Monday, July 30, 2007


Any takers? I have a friend who will be in town from Oregon and we might head out there tomorrow for a lap. Have to be back by 3pm, so will have to leave early. Given the forecast, that's probably for the better anyway.

Let me know if you're interested.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


No fireworks from Cadel on the Champs Elyses today, so everything remains pretty much as it was yesterday. But we did get a nice bunch sprint that finally unfolded the way I'd been hoping for before we got started--a Bennati win with Hunter up there as well. Throw in an 8th place finish for David Millar (!) and it's 264 points for the dr. over against 257 for the bookworm. I was beginning to think it wasn't possible to beat Matt on a straight up sprint.

All the math is done, revisionist and otherwise.

Clean Pool:

1) Chris - 3307
2) Matt - 2929
3) Rachel - 2699
4) Jonny B - 2215
5) David L - 2070
6) Charlene - 1977
7) Jonny G - 1720
8) Hal - 1583
9) James - 1526
10) Vic - 1468
11) Cheryl - 1379
12) Johnny S - 1233
13) David S - 426

Dirty Pool:

1) Matt - 3573
2) Chris - 3205
3) Jonny B - 2611
4) Rachel - 2582
5) David L - 2461
6) Jonny G - 2193
7) Charlene - 1869
8) Johnny S - 1682
9) Hal - 1579
10) James - 1414
11) Vic - 1398
12) Cheryl - 1331
13) David S - 742

Two pools. Two different winners. Which one goes into the official archives? Discuss.

All those points awarded for the final standings, as expected, made a big difference. The big winners here were Rachel, with two of her guys on the podium, and Jonny B, who had three riders in the top 10 and shot way up in the standings as a result. Full results are as follows:

1) Jonny B - 1225
2) Rachel - 1125
3) Chris - 980
4) Charlene - 680
5) Dave L - 680
6) Matt - 575
7) Jonny S - 460
8) Vic - 415
9) Hal - 320
10) Jonny G - 265
11) Cheryl - 250
12) James - 215
13) David S - 0

Finally, once the points for the final classifications were awarded, it is interesting to note how things played out. On first glance, it seems that the most deserving riders rose to the top of the heap, points-wise. I was worried that this wouldn't happen when the sprinters were piling up all those points early on. It still seems to be weighted pretty heavily in favour of the sprinters, if you look at the top-10. This might need some attention for next year. But not bad for a first kick at the can. Best bargain of the bunch: Robbie Hunter, 898 pts for 1.50. I had a good feeling about him. Then again, I had a good feeling about Moreau and Valjavec too.

Alberto Contador - 1258
Cadel Evans - 1209
Tom Boonen - 1033
Levi Leipheimer - 958
Robert Hunter - 898
Erik Zabel - 864
Thor Hushovd - 711
Daniele Bennati - 673
Carlos Sastre Candil - 642
Alejandro Valverde - 641
Yaroslav Popovych - 594
Haimar Zubeldia - 592
Sébastien Chavanel - 519
Oscar Freire - 394
Robert Förster - 373
Andreas Klöden - 355
Filippo Pozzato - 320
Iban Mayo - 306
Sandy Casar - 281
Oscar Pereiro - 273
Gert Steegmans - 366
Robbie McEwen - 363
Michael Boogerd - 221
Andrey Kashechkin - 218
George Hincapie - 210
David Arroyo - 178
Jens Voigt - 160
Markus Fothen - 158
David Millar - 145
Christophe Moreau - 144
Murilo Antonio Fisher - 131
Íñigo Landaluze Intxaurraga - 126
Axel Merckx - 115
Manuel Quinziato - 110
Philippe Gilbert - 82
Christopher Horner - 74
Antonio Colom - 58
Heinrich Haussler - 58
Xavier Florencio Cabré - 56
Christian Vandevelde - 49
Mark Cavendish - 45
Juan A.Flecha Giannoni - 44
Denis Menchov - 40
Leif Hoste - 40
Ludovic Turpin - 35
Benoît Vaugrenard - 32
Tadej Valjavec - 31
David Zabriskie - 20
Pierrick Fedrigo - 20
Iñaki Isasi Flores - 19
Sebastien Hinault - 19
Kantstantsin Siutsou - 15
Thomas Voeckler - 9
Cristian Moreni - 8
Frederik Willems - 8
Nick Nuyens - 8
Stéphane Goubert - 6
Dmitry Fofanov - 5
Stuart O'Grady - 4
David Canada - 3
Sebastien Rosseler- 3
John Gadret - 2
Alexandre Vinokourov - 0
Björn Leukemans - 0
Christopher Horner - 0
Felix Rafael Cardenas - 0
Francisco Vila - 0
Igor Anton Hernandez - 0
Ivan Parra - 0
Jean-Patrick Nazon - 0
Johan Van Summeren - 0
Juan Miguel Mercado Martin - 0
Lilian Jegou - 0
Maxime Iglinski - 0
Michael Rasmussen - 0
Paolo Savoldelli - 0
Pietro Caucchioli - 0
Thomas Lövkvist - 0

Thanks for playing, boys and girls. Hope you had fun. I know I did.

OTT: Minus Story, To the Ones You Haunted

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Contador makes it count

It wasn't a question of whether Alberto Contador would get beat by Cadel Evans. That was pretty much a given going in, as Evans is a superior time triallist. But it wasn't clear how much time Contador would concede. He ended up losing time at every intermediate check, but managed to hold on to yellow by 23 seconds. Unless Evans can win both intermediate sprints and takes it at the line on the Champs Elyses, that clinches it. Alberto Contador wins the 2007 Tour de France. Wonder what the odds on that were three weeks ago?

It was Levi Leipheimer, however, who won the stage today. Sitting 59 seconds behind Evans before the start, he came within 8 seconds of 2nd place and even looked for a while like he might ride himself into the yellow jersey. But instead he has to settle for a stage win and the third step on the podium. He rode the 55.5 km course in 1.02.44, at an average speed of 53.068 km/h! Not bad.

The three podium spots of Contador, Evans, and Leipheimer are separated by only 31 seconds. The closest ever. Sweet. But of course the Tour is dead, so that doesn't matter.

Team Disco finished with 4 riders among the top 7. I hate it that I'm even thinking it, but I can't help be recall what happened just under a week ago after another team dominated the time trial like that.

With Leipheimer and Contador on her team, Rachel wins the stage. Now that the Chicken is gone, Matt has no time trial specialists left. Zero points for him. But he still holds on to yellow by the slimmest of margins heading into the final stage.

Stage 19 results:

1) Rachel - 212
2) Chris - 117
3) Charlene - 115
4) Jonny B - 84
5) Johnny S - 76
6) David L - 76
7) Vic - 50
8) Jonny G - 46
9) James - 41
10) Hal - 30
11) Cheryl - 2
12) Matt - 0
13) David S - 0

General Classification after stage 19:

1) Matt - 2097
2) Chris - 2063
3) Rachel - 1567
4) Jonny G - 1365
5) Charlene - 1277
6) David L - 1271
7) James - 1270
8) Hal - 1201
9) Vic - 1053
10) Cheryl - 1046
11) Jonny B - 948
12) Johnny S - 769
13) David S - 426

The 2007 Tour de France may be all but over, but in the FGBC TdF Pool we still have ourselves a race. Just so you know what's at stake:

There's still one stage to go. It almost always ends with a bunch sprint. So Matt looks to gain a bunch more points yet. But there are also final points to be awarded--lots of them for the overall standings for the yellow, green, and polka-dot jerseys.

