Come back with your shield or on it

Before going into battle, legend has it that Spartan mothers would send their sons off with this directive. Give it everything, be prepared to die trying. It seems that this year’s participants have taken this Spartan expression to heart.

With the podium wide open, the first stage of the Pyrenees played out like it was the only stage. Vinokourov paid dearly for his effort on Sunday. Cadel Evans rode until he could ride no more and came across the finish line on his shield. Alberto Contador was brilliant. Seeing someone that graceful on a mountain is something to behold.

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4 Responses to Come back with your shield or on it

  1. ed says:

    I know I’m not the first one to remark on this but dad-gum if Contador doesn’t look like Lance when he stands up to climb.

    Question: Will Contador be called upon to pace Levi over the next few days, effectively sacrificing his own GC ambitions if he has any, or will Johan let him ride his own race? And, if that is the case, what happens in Paris when Discovery has two guys, one of which may very well be in yellow at that time?

    The guys were talking yesterday about the team disunity on Astana between Kloden and AV and how Kloden is now the #1 on Astana after yesterday. Could Contador and maybe Johan be having similar thoughts on Discovery? And should Levi be looking over his shoulder?

    Actually Jim, that was like four questions. Sorry.

  2. pelotonjim says:

    Johan said in an interview that he has a special place in his heart for Contador and that he has a free to do what he wants. Then he compared him to Lance. You will not see Contador helping Levi anytime soon. Possibly the other way around? ;)

  3. Ed says:

    So in the absence of somebody on the team who is the undisputed dominant rider like Lance, is the presumed team #1 title (which Levi currently holds) kind of iffy if another rider winds up being stronger? Or is it that, if you are #1 you cannot be dethroned unless you bonk(like AV on Sunday) or get injured? What is the unwritten team rule about that?

    This whole Contador/Leipheimer thing has become the story of the Tour for me. I guess it’s a nice problem for Johan to have but then again, it could fracture the team and hurt both riders in the long term.

    Jim, if you’re Johan, do you tell Levi that it’s Alberto’s race to lose, do you tell Alberto he’s got to help Levi if it becomes absolutely necessary, or do you tell them both…”guys, may the best man win.”?

  4. pelotonjim says:

    Right now, I would say that the team should support both riders and neither Levi noe Alberto need to worry about anyone but them self. This would be different if Levi had a better TT. Alberto may still falter in the final TT and Levi may pull out a TT like his Tour of California performance.

    I don’t like it but the way Contador moved up the GC was through normal team tactics not throwing his leader under the bus.

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