Shot (Preview: TDF 2012 St 17)

Today is the stage that I have been looking forward to the most since I had a proper look at the various stage profiles back in early June. It is a genuine belter! The back end of the race includes an Hors Categorie climb immediately followed by a First Categorie climb.