The battle for polka-dot jersey is sewn up and the race for yellow is unlikely to change. The green jersey has been pretty much clinched by Boonen. But the top 15 could be reshuffled yet, depending on how it plays out at the finish tomorrow. Still, if things were to end today and those points were added on the basis of the current standings, this is how it would look:

1) Chris - 3053
2) Matt - 2697
3) Rachel - 2692
4) Jonny B - 2173
5) Charlene - 1987
6) David L - 1926
7) Jonny G - 1630
8) Hal - 1511
9) James - 1485
10) Vic - 1468
11) Cheryl - 1321
12) Johnny S - 1239
13) David S - 426

So there you have it. Except that this is not how the final numbers will look. There are still points for stage 20 to be awarded. And the top 15 in the green jersey race will change, so those points will likely be distributed differently. Whether that will be enough for Matt to hold onto the jersey he's worn for almost three weeks now will be determined tomorrow.

Over in the dirty pool, the standings look like this:

1) Matt - 2741
2) Chris - 1961
3) Jonny G - 1838
4) David L - 1662
5) Rachel - 1450
6) Jonny B - 1344
7) Johnny S - 1218
8) Hal - 1197
9) Charlene - 1169
10) James - 1158
11) Cheryl - 998
12) Vic - 983
13) David S - 742

OTT: The Flaming Lips, Drug Machine

Friday, July 27, 2007

Axel rose . . .

. . . to the challenge today, getting himself into the winning break. But unlike his papa, he wasn't able to finish it off. Still, not bad at all for the honorary captain's former teammate. In the end, he had to settle for 2nd place behind Sandy Casar, who survived another nasty crash with a dog earlier in the stage. What's up with the dogs? Are there no leashes in France?

It was more breakaway bingo today. In addition to the six lucky people with Merckx on their team, it was Johnny S whose numbers came golden today. With Casar and Boogerd, he takes 255 points and finishes just ahead of Matt's charging sprinters. Matt's 252 points was more than enough for him to reclaim the yellow jersey. He currently has a 151 point cushion over 2nd place and 742 over 3rd. Given the points still to be awarded, it seems the final podium is still up in the air.

Stage 18 results:

1) Johnny S - 255
2) Matt - 252
3) Hal - 184
4) Jonny G - 161
5) David L - 143
6) Jonny B - 123
7) Rachel - 121
8) Chris - 60
9) Cheryl - 47
10) Charlene - 14
11) James - 10
12) Vic - 7
13) David S - 0

General Classification after stage 18:

1) Matt - 2097
2) Chris - 1946
3) Rachel - 1355
4) Jonny G - 1319
5) James - 1229
6) David L - 1195
7) Hal - 1171
8) Charlene - 1162
9) Cheryl - 1044
10) Vic - 1003
11) Jonny B - 864
12) Johnny S - 693
13) David S - 426

Matt still sits atop the dirty pool too:

1) Matt - 2741
2) Chris - 1844
3) Jonny G - 1792
4) David L - 1586
5) Jonny B - 1260
6) Rachel - 1238
7) Hal - 1167
8) Johnny S - 1142
9) James - 1117
10) Charlene - 1054
11) Cheryl - 996
12) Vic - 933
13) David S - 742

Tomorrow's 55.5 km ITT
should settle it. The magic numbers to bear in mind are 1.50 (Contador's lead over Evans) and .59 (Evan's lead over Leipheimer). Both Evans and Leipheimer can fly against the clock, so the top three spots could still change yet. But it's pretty certain that those three guys will stand on the podium in some order.

OTT: Dolorean, What One Bottle Can Do

9 Mile

Alberto is going on a little scouting mission this weekend. Checking out 24 Hours of 9 Mile as a possible future FGBC event. While there, he'll also be checking out what it feels like to do a 24 solo race. Paddy and Dallas are racing too--rockin' FGBC colours, I hope. And Shona's racing the 12 hour version. Good luck guys.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Breakaway Bingo

Every once in a while the breakaway survives. And at this point in the Tour, it's pretty much dumb luck that determines who's going to be in it. So long as you're out of overall contention, you've pretty much got a chance if you're willing to work. Of course, it helps if the guys behind aren't interested in riding hard. And whether it's because they were tired from the hard days in the Pyrenees or because they'd lost interest in the race after all the garbage with Vino and the Chicken, the peloton was not up to chasing today. So the breakaway stayed away. It wasn't ever really in question once things got established. And it turns out my boys were the ones whose numbers came up lucky in a big way today: Bennati and Fothen took first and second. Millar hung on for fifth, Hunter was there in the sprint, finishing 11th, and even Cadel picked up a few points by finding his way into the back end of the top-20. Those five guys collected a whopping 387 points today, and wrested the yellow jersey out of Matt's firm grasp for the first time in a long, long time. Wow. I was expecting Matt's sprinters to increase his lead. Maybe tomorrow.

At least that's how things played out in the clean version of the FGBC TdF Pool.

Stage 17 results:

1) Chris - 387
2) Matt - 108
3) Jonny G - 92
4) David L - 87
5) David S - 84
6) Jonny B - 70
7) Charlene - 52
8) Hal - 37
9) Cheryl - 29
10) James - 5
11) Rachel - 3
12) Johnny S - 0
13) Vic - 0

General Classification after stage 17:

1) Chris - 1886
2) Matt - 1845
3) Rachel - 1234
4) James - 1219
5) Jonny G - 1158
6) Charlene - 1148
7) David L - 1052
8) Cheryl - 997
9) Vic - 996
10) Hal - 987
11) Jonny B - 741
12) Johnny S - 438
13) David S - 426

I still think Rachel's team is the one to beat. And Matt stands to gain some big points yet if we get the bunch sprints that are expected tomorrow and Sunday. Something tells me the yellow jersey is going to jump around a bit in these final three days of the Tour. Finally.

Over in the dirty pool, here's how things look:

1) Matt - 2489
2) Chris - 1784
3) Jonny G - 1631
4) David L - 1443
5) Jonny B - 1137
6) Rachel - 1117
7) James - 1107
8) Charlene - 1040
9) Hal - 983
10) Cheryl - 949
11) Vic - 926
12) Johnny S - 887
13) David S - 742

Crazy. Three more days to go.

OTT: Anton Barbeau, It Won't Be Long Till the Banjo Patrol Comes Along


Well, let's try that again. Didn't have the right line there. Or something. Sometimes things just don't work out the first time around.

Presenting the new and improved FGBC TdF Pool:

The slate has been wiped clean of Vinokourov, Rasmussen, and Moreni. Nothing but a bad dream. And so we wake up to face a brand new day. Matt still has the lead, of course, demonstrating just what a powerhouse team he had. But it's much, much closer. And bearing in mind the points awarded for the final GC, it now looks like it just might not hold up. Depends what his sprinters do in the days that remain. The big winner coming out of all this is Rachel, who now holds on to two of three podium spots. Recall that the final podium gets 500, 450, and 400. Points for green and polka-dot too, but not as much. See below. Just like all those failed breakways we root for, Matt might end up getting caught within sight of the finish. But he does have Zabel and Hunter, not to mention Chavanel, so will be getting some points for himself from the green jersey competition. It's going to be close.

Please, please let this be the end of it. Realistically, of course, it's highly unlikely that this is it. But it seems as though the end might just be in sight. Cadel is legit. He has to be. Just look at his chin. Contador and Leipheimer? That's a little more difficult. But maybe, just maybe.

