Monday, July 19, 2010
NOTE: I’ve added a “2010 Tour de France” tag to all the tour posts to make it easier to find all the stages.
Tag: 2010 Tour de France
Tour de France, Stage 15
Pamiers to Bagnères-de-Luchon – 187.5 km
With 20 km to go, with the four contenders to the Yellow Jersey in the process of kicking it into the downhill of the Port de Balès to the finish, Andy Schleck’s chain pops off it’s front sprocket. Two things can happen when this occurs; either you get lucky and get it back on by adjusting the de-railer, or you have to get off the bike and put it back on by hand.
Schleck tried the de-railer trick as he rolled slowly down the road with 2nd place Alberto Contador, 3rd place Samuel Sanchez and 4th place Denis Menchov powering by him. Schleck eventually has to dis-mount to put it back on by hand; but now he can’t seem to get the simple thing to slip onto the sprockets.
Image from: Pez Cycling News
Finally with the help of a Tour de France mechanic who happened to be there, they get it to do what it’s supposed to do – and off he goes – but he’s lost the 31 second gap he had over Alberto Contador for Yellow.
In yesterday’s coverage of the race here, I opined that the full stop showdown between Schleck and Contador near the end of the stage could come back to haunt the riders, especially Contador who was playing the others game. Both rider’s massive ego’s left them balancing in the middle of the road while race contenders flew by yesterday.
That kind of vanity, where an individual seems to see themselves as larger than the sport, greater than the Pyrenees mountains and better than any other bicycle rider on earth, in the great race of life – tends to get slapped down by fate.
Fate stepped in and dealt a warning slap to Schleck today.
Perhaps if Schleck hadn’t been challenging Contador with these mind games all race long, maybe Contador might have waited for him to make the repair, maybe Sanchez and Menchov might have seen that and done like-wise… or maybe not…
The Game of Brinkmanship
Schleck 0 – Fate 1
After the race Schleck said he wouldn’t have taken advantage of a mechanical problem to gain advantage. He referenced stage 2 where he waited for riders after crashes. He said, “I have rage in my stomach, I will have my revenge.”
Ryder Hesdejal, a comparative rookie to these racers, said in an interview right after the race that he didn’t see anything wrong with what the top three did in leaving Schleck behind. In a typical Canadian way Hesdejal wouldn’t take the bait and provide the quote the reporter was salivating for — a quote like, ‘Yeah, those guys are a**holes for doing that’ — was not forthcoming.
Ryder Hesjedal (16th place in the stage, + 3:55) rode with, and finished with, the greats again today, and as a result picked up 3 places in the overall – now 10th in the 2010 Tour de France.
Oh, and by the way, the nicest guy in the 2010 Tour, France’s Thomas Voeckler won today’s stage 15. Voeckler made a breakaway early and, for only the second time in this years tour, a breakaway sustained all the way to the end.
To the happy cheers of Le Francois crowding the finish area, Thomas Voeckler finished all alone – 1:20 ahead of the 2nd and 3rd place riders Alessandro Ballan and Aito Perez Arrieta.
Interview with stage 15 winner, Thomas Voeckler
Stage and Overall Standings after Stage 15 @ letour.fr
Posted: July 19th, 2010
Author: michael holloway
Filed under: Uncategorized
Tags: 2010 Tour de France | No Comments »