Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Lance Armstrong Nearly in Yellow

Lance Armstrong, age 37, is within 22/100 seconds of wearing yellow after Astana won the team time trial in the Tour de France. But, as the New York Times reports, he didn't sound too downhearted:
"It’s a little bit of a disappointment,” Armstrong said, sounding particularly upbeat after his Astana team won the stage. “But I have seven yellow jerseys at home."
The first week of the Tour de France is supposed to be flat and boring. Yes we get a few moments of excitement when the sprinters make their headlong dash for the finishing line. But the Tour generally doesn't start to sort out the contenders until the peloton heads into the mountains.
Not this year: Strong cross winds split the peloton on Monday, allowing a group of riders including leader Fabian Cancellera and Armstrong to make time on some other contenders.
This set up yesterday's time trial, which moved Armstrong and his teammates up in the standings, and further hurt some of the contenders from the weaker teams:
Carlos Sastre, the defending champion, was in 29th, 2:44 back. Cadel Evans, a two-time Tour runner-up, was 35th, 2:59 back. Denis Menchov, the 2009 Giro d’Italia champion, was 72nd after crashing during his Rabobank team’s run. He was 3:52 out of first.
It's still early, but race for yellow is looking more and more like an intrasquad event. Cancellera is expected to lose time in the mountains, and the next four riders in the general classification are from Astana: Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Andreas Kloden and Levi Leipheimer—all within 31 seconds of the lead.
Photo: Pascal Pavani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question: If Armstrong jumps into the yellow jersey on friday and recieve the backing of Johann and the team, does Contador abandon in protest?

Also, do you believe the contraversy? Contador did take a monster pull at the end of the TTT to help that stunning Astana win.

10:04 AM, July 08, 2009  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

It's not a question of who gets the backing of the team, but of who will be stronger in the mountains. Bruyneel will send them up a mountain together and see who lasts the longest.

I don't believe the controversy. Armstrong and Contador did long pulls at the front because they knew they could take time out of their rivals.

12:30 PM, July 08, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One other question I forgot about. Will you weight in on the great radio debate? Stage 3 had unexpected results and teams in full communication could not organize properly to catch the Columbia-HTC & friends train. Stage 5 the breakaway survived even with cooperation from Columbia, Garmin, Saxo, Astana, ect.

Yes it was only 7 seconds on stage 5 and both were wind assisted chaos, but are radios really bad?

2:38 PM, July 08, 2009  

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