General Classification after stage 16:

1) Matt - 1737
2) Chris - 1499
3) Rachel - 1231
4) James - 1214
5) Charlene - 1096
6) Jonny G - 1066
7) Vic - 996
8) Cheryl - 968
9) David L - 965
10) Hal - 950
11) Jonny B - 671
12) Johnny S - 438
13) David S - 342

Stage winners so far:

Prologue - Charlene
Stage 1 - Matt
Stage 2 - Hal
Stage 3 - Matt
Stage 4 - Matt
Stage 5 - Vic
Stage 6 - Matt
Stage 7 - Matt
Stage 8 - James
Stage 9 - Charlene/Rachel
Stage 10 - Johnny S
Stage 11 - Chris
Stage 12 - Matt
Stage 13 - Charlene
Stage 14 - Rachel
Stage 15 - Jonny B
Stage 16 - Rachel

55 km to go in today's stage. Three of my boys in the breakaway: Millar, Fothen, and Bennati. Giddy up guys. You can hold off Matt's gaggle of sprinters. Go! Hurry hard!

Points for Final General Classification:

1) Yellow

1st = 500 pts
2 = 450
3 = 400
4 = 375
5 = 350
6 = 325
7 = 300
8 = 250
9 = 200
10 = 150
11 = 100
12 = 90
13 = 80
14 = 70
15 = 60
16 = 50
17 = 40
18 = 30
19 = 20
20 = 10

2) Green

1st = 250
2 = 225
3 = 200
4 = 175
5 = 150
6 = 125
7 = 100
8 = 80
9 = 70
10 = 60
11 = 50
12 = 40
13 = 30
14 = 20
15 = 10

3) Polka dot

1st = 150
2 = 125
3 = 100
4 = 90
5 = 80
6 = 70
7 = 60
8 = 50
9 = 40
10 = 30
11 = 25
12 = 20
13 = 25
14 = 10
15 = 5

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tour de Carnage

So Vino and Astana are gone. So too Moreni and Cofidis. And now the biggest one of all. The one we've been waiting for all along. The Chicken has finally been grounded. By is own team, as it turns out. After standing by him for over a week, they withdrew him from the Tour after today's stage for lying allegedly to them about his whereabouts during the time he missed those out of competition tests. His story had been that he was in Mexico hanging with his wife's family. But apparently that was a lie. Just one of many, it seems. Holy Crap.

More from CN and VN.

I wonder if Rabo sensed it was coming and decided to make the first move in an attempt to save their own hide?

Rember that ethics code that all the riders signed? Sheesh.

Maybe I'll do some revisionist math after all. Go Cadel!!


It’s certainly starting to look that way for the Chicken. It was Contador who cracked today. But at least the Disco boys gave it a go, with Leipheimer and Contador throwing everything they had at Rasmussen on the lower slopes of the Aubisque. They couldn’t drop him today, and by the end he rode away from both of them to take the stage win and put more time between himself and the rest of the field. Leipheimer finished second, 25 seconds back and Contador was third, followed by Evans and Soler. Sastre, who also gave it a valiant effort with an early attack, came in 8th. Bummer. So that’s it for the mountains. And it’s probably pretty much it for the Tour too, unless Rasmussen implodes in Saturday’s ITT. But it just doesn't look like anybody's going to beat him. At least on the road. If he's going down, it'll most likely take place in the lab. And as much as I don't want him to win, that would suck too. At any rate, it seems like eveyone's as resigned to a Chicken win as we have been to Matt's victory for some time now.

Jonny B takes the stage win. Too bad he doesn't care any more.

Stage 16 results:

1) Jonny B - 277
2) Rachel - 212
3) David L - 186
4) Johnny S - 177
5) Jonny G - 167
6) Matt - 160
7) Charlene - 72
8) Chris - 71
9) James - 37
10) Vic - 27
11) David S - 0
12) Cheryl - 0
13) Hal - 0

General Classification after stage 16:

1) Matt - 2381
2) Jonny G - 1539
3) Chris - 1397
4) David L - 1356
5) Rachel - 1114
6) James - 1102
7) Jonny B - 1067
8) Charlene - 988
9) Hal - 946
10) Vic - 926
11) Cheryl - 920
12) Johnny S - 887
13) David S - 658

I haven't done the math in light of Vinokourov's booting yet. Don't know if I will. But if his B sample comes back positive (which is surely will--his test from stage 15 showed the same thing), his record would officially be erased and everyone behind him will move up. This applies for each stage and for time bonuses as well, which could become a significant factor for Evans' fight with Leipheimer for a podium spot. Hope the B test comes in before the ITT.

It was Christian Moreni whose positive test was announced today. This only confirms what we've been suspecting all along: Johnny S is a cheater.

OTT: White Whale, Matchbook

Daily Dope

Yep, I'm still watching. Can't help it.

And oh, what drama. A few more bombshells to rock the Tour as the increasingly secondary drama of a bike race plays itself out on stage 16.

As the race took a slight detour through the Basque part of Spain, a roadside bomb apparently went off. ETA?

And, of course, there's news of another positive dope test. This time from stage 11. No word on who it was yet. But Hunter, Rasmussen, Kirchen, Villa, Moreni, Jegou, and Zabel were the riders tested.

Persona non grata #1 has responded to his own encounter with the dope police:
I heard that I made a transfusion with my father's blood. That's absurd, I can tell you that with his blood, I would have tested positive for vodka.
Good one. He also offered the following explanation for yesterday's events:
I think it's a mistake in part due to my crash. I have spoken to the team doctors who had a hypothesis that there was an enormous amount of blood in my thighs, which could have led to my positive test.

The setting up of our team made a lot of people jealous and now we're paying the price. It's a shame to leave the Tour this way, but I don't want to waste time in proving my innocence.
That should clear things up.

Nice to see that there's at least one person who believes that there are some clean riders up at the front of the race. reports:
Speaking to Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé this morning, Belgian Tom Boonen heralded Cadel Evans as 'the first clean rider.' He was expressing his doubts over Rasmussen and, it would seem, Contador also.
Evans was pleased to hear that. "There are not many prices and accolades for doing your job correctely, the prices and accolades are for the winner. I'm proud of the fact that someone like Tom said that about me. I am very happy to hear that."
Nice to see that my guy for the GC seems to be legit. That has to count for some bonus points of some sort. Will have to make a rules ammendment. Then again, maybe we should offer bonus points for whomever can predict the next rider to flunk a drug test.

Meanwhile, there's a bike race going on. Carlos Sastre is trying to pull a Floyd. He attacked on the first climb of the day and is still up front. Sastre was the only guy to chase Floyd last year. Hope he can pull it off. And hope he does so without getting caught up in the incresingly tight net cast by the testers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rest day revelation

Of the worst possible kind. Vino may not be using cow's blood. But he's been borrowing some from somebody else. Busted. The whole team has packed up and left. I guess his two stage wins weren't so courageous after all. Who's next? Cluck. Cluck. Cluck.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dead man riding

His Tour hopes having been poured down the drain like the Chicken's "shoes," it seems like Alexandre Vinokourov is involved in some sort of experiment to see how many times he can be pronounced dead before coming back to life again. He's suffered so many deaths and had so many resurrections over the last two weeks that I can no longer keep track. Now he's won two of the last three stages--emphatically. Only problem is he lost half an our on the stage in between. So my guess is he'll suck on Wednesday and then come out and be the hero one last time in the final ITT. I'm sure Andreas Kloden is impressed.

The big excitement today, however, was Contador's repeated attacks on the Chicken. He very nearly dropped the skinny-legged one a few times, but just couldn't shake him for good. But at least he's trying--unlike Evans, Leipheimer, Sastre and co. And for the first time in over a week, the Chicken looked like he was suffering. One more chance on Wednesday, before the roads go flat again.

Tomorrow's a rest day. So there will undoubtedly be no shortage of talk about Rasmussen. Great.

So Swatty wins another stage. It's shaping up to be quite a battle for last place between him Jonnys B & S. Matt has been out of reach for a while now. But the last two steps on the podium are still up for grabs.

