July 19, 2013
Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Chinese Proverb
Fool me four times, call me a cynic. I believed in Tyler Hamilton, I bought the whole Basso mother story. I wanted fairness for Floyd. I even allowed myself to bid chapeau to Lance in 2005.
Now we have Chris Froome. After seeing Chris Froome chomping at the bit last year, I could not wait until the Grand Depart for this year’s Tour de France. After watching stage 11, there was something familiar going on. Then stage 15 up to Ventoux. That attack. I’ve seen that somewhere. Where could that have been. Ah yes. This looked too much like the Lance Armstrong recipe. I always knew climbers and time trialists were two totally different breeds. You could be good at both but if you were great at one (Indurain), you could not be great at the other. A 6’1” 158 pound man is the build a time trialist should have. Could he chase down and destroy a 5’5″ 126 pound pure climber who lived at 10,000 feet? I never thought that could be true until I suspended it for Lance. Should I believe my head or my quadrice broken heart?
I know there is a lot of buzz going on and some of it has died down after Froome cracked on L’ Alpe. But I remember someone else cracking after chasing down Marco Pantani.
I wish I knew what to do.
July 8, 2012
I will be watching the ITT tomorrow very closely. If team SKY really thinks they have a Tour winner, they should hold back phenom-in-waiting Chris Fromme. Holding him back serves two purposes. It will save him for later in the race when his support will be needed and it will also take him out of any contention for yellow thus ending any potential controversy before it starts. So, they should hold Fromme back.
While I like Wiggins, I just don’t see him as the Tour winner type. He seems to be good enough without being great. This year, good enough might actually win it. The point is, I think Fromme is going to be great. I felt this way before and during the Vuelta last year. After the Vuelta, I knew it. Fromme is the better long-term bet for SKY. Why not keep him in contention just in case good enough is not good enough?
July 1, 2011
Why Basso? Well, I started with the favorites and started eliminating riders who would not win the tour. That left Basso as the only man standing. I know that is not really a ringing endorsement but that’s all I have this year. Here is my thought process.
Contador. Now that Contador is in, everyone is jumping on the Spaniard’s bandwagon. I’m not so sure. I think those bandwagon jumpers will be saying “Where’s the beef?” three weeks from now. I just don’t think you can win the double (Giro and Tour) in this day and age. The last rider wo did so was Marco Pantani in 1998 and he had a little help. Even with pharmacology, he needed a faltering Jan Ulrich to take the jersey. I’d rather look at more recent examples where riders who fared well at the Giro were spectacularly absent from the Tour. The most recent example is Ivan Basso who, for the first time in his career, is skipping the Giro to focus on the Tour. Why should I argue with him. Bottom line, you can’t have both.
Andy Schleck. Those who are not falling in behind Contador are going with Andy Schleck. I fully understand that and I will put Andy on the top of my list of picks from the heart. My problem is I look at the TTT and the Individual Time Trials and I can’t help but hear the quote from the famous Ty Webb. “You’re not good Andy, you stink.” So Andy will play the role of PouPou again this year.
Levi is losing the race against father time. If he had a couple of years back he could sneak a peek at the podium and maybe even the top step. I’ll say it flat out, I have never been a believer in Cadel. The temperamental Aussie is good at most disciplines but not great at any. I don’t see him even on the podium. Bradley Wiggins is more of a top five finisher, not a real contender.
An unexpected podium visit may come from Rabobank’s Robert Gesink.
So that leaves Basso. He knows how to win and he is finally focused on this race. While not a great time trialist, he is good enough not to lose the Tour in the race of truth which should be enough to win the Tour.
June 24, 2011
Early in my career, I worked at a start-up software business that went public. The process was very interesting. First was the road show. Senior executives travelled all over to potential investors strutting their stuff. They tried to generate interest and get them interested in participating in the public offering. “Bet on me and you’ll win!” was the message. Much like the most recent road races. The Tour de Suisse and the Dauphine were the road shows for riders looking to make a squad like Tom Danielson and for riders with designs on winning like Andy Schleck.
Tom Danielson may have done enough to get Jonathan Vaughters to bet on tommy with one of his 9 Tour de France slots. I’m not sure if Andy’s road show was successful.
After the road show came the quiet period. This was time for the potential investors and investment media to go away and deliberate on what they saw. Companies can’t issue and financial data that could have an effect on analyst’s’ recommendations. We are now in the pre Tour quiet period. Time for the professional and amateur analysts to take what they saw and issue their recommendation.
June 22, 2011
This year’s Tour de Suisse surpassed the Dauphine for competitiveness and stood out as the supreme tune-up for the Tour de France. Here we found out that the Little Prince, Damiano was more of an accidental winner of the Giro back in 2004. Damiano showed he can climb and sprint but can not time trail. This style makes him more of a Classics rider suited for the tough courses like Liege-Bastogne-Liege in the Spring and the Tour of Lombardy in the fall. His downfall in stage races? Time trialing.
In a medium length course, Levi Leipheimer put more than two minutes into Cuenego allowing him to take first place but four seconds.
The only question I have now is who should I pull for in the Tour de France. Dauphine winner Bradley Wiggins and Levi are solid top ten to top five picks but ate not podium worthy. Andy Schleck did not impress me. Does Contador even have hotel reservations? It should be exciting.
June 17, 2011
The Criterium Du Dauphine is a popular tune up for the Tour de France. However, while the roads are the same as in July, the racers are different. The top riders tend to hold back lest they expend valuable energy in June that might be needed in July. Thus is the new science of cycling.
So it was refreshing to see Bradley Wiggins defend his lead in the race. He dug deep into his famed “Suitcase of Courage” to defend his lead over the past few days. The question is was that at the expense of the Tour de France? Did he really have a shot at a podium in Paris? This should be a good backstory starting July 2nd.
July 27, 2010
I remember talking to someone who does Marketing for Major League Baseball. He mentioned that one challenge was to keep people talking baseball during the off season. That is why you see MVP and Cy Young awards as well as other activities in the dead of winter. Get people talking about your sport all year round. Well, I’ll give you 39 reasons we will be talking about cycling long after Mother Nature has our bikes up on rollers or trainers. That is the 39 seconds between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck.
How can you not believe in a higher authority after this year’s tour. That 39 seconds can’t be a random coincidence. It has to be part of someone’s grand plan. That someone has one heck of a sense of humor. Attack, drop chain, replace chain, lose 39 seconds. Have the time trial of your career and lose by….39seconds. If the margin was 38 seconds in Paris then you may have some people griping. Have it be 40 seconds and the other side can say that the Stage 15 decision didn’t matter. But spot on 39 seconds? Both sides have the fuel for a long debate.