Saturday, July 22, 2006

Stage 19 Running Diary!

7:52 AM - We're coming to you live from Casa del Tuffy for Stage 19 of the 2006 Tour de France! We're also completely ripping off the (Boston) Sports Guy's "running diary" bit! So I'm not original...neither are you! Anyway, today's individual time-trial will determine the maillot jaune of this year's Tour, and it should be exciting.

7:54 - Apparently David Zabriskie of CSC has already completed his ride and is the current leader. I guess I didn't realize that he was that far down on the GC to be done already. But he's first in our hearts, isn't he? Zabriskie's tremendously ackward interviews while wearing yellow last year indeared him to a huge new legion of fans, and "DZ" has cemented his demi-god status with his audio blogs; check 'em out.

7:55 - Whoops! New leader! Sebastien Lang of Gerolsteiner set the new best time at 1h11'03".

7:58 - Oh boy...Big Dumb George Hincapie is on the road. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen are commenting that George has had a disappointing Tour: he was to be the team leader, possibly podium, and make his parents and his lisp proud. He's failed on all accounts. Even his dog is embarrased.

8:06 - David Millar of Saunier Duval comes across in 1h11'46". Good time for a guy who not only has been out of pro cycling for two years but is also off of the juice. Wink wink.

8:10 - Speaking of the juice, T-Mobile's Serhiy/Sergei Honchar/Gonchar/Gontchar finishes in 1h07'45" besting the next best time by over three and one-quarter minutes. And Jan Ullrich was the T-Mobile riding who was supposed to be doping?

8:15 - Now the waiting game begins until the top ten begin their rides. I'll put it out there right now...Tuffy's final podium predictions are: 1) Landis, 2) Sastre, and 3) Pereiro.

8:23 - Ooo ooo ooo! Michael Rasmussen of Rabobank is now starting, wearing his polka-dot King of the Mountains kit. Word is that Rasmussen fell off of his time-trial bike in the start house. Four times.

8:30 - Best Young Rider challengers Marcus Fothen of Gerolsteiner and Damiano Cunego of Lampre will start back-to-back in that order. Cunego currently owns the white jersey, but Fothen is expected to put in the better time. Cunego has said that he doesn't plan on doing the Tour the next couple of years, preferring to focus on the lesser-regarded Giro d'Italia of his home country. Way to have your priorities straight, Damiano! Cunego could be his generation's Gilberto Simoni, which is to say "a huge disappointment outside of a few Giros".

8:38 - American Levi Leipheimer of Gerolsteiner starts. Leipheimer's had a disappointing Tour, currently sitting in 13th on the GC 15'01" back, losing four of those minutes to Pereiro in the first individual time-trial. Is Leipheimer America's version of Andreas Kloden, i.e., their annual overblown expectations? I think so.

8:46 - We're told T-Mobile really wants to win the Team Classification. Really, who cares? Quick! Name the last five Team Champions! Let me know when you're ready...

8:48 - T-Mobile's Michael Rogers begins. That means we're down to our last ten riders and our Tour champion is expected to be determined within the next 1h30', probably around the same time you finish with your Team Champions list.

8:54 - Holy crap! Did you know that Phonak's Floyd Landis grew up as a Mennonite in rural Pennsylvania?

8:59 - Denis Menchov of Rabobank starts. Remember last fall when Menchov put in that devastating Vuelta, vanquishing all of his opponents and completely dominating the GC on his way to his first Grand Tour win? What's that you say? Roberto Heras who?

9:03 - We're down to our last five riders. Only the last three are going to matter today, however.

9:06 - Landis is already in the start house, over three minutes before his start time. Apparently Floyd isn't willing to give away another ten seconds in a second start time gaffe this Tour.

9:07 - Hincapie finishes. He lost. That makes him a loser.

9:09 - Landis starts. One thing I won't miss when Tour television coverage is over: Landis' smug little coach, Robbie Ventura.

9:11 - Carlos Sastre of CSC is underway. Sastre is down 0'12" to race leader Oscar Pereiro of Caisse d'Epargne and has 0'18" in hand on Landis.

9:14 - Ok...and Pereiro is underway, sporting a sweeeeeeeet full-on yellow kit. Enjoy it, Oscar: this may be your last day in yellow. Ever. All of the riders have started now.

9:23 - As the television shows Landis' hind-quarters, this is probably a good time to remind you that this is Phonak's last year as title sponsor of Landis' Swiss-based team. Next year British wagering company iShares will take over, reportedly bringing with it new team colors of red with black. Just like CSC. And Caisse d'Epargne. Great.