Stage 15 results:

1) David S - 185
2) Jonny B - 146
3) Vic - 65
4) David L - 63
5) Chris - 63
6) Cheryl - 39
7) Rachel - 20
8) Jonny G - 19
9) Johnny S - 16
10) Charlene - 12
11) Matt - 10
12) James - 4
13) Hal - 0

General Classification after stage 15:

1) Matt - 2221
2) Jonny G - 1372
3) Chris - 1326
4) David L - 1170
5) James - 1065
6) Hal - 946
7) Cheryl - 920
8) Charlene - 916
9) Rachel - 902
10) Vic - 899
11) Johnny B - 790
12) Jonny S - 710
13) David S - 658

OTT: The Old Ceremony, Poison Pen

Chicken running away?

Nobody can run with the Chicken right now when the road turns up. Nobody except Alberto Contador, who's turning out to be the revelation of this year's TdF. Contador moves into 2nd overall, ahead of Evans, who lost almost 2 minutes to the stage winners, and falls to 3rd place. Leipheimer has moved into 4th, giving Discovery a very interesting 1-2 punch, which they played to perfection yesterday. It's been a long time since the Tour was won by a pure climber. But it looks like that's what may be happening this year. As much as I'm rooting against Rasmussen, it's actually pretty exciting as far as the race itself is concerned.

More from CN, VN, and Pez.

Rachel has both members of Disco's two-pronged attack, and so takes the stage win. This gives us 9 different stage winners so far. Cheryl, James, Jonny B, Jonny G still have yet to get in on the glory.

I'd already resigned myself to Matt's crushing victory in the pool. Now I'm working at coming to grips with losing our side bet as well--that nobody on his team would crack the top 10. Rasmussen doesn't look to be fading away any time doon, despite almost everyone's expectations. Also not going away is the cloud of questions arising from the story of his box of bovine blood. Sounds like the UCI may still be working to boot him from the race, on grounds of the "ethical code." But they seem to be waiting for Whitney Richards to provide some further evidence, or at least a witness, to corroborate his story. We do not have a rule about what to do if a rider gets kicked out of the race. Should his points count? Hopefully that's a question we won't have to adress at this point. But this whole scenario kind of sucks. David Millar, for one, isn't impressed.

Stage 14 results:

1) Rachel - 240
2) Jonny B - 217
3) Johnny S - 199
4) David L - 148
5) Matt - 125
6) Jonny G - 125
7) Charlene - 103
8) James - 65
9) Cheryl - 57
10) Chris - 46
11) David S - 31
12) Vic - 11
13) Hal - 0

General Classification after stage 14:

1) Matt - 2211
2) Jonny G - 1353
3) Chris - 1263
4) David L - 1107
5) James 0 1061
6) Hal - 946
7) Charlene - 904
8) Rachel - 882
9) Cheryl - 881
10) Vic - 834
11) Johnny S - 694
12) Jonny B - 644
13) David S - 473

Haiku Race Report: BAFE

Infernally hot
X-rays negative on thumb
First lap DNF

More from Matt.

OTT: Fionn Regan, Snowy Atlas Mountains

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Kiss My Astana!

Alexandre Vinokourov and the boys in baby blue came out to deliver a message to the rest of the field today. Not only are they not going to throw in the towel, they very nearly took 1-2-3 on the stage today. Only Cadel Evans was able to prevent a clean sweep for Astana. He finished 2nd, 1:14 behind Vino, and now looks like he might be best poised to win it all. Valverde and Mayo, sitting 2nd and 3rd going in, had monumentally bad days and rode themselves out of the race, unless they can get back into it on the mountains. No real shocker with Mayo. But for Valverde, this sort of implosion was not expected. Valverde even got caught and passed by the chicken, who must have had another shoebox full of cow's blood (or Oxyglobin, or whatever it is he uses) show up at the hotel overnight. He finished 11th, giving an angry finger to his historical record against the clock, not to mention the UCI, and was able to hold onto his yellow jersey by one minute over Evans. Contador beat Leipheimer, and now clearly has to be rockoned the team leader at Disco. The young Spanish climber jumps into 3rd on the overall GC, just ahead of Kloden. Can't wait to watch him and the Chicken duke it out in the Pyrenees. I hope Cadel can hold on until the next ITT. With his monster ride today, Vino sneaks into the top 10. He now sits just over 5 minutes back. Still a long way back, but close enough to give him cause to attack like a man possessed over the next 3 stages. Kashechkin also moved up, making it 3 Astanas in the top 9. Good for the overall team rankings. Perhaps less good for figuring out the strategy from here on out.

the top 10 after today looks like this:

1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto at 1.00
3 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel - 2.31
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana - 2.34
5 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel - 3.37
6 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana - 4.23
7 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC - 4.45
8 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi - 5.02
9 Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana - 5.10
10 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile - 5.29

More from CN, VN, and Pez.

Killer stage tomorrow
. 2 HCs, and finishing atop the 2nd one. Will have to catch that one on the evening replay, since I'll be racing out at Birch with my friend Johnny S.

Swatty's team of Kazakh strongmen wins the day, more than doubles his point total so far and creeps out of last place. But Charlene, riding the backs of Evans and Kloden, was just 11 points back. With Valverde's bad day, Vic's string of zeros continues. That's four in a row and falling fast. Watch your back Jonny G. I'm coming after you.

Stage 13 results:

1) David S - 226
2) Charlene - 215
3) Chris - 125
4) James - 92
5) Rachel - 91
6) Cheryl - 90
7) Jonny B - 64
8) Johnny S - 18
9) Matt - 11
10) Jonny G - 10
11) David L - 10
12) Hal - 8
13) Vic - 0

General Classification after stage 13:

1) Matt - 1971
2) Jonny G - 1228
3) Chris - 1217
4) James - 996
5) David L - 959
6) Hal - 946
7) Cheryl - 824
8) Vic -823
9) Charlene - 801
10) Rachel - 642
11) Johnny S - 495
12) David S - 443
13) Jonny B - 427

OTT: Goose, Girl

Friday, July 20, 2007

Johnny S is my friend

At least for now. I've signed him up in the "End a Friendship - 6 lap" category. That and the 37 deg. temps could make for an interesting afternoon.

Still time for other FGBC'ers to get reg'd on Sunday morning. This could be the best FGBC showing ever. But it's only just beginning.

BAF breakfast

for those going to the birch shake and bake this weekend - who's interested in meeting at the falafel place for breakfast?

The Un-Tour

Yesterday's stage was tailor made for a massive bunch sprint. But it didn't turn out that way. Alexandre Vinokourov was supposed to dominate the Tour this year. But that hasn't exactly happened. The chicken was supposed to run wild for a day, secure the polka-dot jersey, then fade away. But he hasn't. It seems as if the riders have torn up the script and tossed it by the roadside. Nothing is going the way it was supposed to. Which means that today's stage played out exactly as one might expect in this un-Tour in that it unfolded exactly like it wasn't expected to. With a 10 km Cat 2 climb less than 50km before the finish, it looked like a day for a breakaway to stay clear to the finish. Maybe another chance for Pozzato to win a stage. Or perhaps someone like Flecha, Hincapie, or Ballan. Pierrik Fedrigo and Amets Txurruka (with a name like that, how did he not get picked for the FGBC TdF Pool by someone?) gave it a solid effort. But instead, we got the bunch sprint we were supposed to have yesterday and the breakaway stage hunters were left wondering what might have been. Tornado Tom Boonen won it to cement his lead in the points competition. Zabel and Hunter were right there as well, keeping it a three-way race for green, or at least a hard-fought battle for 2nd.

More from CN, VN, and Pez.

With 3 of the top 7 finishers, Matt takes another stage win and increases his stranglehold on the FGBC TdF Pool yellow jersey. And that's without Robbie McEwen. Daniele Bennati, who was supposed to be my dark horse sprinting ace--before he went down in one of the early pileups, was 4th to help me take 2nd place. And Hal rounds out the podium for the day on the strength of Boonen.

