20 July, 2009

May be no gifts in cycling, but did Lance get grief from his mom?

Since no Lance connection can go un-mentioned during the media juggernaut's Tour, here's a snippet from an interview with his mother.

"George Hincapie is my all time favorite! I have known him since he was a young up and coming rider. He has such a kind way about him and is to this day, a good friend to Lance. As Lance’s teammate, he was one heck of a good domestique (support rider to Lance). And might I add, he has one of the prettiest smiles I have ever seen. Great kid…."

The Elliott Wave Principle and the Tour de France

In Crude Oil: Tour de Forecast :

"According to mainstream economic thought -- fundamentals are to financial markets what tire pressure is to a Tour de France bicycle racer. To wit: Inflated (i.e. positive) news makes it easier for a market to soar up those steep mountain hills (i.e. price charts). AND, deflated (i.e. negative) news makes prices fall behind and struggle to climb.
In reality, however, this is NOT true. Take the Crude Oil market, for example. Over the past week, the amount of air in certain "fundamental tires" hasn't changed a bit. YET, the performance of oil prices has been all over the map."
Too bad the writer didn't fully explain the metaphor. Over inflated tires give a rough, bumpy ride, offer poor traction, and are slower than tires at the proper inflation. Under-inflated tires give a smoother ride, but are slower and risk flats.
I'm sure there's no tie to markets here.

Tour Sponsorship a Bargain

Says BusinessWeek. "The absence of marquee brands is an opportunity for midsize companies to gain international exposure for a relatively low price." I don't know how much attention the writers are paying. Credit Lyonnais, sponsor of the yellow jersey, is a pretty huge banking conglomerate. Columbia sportswear, sponsor of Columbia-HTC, doesn't seem like a midsize company to me. Rabobank is neither small, nor did it flee the sport after the doping scandals.

They also have a slide show so you can find out who all the team sponsors are.

VDV worker to star to super-domestique

For years, Christian Vande Velde toiled in relative anonymity for team leaders Lance Armstrong, Roberto Heras, Ivan Basso, and Carlos Sastre. In 2008, he put it all together and rode to fourth at the Tour. This year, after a nasty crash at the Giro nearly ruined his Tour prep, he was looking good, until the climb to Verbiers.

Now that his teammate Brad Wiggins is in third, Vande Velde seems ready to switch gears back to a worker. He gave the perfect sound byte to his hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune.

"Knowing Brad is doing so well makes it easier for me to deal with this," Vande Velde said via telephone. "It would have been harder to take if the whole team was relying on me, and I couldn't pull through. Now we shift gears, and I have a supportive role."

PVRs will lose sight of the Yellow Jersey

Sad but true: "As Cadel Evans pushes up into the mountains, many Personal Video Records will lose sight of the yellow jersey."

That's because most Personal Video Records are not up to the task, says a blogger on Australia's The Age. They can't create a true "Season Pass," because they don't have the technology.

"almost every mainstream digital recorder that you'd find on the shelf in your in local electrical bulk discount store doesn't let you create a proper Season Pass. Most devices from the likes of Sony, Panasonic and LG rely on the Electronic Program Guide embedded in the broadcast signal and can't search the guide for your favourite shows. Instead of creating a true Season Pass they create recurring recordings, which just blindly record the same timeslot each day or week rather than checking the EPG for schedule changes. Sport presents the greatest challenge because it is unpredictable and often goes into overtime."

While PVRs are not on my needs pyramid, I can see where recording fiends could get upset over this. I guess.

Christians Find Lessons in the Tour

Brad Wiggins bored the world by refusing to look past his stage 15 performance to Verbiers. "It's a day-by-day thing." No red meat to the journos, no brags, seemingly little self-congratulatory statements. It's as if he took lessons from Crash Davis personally, or watched Bull Durham on the team bus.

A Christian blogger picked up on it and used Wiggins statment to tie to "Give us each day our daily bread" in A Strategy for the Tour de France and Life - Day by Day

The Tour teaches Christians.

The Hincapie Near Miss Two Days Later

I was wrong in expecting Hincapie to concede at least five minutes on the road to Verbier. He conceded four and change.

Since there's still lots of buzz about George's near miss, here are a few extra thoughts. While Astana certainly kept the race close enough so that AG2R could pull Nocentini back into yellow, and Armstrong has basically admitted as much, it appears that Astana thought they gave George enough time, and even AG2R thought Nocentini was going to lose the jersey. With Astana, they talk about how they couldn't give someone 12 minutes at the Tour and Armstrong talked about the year they mistakenly gave 35 minutes to a breakaway in 2002. And then look at the actions of Nicholas Roche from AG2R. That team could have told Roche to drop out of the break and return to the field, but they didn't. And Roche was attacking in the final kilometers of the race, which helped speed up the breakaway. If the team thought Roche was pulling George into yellow, they would have told him to sit on.

Yesterday's radio silence

Sunday, I wanted to get in my own big ride. So I hit the hills with a friend for four hours. Since the ride coincided with the live Tour coverage, I snagged an invite to a friend's place with HD TV and a DVR. I enforced a Tour blackout on myself all day until 6pm, where I took in magnificient views of the Hudson River as well as pizza and Tour.

I think my friend called the moment when Armstrong mostly-likely conceded the Tour. It was moments after Andy Schleck attacked from the lead group to chase Contador. You can see from the helicopter that Armstrong started to wind up for two or three seconds and then didn't go.

Nothing wrong with Lance not having it after three years away from racing. It's amazing he's gotten himself back to the lead group. And kudos to Lance for quickly owning up, in front of the world, that he didn't have what it took to ride away from everyone else.

Verbier Welcomes the Tour on the web

Don't know if this is a first or not, but it's impressive all the same.

Verbier has created a website that is just about the intersection of Verbier and the Tour. Lots of details on both the town and the race. Possibly most important for Tour fans, they've posted time tables of when the tour arrives and leaves and when it passes various points.

A few things were lost in translation. Take a look at the following:

"Tour de France Competitors’ Schedule

12 :55 Fictitious start of competitors from Martigny

13:00 Start of competitors from Martigny"

The ficticious start is probably when the riders roll from the start line. the start is when they arrive at kilometer zero.