Ride the Puddles

Tour de France 2010: Stage 9: Fall of Cadel

Posted by bikezilla on July 13, 2010

Cadel Evans rode most of Stage 8, when he won the Yellow (leader’s) Jersey, and all of Stage 9, when he lost it, with a broken elbow. We didn’t know. His teammates didn’t know. Just Cadel and team management.

After blowing the stage today he seemed to break down. I guess that isn’t entirely surprising. For me the surprise was that he wasn’t upset that he lost the Yellow Jersey, but that he felt like a piece of shiite because his team performed so beautifully and he let them down.

And you wonder how a guy who can be so damned boring at times can be so admired?

Cadel, now that you’ve gotten us all teary along with you, would you mind going back to threatening to cut people’s heads off? Thank you.

My thought early on was that Cadel and BMC were putting too damned much energy into taking the lead and defending the Yellow. I mean, shiite, there’s a whole long day ahead of you with some scary climbing to come. Soonish lots of the guys you’re working to hold off are just gonna drop anyway, so what’s the big?

Did that heavy effort contribute to Cadel eventually breaking? Would he have had a little more to give on that final climb if he’d been a little less zealous earlier in the ride?

To me it seemed like Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and Alberto Contador (Astana) jumped ahead initially, at least in part, to tag team Cadel, to take advantage of Cadel’s breaking.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just smart riding. But doesn’t it still irk ya just a lil bit?

Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) was typical Jens, riding to his absolute limits in support of his team. He’s incredible to watch.

RadioSkank doesn’t seem to have much of an actual plan. While people keep keening about how strong Lance looked today, how good his form actually is, how he shouldn’t be underestimated, Levi Leipheimer spent the day riding in the group ahead of him.

That isn’t meant to be praise for Levi, it’s meant to ask, “Why the fork wasn’t Lance up with Levi helping him out? Why wasn’t he spending some of that amazing strength and form helping his teammate compete with Alberto and Andy? Why was he, instead, husbanding his strength?”.

Selfish weasel.

Meanwhile, Levi jumps from 8th to 6th but loses almost two more minutes on the lead. In my mind a 4:00 gap puts him out of the running unless something catastrophic happens to Alberto and Andy.

Denis Menchov (yes, we DO have to talk about him) goes from 5th at 1:10 back from Yellow to 4th at 2:58 back. Pretty damned close to being out of it, too. Denis, buddy, you’ll need to put just a little more hurry on it if you want to hang with the real big boys. Plus, I don’t want to look bad after making you my #2 fav after Cadel.

Another French guy, Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), takes a stage and I have two things to say about that:

1. Casar is a jerk, because he isn’t Sylvain “The Trashman” Chavanel (and he’s French, but we’ll let that go for now).

2. He only managed it because . . .

Holy crap, Bert and Andy came up on the break over the final 1,000 meters and were so focused on their own battle that they nearly completely blew by the four heros. Those guys might as well have been lawn-chairs sitting in the road for all Andry and Alberto noticed them at first.

You could see the “oh shit” briefly pass over Andy’s face as he realized what was about to happen, exchanged a quick word with Alberto and the two of them backed off without being too ridiculously obvious about it, to allow the break to contest the final sprint on their own.

It was immensely cool and classy of Andy and Alberto to let that final sprint go when they easily could have taken it themselves.

Once more little thing.

Frank Schleck tweeted this:

“Proud of you bro.I m so happy n G up.we would be both on podium that hurts, goal is to beat @andy_schleck next year ;)”

His goal is to beat Andy next year? Is that a hint that they may not ride together? Are they each looking for glory that will always be in question or doubt while they’re on the same team?


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