According to the script, tomorrow's 54 km ITT should finally provide us with a good sense of how it will all pan out in the end, sorting out who's for real and who's merely been getting lucky so far. That's why they call it the race of truth. Conventional wisdom says Kloden should move up and the Chicken will begin his freefall. But the way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised if the final outcome remains as murky as ever. Who knows? Vino might all of a sudden insert himself into the race again.

Stage 12 results:

1) Matt - 255
2) Chris - 170
3) Hal - 154
4) Jonny G - 115
5) Cheryl - 76
6) David L - 70
7) David S - 20
8) Johnny S - 18
9) Rachel - 17
10) Jonny B - 12
11) James - 4
12) Charlene - 0
13) Vic - 0

General Classification after stage 12:

1) Matt - 1960
2) Jonny G - 1218
3) Chris - 1092
4) David L - 950
5) Hal - 938
6) James - 904
7) Vic - 823
8) Cheryl - 734
9) Charlene - 586
10) Rachel - 551
11) Johnny S - 477
12) Jonny B - 364
13) David S - 217

Sadly, one thing that does seem to be going according to script is that we have a big-time doping controversy in the works. All kinds of fingers being pointed at the current wearer of the yellow jersey. One finger that isn't pointing his way, however, is that of Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour, who hasn't had very many nice words about the honorary captain as of late. But that could change in a hurry. Funny business, this Tour de France.

OTT: Of Montreal, Suffer for Fashion

Positively False

Apologies for the delay in submitting my report of my hearing of the honorary captain. I was waiting for pictures to be developed, which were as you can see - not really worth waiting for. Nonetheless - there were at least 500 crazed fans at this Q&A session (there was no reading from the book).

When he waltzed in there was an energetic standing ovation, and the energy from the crowd continued throughout the evening. Floyd joked that people in Seattle must love books, or bikes. After a short preamble in which he encouraged people not to have their passion for biking diminished by controversy and scandal - he simply opened the floor for questions.
A few comments that prompted the most reaction...Floyd mentioned that he had been tested 25 times last year, with one positive result. The assumption of the lab was that the one positive result was the correct result, and the clean test results are not. "This is not an anti-French statement, but in America we don't stand for that kind of shit."

When asked if he likes Shimano or Campy? He said that since he is not sponsored by either company, he can actually answer...and he likes Shimano.

When asked how his faith sustained him during the past year? He talked about believing in himself and knowing who he is, as having sustained him when his character was being maligned.

All in all...a good night, and a very excited crowd. Floyd promised to stay until every person who wanted an autograph had received one...which from the looks of the line was almost every person there. I wasn't one of them...although I had had earlier hopes of sticking around...but my six-year old who I had dragged along, was cooked and ready for bed.

Check out this link for another report from the night.

Am very much missing riding with you all. Have been riding solo here, but am thinking about checking out these folks... I have discovered a nice burger joint which is open until 2 AM, which is a nice finish to an evening ride. It ain't VJ's, but it works.
Johnny N

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Oh No, Moreau!

On paper it looked like a day for a massive bunch sprint. 182.5 kms with nary a ripple of elevation over the last 100 km. But one thing that doesn’t show up on paper is the wind. And what a nasty cross-wind it was today. An attentive Alexandre Vinokourov took full advantage of these circumstances as he sent up his whole team to rock the peloton when the wind changed direction at a key moment. This effort split the peloton into several echelons. And when it finally came back together, there were two rather large groups separated by a few minutes. This was bad news for some of the big sprinters (Zabel, Hushovd and Bennati) who got caught in the back group. But it was absolutely devastating for Christophe Moreau, who conceded over 3 minutes today and plunged from 6th all the way to 14th place on the overall GC. So what looked like a relatively minor stage as far as the GC is concerned turned out to be fairly significant in the end. Not good for my hope of cashing in Moreau for some big GC points at the end of the race. Nigel Tufnel says time is a harsh mistress. So true. 3 minutes and 20 seconds is probably a whole lot less than Nigel had in mind, and yet it must have felt like a whallop of a kick in the groin for Moreau today. Merde! Pay attention, Christophe! You can still make it back in the top 10. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Dave Z. He missed the time cut today and is done.

As if that wasn’t enough excitement, Vino attacked again with 4km to go, causing some temporary chaos for a peloton that was getting itself set up for the sprint. It didn't work, but it was enough to show that he’s not going to lie down. And it certainly left everything in a bit of a mess for the run-up to the finish. Then, just as they were were about to get things reorganized, they came around a sweeping right hand turn was a little tighter than expected and claimed a few more riders who got themselves tangled up in the barriers. Boonen didn’t end up going down, but he got caught behind as the group of sprinters was blown to bits, missing out on the sprint. The beneficiary of all the mayhem was the honorary captain’s former teammate Robbie Hunter, who took the stage win with a long sprint and jumps up into 2nd place in the race for the green jersey, behind Boonen and ahead of Zabel. Hunter’s one of my guys, which eases the sting of Moreau’s munson today. But unfortunately he’s on Matt’s team as well. I finally got some points from Fothen and Vandevelde, though, as they both squeaked into the top 20 today after being 0-fer the Tour so far, taking 10 and 4 points, respectively. Good enough for my first stage win. Whew. I was beginning to think it wasn’t going to happen.

Nice to see Vino's back to being his old aggressive little bulldog self. And yet a little odd, at the same time. Kloden is clearly the leader of Astana at this point, sitting in 6th at 3.50. He’s easily the best time triallist of the top 10, so long as his fractured coccyx isn’t a problem. He could well move into the top three on Saturday. Will Vino be able to suck it up and work for him in the Pyrenees or will he go crazy with attacks and leave Kloden to his own devices in his chase after yellow? The latter would be more exciting for us, of course, but tactically-speaking it would be pretty stupid for Astana.

More from CN, VN, and Pez.

Stage 11 results:

1) Chris - 164
2) Matt - 150
3) Charlene - 93
4) James - 76
5) Hal - 50
6) Rachel - 25
7) David S - 7
8) Jonny B - 5
9) David L - 4
10) Cheryl - 4
11) Johnny S - 1
12) Jonny G - 0
13) Vic - 0

General Classification after stage 11:

1) Matt - 1705
2) Jonny G - 1103
3) Chris - 922
4) James - 900
5) David L - 872
6) Vic - 823
7) Hal - 784
8) Cheryl - 658
9) Charlene - 586
10) Rachel - 534
11) Johnny S - 459
12) Jonny B - 352
13) David S - 197

The daily Tour Communique reports that Hal and Swatty have both received penalties for whining. One stir stick each.

Speaking of 0-fers, here's a list of riders haven’t scored a single point so far, from most expensive to least.

Paolo Savoldelli - 7.00
Leif Hoste - 6.00
Cristian Moreni - 5.76
Francisco Vila - 5.45
Igor Anton Hernandez - 4.50
Thomas Lövkvist - 3.64
Johan Van Summeren - 3.00
Felix Cardenas - 2.50
Jean-Patrick Nazon - 2.00
Juan Mercado - 2.00
Pietro Caucchioli - 2.00
Sebastien Rosseler - 1.92
Axel Merckx - 1.50
Björn Leukemans - 1.50
Ivan Parra - 1.50
John Gadret - 1.50
Lilian Jegou - 1.50
Ludovic Turpin - 1.50
Maxime Iglinski - 1.50

Finally, though Swatty’s Kazakh-themed team may not be doing so well in the FGBC TdF Pool, Kazakh pride is alive and well on the roads of France, as evidenced by today’s hard effort from the Astana boys as well as this incident from a few days earlier:

OTT: The Twang, Either Way

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Jens Voigt can always be counted on to get into a winning break or two at the Tour. Last year he outclassed his breakaway partner, Oscar Piererro, at the line in a two-up sprint to finish off the now infamous stage that ended up putting Pierero into yellow. Today he found his way into the day’s big break and, when it disintegrated on one of the final climbs, remained with the final group of five riders. But it was not to be for Jens today. Instead, it was a day for the French, as Cedric Vassuer and Sandy Casar finished 1-2 at the finish line in Marseille, while Jens had to settle for 5th place.

