Monday, July 13, 2009

Sweetness in Seattle

Like Jay, Jonny N's Tour got off to a rather inauspicious start. He spent the first several days hanging out with the Fraggle at the bottom of the pool. But his fortunes turned around yesterday thanks to Pellizotti, Freire, and Ballan. He picks up 285 points and his first stage win of the 2009 FGBC Tour de France Pool. And it looks like he's bid the Fraggle farewell for good. He's no longer a bottom feeder, having moved up 14 spots over the last three days. But then again, the Fraggle herself is no longer at the very bottom of the pool either. She had an uncharacteristically good day yesterday and has moved out of last place for the first time since the race began. She may well get it back yet, but Mark S is holding the lanterne rouge for now.

Second place on stage 9 goes to Prince Dan. He picked up 250 points and moves into 5th overall. Greg tied with the Fraggle for third place with 190 points. Greg just missed the podium in the FGBC Giro Pool, finishing 4th in his vicarious racing debut. And after yesterday's stage he has moved up to 4th overall in the TdF Pool. A promising talent, this young lad from the Lunchbucket City is one to keep an eye on.

In the overall race, Andy has regained the lead. He's back ahead of Melissa by just 25 points. And Brad is still in third place, another 130 points back of Melissa.

As for the real race, does anybody really care? Pez has got you covered.

Today is a rest day. Sadly, it's only mildly less exciting than the the last couple of stages in the Pyrenees have been. Why they've placed the big mountaintops 70 km from the finish this year escapes me. Unless they were hoping that this would keep everything close until the final week. In which case, one has to wonder why they reintroduced the real-time TTT. But everyone promises it will be different in the Alps. They better make good on that promise or Dallas is going to have a coronary. If nothing else, it looks like the Armstrong-Contador situation is about to erupt. Or is it all just a bluff? Lance and Johan can be so clever with their caginess. It's probably safest not to take anything at face value with those two.

Taking stock of the 2009 FGBC Tour de France Pool, here are a couple of things to ponder. After nine stages, we've had eight different winners. Only Andy has managed a repeat showing atop the podium. But the overall standings have been remarkably steady despite all that daily fluctuation. So far, the GC battle has seen only two leaders. Either Andy and Melissa have been in the lead since the beginning. And other than brief appearances by Chris O and Mike, Brad has had a solid grip on third place. After those three, though, there's been pretty much constant variation as the standings have been thoroughly rearranged after each stage. Matt H, Bill, and Jonny N have each lost two riders. Another 20 teams are down to eight men. But at the first rest day, the teams in the pool are surprisingly intact.

Results and standings here.


Lars said...

I had commented to my RRR guys about the possibility the whole Contador/Armstrong being a bluff, interesting to see someone else entertain the thought (even if it is unlikely) as well.

But hey - Astana sure is getting a whole lot of press coverage over this, eh? Kinda what the whole tour is all about anyway, sadly (publicity), so there may be something to it - at least, motivation for Astana stoke the fires if nothing else.

KK said...

Yes, due to all the Astana publicity my family has re-booked our August holidays. How could we fight off the magnetic pull of the robin egg blue and yellow any longer?

We're now going to Kazakhstan—can't wait!

PS - its funny how LA is riding for cancer awareness and we never hear anything about that

Anonymous said...

I thought about the bluff thing also but in all the books I've read about Armstrong (Sherry is a HUGE fan) I know that he's way to proud to become a domestique.

Oh and I'm reading the new lance book as we speak. So far so good but it's got a few gems in there I didn't think lance would agree to.

Dallas " When does cross season start again?" Sigurdur

Lars said...

Hey KK, no one said Astana (Kazakhstan) was spending their budget wisely, but it doesn't change the fact that the tour is more about advertising and visibility than anything else. I can't tell you why Kazakhstan decided to promote itself with a cycling team, but they did.

PS - LA riding for cancer - well, every time you see him he's wearing livestrong gear. And how often have you heard about how people are complaining he isn't wearing Astana gear, but rather his own livestrong colors (helmet throughout the whole tour so far, for example - every stage the comments about his helmet are discussed)? Yes, every time you hear that, it is advertising for cancer research. Probably more palatable for the masses than Lance declaring EVERY SINGLE DAY that he is only riding for cancer research. that would get old. but the fact that he isn't making any money at all by riding this year says more than declaring each stage that he's riding for cancer.

So maybe LA can put the cause ahead of being brash. Or maybe he's just egocentric and it's all about proving he can still do it. I guess it's all in how one wants to see it, since there isn't anything definitive, as far as I can see.