Voeckler in Bagneres-de-Luchon; you have to admire him, he’s a racer. Whatever happens, it’s been a good Le Tour de France 2010 for Bbox, Charteau in polka dots for a good stretch and now Tommy takes a big one. Going down to Pro Continental doesn’t seem to have affected them one bit – and it’s saved them a fortune.
It was a tad mad up on the Port de Bales today but great to be there – Monday afternoon, high in the Pyrenees under a clear blue sky with the world’s best cyclists just inches away.
There’s no digital signal up there in the montagnes so we didn’t really know what was going on until the riders were upon us.
From what we understand, Schleck’s chain came off whilst Bert was having a dig.
Some say that this was unsporting but others that Bert was unaware of the incident.
Even if he was aware, this is where I get puzzled; Cancellara bullied everyone into waiting on the Spa stage and if it wasn’t for that then it would be a very different GC; Andy should remember that, be thankful for it, keep his mouth shut and get on with the race.
It strikes me that explanations for race situations depend on who’s doing the ‘spinning’ and needs the argument to suit them most.
When Lance’s boys drove hard across that tidal causeway a few years back and there was an almighty crash behind, that was ‘savvy’ (or some such word) riding.
But when Contador pushes a move home, he’s ‘unsporting’ – apart from anything else, with the current groupset technology a derailed chain is unforgivable. [It seems that Andy was in the wee ring and in a small sprocket – not the wisest of chain lines and tension to deploy when attacking full gas out the saddle, when his chain whipped and got caught in his crank arm : – Editor.]
It would seem that many believe that in bike racing in the current era, a truce has to be declared for every ‘mechanical’.
To me, that’s preposterous, punctures, crashes and equipment failing are part of the game – just the way the mop flops.
Which leads us to a team where every opportunity is grasped to minimise negative variables – Sky.
Their first man up the climb today was Lövkvist, but well down – and yet another bad day for Bradley with the rest of the team scattered all over the Pyrenees.
Over the winter they should quietly drop the ‘marginal gains’ thing and look carefully at this season – learn from their mistakes and remember that guys like Chavanel, Riblon and Voeckler win because they want to the most.
Not because their team has the best bus or the slippiest TT bilkes.
OK, I’m calm now.
If you keep abreast of our stuff you’ll have read that Garmin soigneur (and VeloVeritas blogger) Toby Watson saved us one hell of a walk down the mountain, today.
Many thanks, Toby – we’ll try and get you that beer on the rest day!
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