Matt’s guy Sebastian Chavanel brought home the peloton to win the sprint for 12th place. Boonen followed at 13th, helping Hal to get back onto the scoreboard once again. Hunter, Zabel, and Hushovd were right there as well, giving us a taste of how the battle for the green jersey is likely to play out over the next two days as the balance tips back in favour of the sprinters.

With Voigt on their teams, it was a third consecutive good day for Dave L and Jonny G. But it was Johnny S, on the strength of Casar and Flecha, who took the 2007 FGBC TdF Pool stage win. With a couple of flat stages to come in the next two days, Matt has chance to pad his lead before the first long ITT on Saturday. Here we will find out, once and for all, whether the Chicken is a legitimate GC threat. I still don't think he is.

Lucky we don’t live in Germany. After receiving news that German rider Patrick Sinkiewitz has tested positive for testosterone, they made good on their threat to boycott the Tour if there was more bad doping news. No coverage of the TdF in Germany today. Dankeschön, Patrick.

We welcome a new player to the 2007 FGBC TdF Pool. James has gotten a team in. He claimed not to know a thing about what has transpired so far. So I gave him the list of riders and my VeloNews Tour Guide and let him pick away. His picks confirm his confession of cluelessness. So I've let him get in on the fun. Welcome, James, to a tight race for the final podium spot.

Stage 10 results:

1) Johnny S - 146
2) David L - 85
3) Jonny G - 82
4) David S - 76
5) Matt - 20
6) Cheryl - 9
7) Hal - 8
8) Chris - 6
9) Rachel - 5
10) Jonny B - 4
11) James - 4
12) Charlene - 0
13) Vic - 0

General Classification after stage 10:

1) Matt - 1555
2) Jonny G - 1103
3) David L - 868
4) James - 824
5) Vic - 823
6) Chris - 758
7) Hal - 734
8) Cheryl - 654
9) Rachel - 509
10) Charlene - 493
11) Johnny S - 458
12) Jonny B - 347
13) David S - 190

Still waiting for a report from Jonny N about the honorary captain’s appearance in Seattle. In the meantime, here’s a video of a recent Q&A session he did for the folks at Google:

And one more time with Marcus Burghardt's canine encounter, this time with moving pictures:

OTT: Arctic Monkeys, Brainstorm

Bring a Friend Event

Birch is back in business this Sunday. The (mostly) annual BAFE goes down once again. For those of you who don't have race licenses, this is your chance to check out the unparalleled venue that is Birch. Sounds like Johnny S is in. Others? Jonny G? Penner? Juan Eppstein?

The MCA provides the following info:
The BAF event will be run as as solo event this year. Members (with a race license) and "friends" (non-racers) will be able to choose between 3 lengths. "Friends" will race on a modified course.
Each entry form has the capacity to sign up no more than 1 "friend" and no more than 1 member (at a cost of $20).
A single member could also sign up (at a cost of $20).
A single "friend" may also sign up (at a cost of $20).
Race Fees covers 1 member and 1 friend.
Yes, that is right, there is an incentive to "bring a friend".
Forecast says it's going to be 35 and sunny. Kick ass.

OTT: TdF, Stage 10

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Soler Power

The great thing about the Tour is that you can go from being virtually unkown to an international cycling sensation in the span of a few hours. It happened to Thomas Voeckler a few years back. It's looking like it happened to Linus Gerdemann on Stage 7, the way the media's jumping all over his post-win anti-doping declaration. And it may well have happened to Mauricio Soler today. The Colombian climber from the South African wildcard team, Barloworld, demolished the field today an took the last Alpine stage of this years Tour. Among the pre-tour GC contenders, Valverde, Evans, and Leipheimer finished in the top 10. But Rasmussen is all of a sudden looking like he's less interested in wearing polka-dots than yellow. Among other things, this means that Matt may have hosed me again. And Contador looks like a serious threat too. Interesting decisions for Discovery coming up, as Contador leads Leipheimer by about 45 seconds. Moreau, Sastre, and Kloden are hanging in there as well. Vinokourov, however, is not. He conceded another couple of minutes and now sits 8:05 behind Rasmussen and about 5 minutes behind everyone else that matters.

Full reports and results from the usual suspects.

With Mayo, Rasmussen, and Popovych, Dave L takes a second consecutive stage win. Jonny G solidifies his hold on 2nd place, and closes the gap on Matt to a mere 524 points. Hal continues to plummet down the standings, with his second consecutive scoreless stage. As for the rest of us, it's bunched up pretty tight in the middle of the pack. No telling how it's going to get sorted out yet. Saturday's ITT looking like it will be pretty decisive. Has Rasmussen learned how to keep his bike on the road in the race against the clock? I hope not.

Back to the flat roads tomorrow
. A couple of small climbs toward the end have breakaway written all over them. You never know who's going to win those. Maybe someone has gotten lucky and picked the winner. We'll find out tomorrow.

Stage 9 Results:

1) David L - 137
2) Rachel - 126
3) Charlene - 123
4) Vic - 118
5) Jonny G - 114
6) Chris - 110
7) Jonny B - 94
8) Johnny S - 75
9) Matt - 52
10) Cheryl - 23
11) David S - 4
12) Hal - 0

General Classification after stage 9:

1) Matt - 1535
2) Jonny G - 1021
3) Vic - 823
4) David L - 783
5) Chris - 752
6) Hal - 726
7) Cheryl - 645
8) Rachel - 504
9) Charlene - 493
10) Jonny B - 343
11) Johnny S - 312
12) David S - 114

Stage winners so far:

Prologue Charlene
Stage 1 Matt
Stage 2 Hal
Stage 3 Matt
Stage 4 Matt
Stage 5 Vic
Stage 6 Matt
Stage 7 Matt
Stage 8 Dave L
Stage 9 Dave L

Today's Jonny B award for bad luck goes to Marcus Burghardt, who was unable to avoid a dog that had sauntered across the road in front of him.

OTT: Okkervil River, No Key, No Plan

Monday, July 16, 2007

Chicken and Mayo

Either of them on their own is fine. But they definitely go better together, as both Jonny G and David L can attest. Jonny leaps into 2nd place over Hal, whose team of 8 Belgians is not really enjoying the mountains. With 290 and 300 point stages, respectively, this suggests that some of the rest of us can keep our meagre hopes alive for now. But Matt, of course, also has Rasmussen and so had another good day. Then again, he lost O'Grady (9 broken ribs and 1 puntured lung) and McEwen (outside the time limit) today. So he's down to 7 riders. Bummer. We feel your pain, Matt. Really, we do.

It was a bad day for Aussies in general at the Tour. In addition to O'Grady and McEwen, Michael Rogers went from looking like he was on his way to put on the yellow jersey to abandoning the Tour, all during one tight left turn. He hung on for a while, but it's hard to climb with a separated shoulder. Fellow Aussie Cadel Evans, however, is looking like a real contender for the podium in Paris, which is good news for Charlene and me. Also dropping out yesterday was Mark Cavendish (Jonny G, Cheryl, and Charlene), and a whole whack of others, including Patrick Sinkewitz, who ran into a fan on the way down the mountain, after the stage, and broke his nose. Friere (Vic) dropped out the day before from a nasty saddle sore. Ouch. Full reports over at pez, cyclingnews, and VN.

