Well, I just watched the final stage. It is about 4pm on Sunday, I watched the replay of the final stage on the Champs-Elysees on Versus. Oh man do I wish I could ride that.
As an aside, THANK YOU VERSUS for the great coverage again this year.
I got in a sweet 60 mile ride in today myself, from my house to New Glarus in a roundabout circular way on some nasty hills and back. I have to admit I am really starting to arrive with my cycling. The hills don't seem as tough as they used to. On the flats my average speed is much higher than it used to be. I am pretty excited.
But this isn't about me, this is about the pros and this years tour.
Subject number one - Lance.
Well, what to say. Lance himself said that he was in winning shape for this thing, but it was not to be. He still finished in the 20's, not a bad accomplishment for an old man! Such bad luck. Flats, crashes, so many things went so wrong for him - I won't complain about his performance. By the way, do you know what team won the team competition? Thats right, Team RadioShack! They won by 9 minutes over Caisse d'Epargne. I am extremely pleased with that result.
Subject number two - the chain.
In stage 15, Andy Schleck experienced what is called "chainsuck". I don't want to get into a detailed explanation here about chainsuck, but lets just say that there was a malfunction. Biking forums and mechanics have been going nuts over the interweb on the subject. It basically - and I mean basically - cost Andy Schleck the tour.
There are a lot of things in play here. I will first talk about Contador's reaction. To make it short, he wasn't exactly the most sporting about Schleck's misfortune, but there is no rule against it. For those who don't know, Contador was about 50 feet behind Schleck when the mishap happened, and Alberto put on the gas and blew by Andy when the incident occured. Contador did absolutely nothing wrong. There is no rule against it.
In the Tour, in the past, riders have slowed down to help their competitors who may have suffered bad luck, to make the event more sporting.
My take is this - where do you draw the line on this stuff? Nobody slowed down when Lance flatted on the cobbles this year. How long do you stop? These races spread out over several kilometers at times. Another point - it is literally impossible to say when a crash or mishap is caused by the rider or the equipment. Which brings me to another point.
Who is to say that Schleck didn't screw up? Chainsuck can be caused by offsetting your front and rear cogs so your chain is way off angle. Even as an amateur cyclist I know to avoid having the chain on small-small or big-big combinations. I have read a lot about Schleck's problem and a lot of people who know a lot more than me think he plain old screwed up.
In a NASCAR sort of way, isn't the equipment part of the game as well? The chairman of Cervelo said that maybe Schleck's team, Saxobank, perhaps used equipment made by the company that would puke up the most sponsorship money, rather than something of higher quality. In NASCAR people don't stop because someone blows an engine or has some other mechanical difficulty.
This discussion will go on for a long time.
Subject number three - the champion.
He deserved to win. Andy could not shake him on the Tourmalet, and Alberto killed Andy in the last ITT. I don't like him, but he is the champion, and so it goes. Team Astana was WAY better than anyone thought they would be.
Last subject - I think every pro cyclist is on dope in some form or another. The times they put up are inhuman.