Time For The Hitters. After a couple of days where I've been off the grid, it's a good day to get back on Tour watching duties! We've seen Cav do what Cav does: win Tour stages. Radioshack appear almost cursed, with Brajkovic out, Horner in doubt and Leipheimer losing a minute after slipping on some paint...
So I thought it was about time I posted another Dan Patton Blog update, I've been rather quiet of late and the reason being quite simply there's not been much to talk about. I've been plagued by misfortune after misfortune this winter which ironically gave me lots more time to update the blog, yet I was short of anything really interesting to say - until now that is...
Rotterdam Six Day 2011 and it wouldn't be a Six without off-the-track dramas - you'll all be familiar by now with the 'Iljo Saga.' Who ever you think is at fault, there's no doubt that the sport's governing body is now doing itself no favours with the way it's handling this situation. They tell the Rotterdam organiser that Keisse shouldn't start, but when Frank Boelé says; 'and you'll pick up the tab for the 50,000 Euros/day fine if Keisse's judgement sticks because I'm denying him the right to ride?'
It must be the end of term at Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007; "Mr. Happy", stoney-faced derny pilot and former king of the big motor drivers, Bruno Walrave was actually laughing at breakfast - hey! It's pay day today too - always good for morale.
Allergic to Stairs. I can remember watching the Tour in the years before being a part of the race. I was always completely gutted that just when things got interesting and they’d had a few mountain stages, there would be a rest day.
Kazakh rider Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) could barely raise an arm in victory at the Montepaschi Strade Bianche, after a crash earlier in the day, and five hours of hard racing over the Tuscan dirt roads. Thomas Löfkvist (Team Sky) attacked the remains of the front group of 11 men as they got to within 6km of Siena, knowing that a good placing in the final few corners were vital if he was going to repeat his win of last year.
"It's cycling Jim, but not as we know it!" The presentation of the Tour de France route is something we used to read about in the mags and not really think twice about. We'd see the route in the Comic and have a blether about it, but maybe not think too much about it until Tour time.
The Vuelta starts in a few day's time and so in this week's 'VV Selects' we look back at our last day covering the race nine years ago, when the stage began in Gijón. We conducted the now-popular 'chat at the team buses' to hear some thoughts from DS's Gert-Jan Theunisse, Dimitri Konyshev, Hendrik Redant and Rik Van Slycke, and various riders such as on-form Carlos Barredo, Greg Van Avermaet and the late Wouter Weylandt.
One more time over some incredible hills. One more chance for the Schlecks to take seconds away from Cadel. One more opportunity for them to sap the power from his legs to minimize the damage he does to them in tomorrow's TT. 100km, three categorized climbs, 2851m vertical ascent. This stage is not as huge as last night's, but being so short and sharp, there is still enormous potential for damage to be done.