Rest day today before another brutal mountain stage tomorrow. It's starting to get interesting.

Stage 8 results [corrected]:

1) David L - 300
2) Jonny G - 290
3) Jonny B - 195
4) Johnny S - 171
5) Matt - 165
6) Chris - 132
7) Vic - 108
8) Charlene - 56
9) David S - 54
10) Rachel - 47
11) Cheryl - 33
12) Hal - 0

General Classification after stage 8 [corrected]:

1) Matt - 1483
2) Jonny G - 907
3) Hal - 726
4) Vic - 705
5) David L - 646
6) Chris - 642
7) Cheryl - 622
8) Rachel - 378
9) Charlene - 370
10) Jonny B - 249
11) Johnny S - 237
12) David S - 110

OTT: Ghosty, Make it Easier

Sunday, July 15, 2007


That sound you hear is me eating crow. Choking it back. Brilliant, Matt. Absolutely brilliant. Almost as brilliant as Michael Rogers' fate was heartbreaking. What a stage. Dave L takes 1st and 2nd. At least Moreau and Evans were there for my team.

More to come later. This foul black bird will take some time to digest.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Are you kidding me?

Landa-who? Alright. I was willing to concede the first week. But this is preposterous. Matt, there are some other boys and girls who would like to play too. Just a little bit. Tomorrow the tide will turn. It will. Really. Does anyone happen to have Tonya Harding's phone number? 3 Cat 1 climbs in under 100 km tomorrow.

Stage 7 results:

1) Matt - 127
2) Rachel - 48
3) Chris - 38
4) Vic - 24
5) Johnny S - 22
6) Hal - 12
7) Jonny B - 12
8) Jonny G - 8
9) David L - 8
10) David S - 5
11) Cheryl - 0
12) Charlene - 0

General Classification after stage 7:

1) Matt - 1318
2) Hal - 726
3) Jonny G - 617
4) Vic - 597
5) Cheryl - 586
6) Chris - 510
7) David L - 346
8) Rachel - 331
9) Charlene - 314
10) Johnny S - 66
11) David S - 56
12) Jonny B - 54

Because Matt's making it difficult for the rest of us to have any fun, we'll have to start looking elsewere. For starters, let the honorary captain's former roommate, Dave Z, entertain you for a bit.

OTT: The Dexateens, Nadine

Friday, July 13, 2007

Matt's Mastery

Last day for the sprinters and Matt's boys didn't fail to capitalize. He crushes the rest of us to win another stage and puts further distance between himself and the scrap heap formerly known as the competition. That's 4 out of 7 so far. Imagine how much worse it would be if McEwan were not hurting. Sheesh. Bring on the mountains. Bring 'em on! The rest of us want to play too. Tomorrow is the first of two hard days in the Alps. Finally.

Stage 6 results:

1) Matt - 210
2) Hal - 150
3) Cheryl - 117
4) Vic - 113
5) Jonny G - 93
6) Chris - 86
7) David L - 58
8) Charlene - 21
9) Rachel - 15
10) Johnny S - 0
11) Jonny B - 0
12) David S - 0

General Classification after stage 6:

1) Matt - 1191
2) Hal - 714
3) Jonny G - 609
4) Cheryl - 586
5) Vic - 573
6) Chris - 472
7) David L - 338
8) Charlene - 314
9) Rachel - 283
10) David S - 51
11) Johnny S - 44
12) Jonny B - 42

OTT: Reverend Glasseye, Mother is a Carpegian

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Victor Victorious

As expected, it was not a day for a bunch sprint. Not yet a day for the climbers either. More of a stage suited to the classics riders. And Vic has a couple of good ones in Friere and Hincapie. Together, they collected him enough points for the stage win today. So Matt's string of emphatic stage wins comes to an end, at least temporarily. Tomorrow's stage should provide one more opportunity for the fast men to stretch their legs. But then we hit the Alps, the roads go way up, and the GC contenders should start to show their cards. Matt still has a solid grasp on yellow. How long can he hold on to it?

It was not a good day for the biggest of the GC men today. Vinokourov went down at around 25 km from the finish, got all bloodied, and ended up conceding about a minute and a half to his rivals. Bad news for Swatty, good news for TdF couch potatoes, as this makes it almost certain that he will attack like crazy in the mountains and really stir things up. Saturday should be exciting. Full report of today's action over at pez.

Stage 5 results:

1) Vic - 178
2) Jonny G - 121
3) Chris - 100
4) Matt - 71
5) Hal - 25
6) Charlene - 21
7) Johnny S - 20
8) Cheryl - 17
9) Jonny B - 13
10) David L - 6
11) Rachel - 0
12) David S - 0

General Classification after stage 5:

1) Matt - 981
2) Hal - 564
3) Jonny G - 516
4) Cheryl - 469
5) Vic - 460
6) Chris - 386
7) Charlene - 293
8) David L - 280
9) Rachel - 268
10) David S - 51
11) Johnny S - 44
12) Jonny B - 42

OTT: Arcade Fire, Ocean of Noise

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More Matt

Matt's gaggle of sprinters struck again on stage 4, adding more cushion to his already rather daunting lead. Thankfully tomorrow's stage has some climbing, including a Cat 3 just 8 km from the finish. And by the weekend those guys will be lucky to make it to the finish. We can only hope.

Stage 4 results:

1) Matt - 227
2) David L - 150
3) Chris - 121
4) Jonny G - 91
5) Victor - 90
6) Hal - 90
7) Cheryl - 86
8) Charlene - 21
9) Johnny S - 20
10) Jonny B - 6
11) Rachel - 6
12 David S - 0

General Classification after stage 4:

1) Matt - 910
2) Hal - 539
3) Cheryl - 452
4) Jonny G - 395
5) Chris - 286
6) Vic - 282
7) David L - 274
8) Charlene - 272
9) Rachel - 268
10) David S - 51
11) Jonny B - 29
12) Johnny S - 24

OTT: The Honorary Captain on NPR's Talk of the Nation

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


24 Hours of Adrenalin went down this weekend in Canmore. Jonny B, Alberto, Cam and myself were there representing the local singlespeed community under the handle of SWM. James, John L, Scott, and Gerald from Tinker Creek were also there, camped out right beside us.

Our race in a nutshell: we peaked too early. Way too early. About 23 and a half hours too early, to be precise.

Jonny B rocked the LeMans start, finishing the running lap 22nd out of the 300+ overall teams and solo riders.

By the time he hit the 2km mark of the first riding lap, he had surged into 7th place and was out for blood--at least as much as is befitting of a vegan. And that's where his string of misfortunes began. Pfffft. Flat tire. No spare tube. Another racer was kind enough to toss him a tube, but with no pump along it didn't do much good. Cam and I were walking past the finish area when we heard, "Team 113, you have a lap cancellation. Send out your next rider." We turned to see Jonny standing at the scorers table, having run 2km back to the start in order to cancel his lap. So Cam essentially started out on our first lap with a 25 minute deficit. Shit-tee.

By the time he finished lap 1, we were just happy not to be in last place any more.

When nothing goes wrong, Jonny B can ride real fast. Notice the other riders scramble to get out of the way as he stomps his way, 38x16-style, right up the middle of a climb toward the end of his first full lap.

Unfortunately, that was about the only lap in which nothing went wrong for him. On his next lap, he flatted again and had to run the last km to the finish. And it was during his night lap that he realized that it's best to make sure your lighting system is adequate before you head out into the dark.

Fortunately, things were going relatively smoothly for the rest of us. We were going pretty consistent, riding the 14.2 km course in 50-55 minutes, and turning in laps of just over an hour at night.

