July 18, 2002

[ spoiler! spoiler! ]: Let's talk about today's stage of the Tour de France. As soon as you've watched it in your timezone. Because it's worth talking about. (more inside)

posted by etagloh to other at 10:08 AM - 14 comments

I realise that plenty of people in the USA won't get to watch today's stage until later today, because of the time difference. But for the rest of us: I am just gobsmacked. I'd been talking about the possible strategy for today's stage, the first in the Pyrenees, and concluded that Lance Armstrong would save himself for a couple of days in, perhaps even as far down the line as the Ventoux, and let the ONCE team ride itself out. Instead, his team cracks the peloton, and he takes the stage (as Liggett put it) by 'only turning a pedal in anger' in the last 100m. Simply astonishing, the strength of the man. And this after plenty doubted his capacity to ride out the mountains. So, is Eddy Merckx right to think that Lance might take yellow by over ten minutes in Paris? (And let's not forget the heroics of Jalabert, whose legs jellied only with 4km to go. I'd have loved to see him take the stage...)

posted by etagloh at 10:12 AM on July 18

an ubelievable turn. How awesome is that man? very awesome.

posted by djacobs at 11:22 AM on July 18

Oh the joy of seeing our man Jalabert leading with 5K to go. If only. . . I wonder what his fans will ask him tonight on his website and how emotional he'll get answering them. It would've been nice to see the Spaniard Roberto Heras win. Armstrong was, as they say, "inabordable;" and could've afford to give up the 20 seconds time bonus and let Heras win if not for that pesky Joseba Beloki. Armstrong executed his plan to perfection, and his team was extremely disciplined in leading the peloton. I have not seen this kind of text-book riding in a race in a while, if ever. Even in the team time trial they stayed true to their text-book formation when other teams ran "full steam ahead." To his credit, Beloki stuck with Heras and Armstrong when the rest of his ONCE team folded like a paper cup under pressure from USPS. The Basque mob at the 2K mark were amazing. Were they there as tourists or as part of some political statement? Is any of the Spaniards riding this year of Basque background? Even with two Spaniards in the top three today, there were hardly any Spanish flags in the crowd. [I guess all the Spanish flags were sent over to Perejil island.]

posted by tamim at 11:36 AM on July 18

Goddamn I love Lance Armstrong. He makes me proud to be an American. He is our countries' most important Texan if you ask me. I love that he learned French and speaks it (quite well it is reported) to the French media. Go Lance! You're an inspiration! BTW...I don't know the first thing about cycling.

posted by vito90 at 12:14 PM on July 18

Armstrong's stage win is cool but not surprising. The press has been trying to make the Tour more exciting by questioning Armstrong's readiness. There's no evidence that Armstrong's riding has waned. There's no reason he should have been leading until today, yet the press has been predicting the end of his reign because he was not wearing the yellow jersey. Pretty absurd.

posted by neuroshred at 12:39 PM on July 18

For us Americans lucky enough to have the tiny (but cool) Outdoor Life Network on their cable systems, and the time flexibility to stay home all morning, Le Tour is LIVE, every day, as it unfolds. I, of course, have both of those things, and watched the whole thing unfold. BTW, in the post-race interviews, Lance said that if it weren't for time bonuses and the presence of Beloki, he was going to give Heras the win -- he even said wors to the effect of "I consider this Roberto's win anyway, he was incredible today." And it is too bad about Jaja not taking it all today, but it was great to see him out there giving it his all. Tomorrow's hillier, longer stage should be even more fun.

posted by ahhgrr at 02:50 PM on July 18

Lance Armstrong eases the pain of the four-cent increase in first class postage.

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:58 PM on July 18

can someone explain time bonuses to me?

posted by djacobs at 04:01 PM on July 18

djacobs: a high place in a stage, or a hot-spot sprint, knocks a certain number of seconds off your total time in the general classification. So, by winning today's stage, Lance 'won' back 20 seconds from the GC. tanim: no, the Basques weren't tourists: today's departure city, Pau, is traditionally considered Basque as well. As for Basque riders: well, you have the Basque Euskaltel Euskadi team, and of course ONCE's Joseba Beloki. (A tip: if the name doesn't sound Spanish, and the rider's described as Spanish, he's probably Basque. Especially if he get up mountains like a goat.) And yes, vito90: Lance represents everything that's good about Texas. Lives in Austin, of course: and my mates who live there say that it's always better to see him in Chuy's than Jenna Bush.

posted by etagloh at 04:16 PM on July 18

I think Lance's wife would rather not see him in Jenna Bush either. ;-)

posted by worldcup2002 at 04:22 PM on July 18

looks like lance is going to lay wood to the field again.

posted by jackhererra at 09:46 AM on July 19

What are those green and checker jerseys for? Who is/was more dominant: Lance Armstrong, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Barry Bonds, Lawrence Taylor or, um, Mo Vaughn?

posted by djacobs at 10:14 AM on July 19

Green = points jersey. It's for the 'most consistent' rider, which normally rewards the sprinters, as you win points for high places in hot-spot sprints and at the end of the stage. Polka dot = king of the mountains. You get points for getting to the top of climbs, based on how steep they are. Normally considered the polar opposite of the green jersey, as grimpeurs are little, wiry things, while sprinters are much bigger physically. A mark of Laurent Jalabert's ability is that he's won both the green and polka-dot jerseys in his career, and worn the yellow jersey during the Tour. And after today's stage, you have to hope he'll get a win somewhere before Paris. And I'd say Tiger, just because golf's a purer individual sport. Lance still hasn't matched the dominance of Indurain (five in a row) and he draws on his team to lay the groundwork for his stage victories. Like all great cyclists. (And yes, today's stage was again astonishing to watch.)

posted by etagloh at 10:33 AM on July 19

So is anyone else in the States resenting that you have to manually refresh this page to keep up with the action on the Champs Elysees?

posted by mattpfeff at 09:47 AM on July 28

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