9:26 - Kloden went past the first checkpoint just 10 seconds slower than Honchar's ridiculous time. If he keeps that up, he could podium. Why is it that Kloden only shows up to race in contract years? I think I just answered my own question.

9:29 - Landis has just set the new best time at the first checkpoint. Liggett just announced that Floyd will win the Tour after only 16km into a 57km time-trial. Knock on wood.

9:33 - Sastre has come through the first checkpoint over a minute slower than Landis, which means Sastre's also lost almost a minute to fourth place Kloden as well. Is CSC Directeur Sportif Bjarne Riis screaming or crying right now?

9:35 - Landis has taken ten of the thirty seconds he needs off of Pereiro at the 16km mark. He has 41km to take back the other twenty.

9:44 - Cunego just crossed the line...and he beats Marcus Fothen! Cunego will hold onto his white jersey as Best Young Rider. I would've lost cash in Vegas on that bet.

9:45 - Landis is just one of a long-line of riders who have left Discovery Channel/U.S. Postal after having a falling-out with Lance Armstrong. Landis, Boonen, Hamilton, Heras, Livingston, Vande Velde, Zabriskie, Vaughters, Andreau, and on and on. I'm sure Lance is a great guy, though.

9:50 - Landis has slowed slightly, going through the second checkpoint at 34km in second position (to Honchar). Liggett has put a little more seriousness back in his voice and has now ventured that Laurent Fignon will retain his yellow jersey. Liggett hasn't been at the top of his game this Tour.

9:53 - Who will be the first to disparage Landis' expected victory: Lance Armstrong or Greg LeMond?

9:56 - Sastre doesn't look like he's having fun anymore. Where's the in-car camera for Riis? We're missing some of the best footage of all-time!

9:57 - Pereiro was 1'23" off of Honchar's time at the 34km mark. That makes Landis the virtual leader of the Tour by 27".

9:58 - It's looking like the final podium will look like this: 1) Landis, 2) Pereiro, 3) Kloden. Kloden is really putting those extra red blood cells to work today!

10:02 - OLN didn't even bother to televise Leipheimer's finish. For good reason: Levi dropped six minutes to Honchar's winning time for the second straight time trial this Tour. At least he's consistent.

10:08 - Commentator Paul "Quick Calculation" Sherwen is in agreement with my latest podium prediction. Trivia time! What is Kloden's hemocrit level today? a) 60%, b) 70%, c) 80%, or d) 147%?

10:13 - Cyril Dessel and Christophe Moreau, both of Ag2r, just completed their epic battle for "Best French Finisher" with Dessel getting the nod. Those French sure are funny.

10:14 - Kloden finishes 0'40" back of Honchar with the second best time today. Let's just say that Kloden is obviously not a Creationist.

10:18 - Landis comes across 1'11" behind Honchar. He's lost the stage, but he's won the Tour, capping an amazing comeback from over eight minutes down just over two days ago. Amazing.

10:24 - Sastre finishes 4'41" behind Honchar and has lost his place on the podium. It's too bad teammate Bobby Julich isn't here to tell him what he did wrong.

10:25 - And Pereiro brings it home 2'39" behind Honchar. Pereiro has lost the yellow jersey, but he's ridden the time trial of his life, finishing with the 4th-best time today.

10:26 - And that's it, folks! Floyd Landis and his mutant right hip will win the 2006 version of the Tour de France! Floyd will sip champagne tomorrow in Paris! The news for the next few weeks will be Landis laying out his timeline for his impending hip surgery, recovery, and rehabilitation. Will Landis be able to return to professional cycling? If so, can he return to his elite level? Stay tuned.

[photo caption] Floyd Landis = Winner. (photo courtesy CarolineYang.Com)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you had to see the team colors coming... note the bikes all year... it still sucks.


Sat Jul 22, 02:12:00 PM 2006

Blogger Super Rookie said...

nice updates.

the giro is huge in italy.

that matters to italian sponsors and fans.

Sat Jul 22, 05:17:00 PM 2006

Blogger Smithers said...

Who will be the first to disparage Landis' expected victory: Lance Armstrong or Greg LeMond?

Smithers will be the first!

Landis has a fat ass.

Sat Jul 22, 07:13:00 PM 2006

Blogger Jim said...

did you notice at the Tour this year, Hincapie was number 3, and the photog in this photo of Landis is number three, meaning that, after being a spectator throughout the Tour able to pick the best angels for photos, Hincapie has moved on to his new profession: Tour Photographer. Way to go George! It's never too late to find your calling!

Sun Jul 23, 01:45:00 PM 2006

Anonymous super rookie said...

this blog sucks.

Tue Jul 25, 01:34:00 PM 2006


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