And the times Jonny was posting in spite of his series of crises was impressive. By the time we started checking results at about 4 hours in, we were sitting 5th out of the field of 25 4-person teams. And by the next morning we were even making a run on 4th place, taking back a couple of minutes per lap during the night and early morning. Jonny left at 10:30 to start lap 24 and Cam was set to do a 7th lap to make it 25. As we were headed to the results table to determine whether 4th place was realistically within reach, the lady on the loudspeaker said, "Team 113, you have a lap cancellation. Send out your next rider." This time his chain came off and sheared off 5 spokes--about 35 minutes into the lap. So once again, Cam had to rush to the start line to begin his last lap before he was entirely ready. Unfortunately our hopes 4th place vanished along with Jonny's spokes, as did our hold on 5th. We ended up with 24 laps, good enough for 6th place. In light of what could have been, a little disappointing. But given the difficulties, we were pleased with that result.

All in all, a great time. The Nordic Centre is a beautiful venue.

There was some sweet singletrack, plenty of climbing (almost all of it in the first 4 kms), a few screaming downhills, and lots of undulating fire roads that really worked out well on the singlespeed. There was one other team of ss'ers in the 5 person field, plus a few solo ss'ers. Lots of good camaraderie there.

This dude is from a group that calls itself WUSS--Western United Single Speeders. He seemed to think we might want to purchase a WUSS jersey that is being prepared. Will have to wait and see what they look like first.

Special thanks to Laura for her willingness to do food runs and for putting in 8 hours of volunteer work, first at a checkstop out on course and then in the scoring tent at night. Always nice to see a familiar face out in the forest.

More from velo bread and maybe even a report from the master of disaster himself.

OTT: Balkan Beat Box, Digital Monkey

Tour de Matt

The prologue and first three stages are done. Here, finally, is the first update of the 2007 FGBC TdF Pool.

With a team stacked full of sprinters, Matt has a solid grasp on the yellow jersey in the early going. And he also has Rasmussen waiting in the wings for the mountain stages, which is more than a little disconcerting for the rest of us. But there's still a long way to go. Which is good, because there's a lot of ground that needs to be made up if we're going to make this thing a race. Alberto's team of 8 Belgians and 1 Slovenian is off to a strong start too, and was especially impressive in taking 1st and 2nd in stage 2.

General Classification after stage 3:

Matt - 683
Alberto - 449
Cheryl - 366
Jonny G - 304
Mrs. Dr. - 262
Charlene - 251
Tenacious V - 192
Mr. Dr. - 165
Cycling Dave - 124
Swatty - 51
Jonny B - 23
Johnny S - 4

The usual spate of crashes during the opening stages has claimed its first victim in Tomas Vaitkus, but I think everyone still has a full complement of 9 riders. My choice of Daniele Bennati as ace sprinter hasn't exactly panned out so far. He doesn't have a single point yet and is hurting pretty bad after being caught up in yesterday's wreck. But he's still racing, so there's still hope. Congrats to Johnny S for finally making it onto the scoreboard today, after being shut out in the first three days.

OTT: Heartless Bastards, Blue Day

Thursday, July 05, 2007

FGBC TdF Pool Teams

The clock has struck twelve and the deadline has come and gone. Ladies and gentlemen, here are the teams for the first annual FGBC TdF Pool.

Mr. Dr.
Cadel Evans
Christophe Moreau
Daniele Bennati
Tadej Valjavec
Robert Hunter
Juan Miguel Mercado Martin
Christian Vandevelde
Markus Fothen
David Millar

Robbie McEwen
Stuart O'Grady
Erik Zabel
Michael Rasmussen
Robert Hunter
Sébastien Chavanel
Axel Merckx
David Millar
Íñigo Landaluze Intxaurraga

Tenacious V
Alejandro Valverde
Oscar Freire
Benoît Vaugrenard
Frederik Willems
David Arroyo
Ivan Parra
Björn Leukemans
Dmitry Fofanov
George Hincapie

Denis Menchov
Andreas Klöden
Thomas Voeckler
Thomas Lövkvist
Robert Förster
Christian Vandevelde
Juan Miguel Mercado Martin
Mark Cavendish
Sébastien Chavanel

Johnny S
Michael Boogerd
Michael Rasmussen
Cristian Moreni
Tadej Valjavec
Francisco Vila
Sandy Casar
Antonio Colom
Juan A.Flecha Giannoni
Yaroslav Popovych

Jonny B
Carlos Sastre Candil
Stuart O'Grady
Michael Rasmussen
Haimar Zubeldia
Yaroslav Popovych
Christian Vandevelde
Axel Merckx
Christopher Horner
David Millar

Tom Boonen
Philippe Gilbert
Leif Hoste
Tadej Valjavec
Nick Nuyens
Johan Van Summeren
Gert Steegmans
Frederik Willems
Axel Merckx

Jonny G
Jens Voigt
Erik Zabel
George Hincapie
David Zabriskie
Michael Rasmussen
Iban Mayo
Thomas Voeckler
Mark Cavendish
Axel Merckx

Cadel Evans
Andreas Klöden
Paolo Savoldelli
Heinrich Haussler
Mark Cavendish
Frederik Willems
Christopher Horner
Murilo Antonio Fisher
Manuel Quinziato

Mrs. Dr.
Levi Leipheimer
Robbie McEwen
Alberto Contador
Pierrick Fedrigo
Axel Merckx
Iñaki Isasi Flores
Kantstantsin Siutsou
Lilian Jegou
Xavier Florencio Cabré

Cycling Dave
Thor Hushovd
Jens Voigt
Michael Rasmussen
Yaroslav Popovych
Iban Mayo
Igor Anton Hernandez
David Canada
David Arroyo
Axel Merckx

Good luck everyone. Let the fun begin.

Gotta go pack for Canmore. Back on Monday.

OTT: The Clientele, Here Comes the Phantom

Tuesday Night Resurrection

Not bad for a Wednesday. After a two month hiatus, the FGBC Tuesday Night Ride rode again last night. Matt, Jonny B, Cycling Dave, the poosher, Colin, Paddy, Jonny G, Shop Jonny, Luc, and myself.

We hit up a few parkades.

And paid the first visit of the season to VJ's.

Before retiring to the F&H only to be greeted with "Where the hell have you guys been?" They were concerned that we might not have picked up the cheque, which I assured them wasn't the case. And they wanted to talk about bike racks since, apparently, Lawrence has had a bit of a rough time with the city. The tunes, needles to say, were as good as ever.

Luc and Shop Jonny made their Tuesday Night Ride debut and Matt debuted his new San Jose.

More pics from Dave.

OTT: Mouthful of Bees, Airplane

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

FGBC TdF Pool update

The teams have been trickling in at a steady pace over the past few days. So far, 11 teams have been submitted: Matt, Tenacious V, Cheryl, Johnny S, Alberto, Charlene, Jonny B, Jonny G, Rachel, David S (who still needs to make one correction), and myself. Would still be nice to add a few more. It's really not that difficult.

Got a call from Alberto in Calgary last night suggesting, among other things, an entry fee and prize structure: one bottle of half pints to enter, winner take all. Sounds good to me.

Since I'm leaving for Canmore tomorrow afternoon, I'm going to push up the deadline a little bit. Have your rosters in by tomorrow (Thursday), high noon. I'll post the rosters before I leave, so you can start keeping score from home. I'm back on Monday sometime, so you'll have to be patient for the first general update.

Rider list here. Rules and scoring here.

[Update (12:28pm): Don't pick Petacchi. He's been kicked out of the Tour. Too much asthma medication. Bad news for him. Good news for the other sprinters. There's a chance this could happen to a few more guys yet. Beware.]

Don't forget about the ride tonight. My place, 9:30 pm.

OTT: The National, Slow Show