Ride for Yellow, Live for Pink

Bernie and Mark (swoon)

I will admit, one of the main reasons I watch the tour at all is to catch a glimpse of Bernie Eisel or Mark Cavendish.  I am a devout follower of Breakfast with Bernie and I am considering going to Montreal in September on the off chance that HTC sends him to the Grand Prix.
Besides Bernie and Mark there is another well know Texan cyclist that I would love to meet.  Although he is officially retired from cycling, me and S remain huge fans of Lance and the amazing work he has accomplished through livestrong.  If my plans to meet Bernie fall through, Lance will be in our own backyard on September 8!  For the second year in a row, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is bringing Lance to Alberta.  This time around the Link Pink event will be in Calgary, so don’t miss your chance to grab a ticket to the dinner event. We had the chance to hear him speak last year and he truly is the most motivational and uplifting speaker I have heard. Want something more? Raise a minimum of $7,500 and you can ride with Lance.  I would go for that, but I am not fully prepared for Lance to see me in lycra : )

Because I am lacking in the tour knowledge department I am definitely not the best person to post about the tour, but J certainly is.  So for all you cycling enthusiasts, here is his analysis of the 2011 Tour de France condendors:

After only nine stages this year’s Tour de France has already been a drama-filled event.  The beauty of the tour lies not only in the battle for the yellow jersey but in the passion of the riders who make the race.  Anyone wanting to see the emotion the tour evokes first hand should watch the clip of Johnny Hoogerland crying as he receives the polka-a-dot jersey for leading the mountains classification at the end of stage nine.

Although it is still too early to draw any definitive conclusions, here are my thoughts on the top three riders that I believe will be fighting it out for the overall victory.

  1. Cadel Evans – Could this be the year?  After so many near-misses this may be the year Cadel finally wins the tour title.  So far he has looked to be the sharpest and most on-form of all the main contenders, though the climbs to date have suited his strengths.  The race has not yet hit any of the big mountain passes that will provide the true test.  Only the Alps and Pyrenees will tell if Cadel will stand on the top step of the podium in Paris for the first time.
  2. Alberto Contador – It is hard to say exactly where three-time champion Alberto Contador’s form is.  What we do know, is Contador decimated the field at the Giro d’Italia in May and may be looking to become the first rider since Marco Pantani in 1998, and only the 8th rider in history, to win both the Tour de France and the Giro in the same year.  So far, he seems to be lacking that final bit of top-end form that he displayed with devastating effect s at the Giro, raising questions about how much he has left in his legs after that demanding race.  At this stage either Contador is showing his poker face and waiting to unleash in the high mountains or he is not as strong as in past years and will have to ride a very calculated race, choosing his moments carefully.  We will know the answer in two weeks time in Paris.
  3. Andy Schleck – Second in the tour the last two years running, Andy enters this next phase of the Tour in an ideal position.  His team, Leopard Trek, boasts a poignant one-two attack with Andy’s equally talented brother Frank who will be waiting in the wings if his brother falters.  So far Andy has looked a rung below the form required to really take control of the tour.  That being said, the high mountain passes suit Andy’s riding style and he may be coming into top form at just the right time.  Andy or Frank would likely need at least a minute and a half going into the final time trial on stage 20 to defend against Evans or Contador, who are both stronger time trialists.  Watch for attacks from these two in the coming days.

Part of what makes cycling so exciting is that it is difficult to call.  We have witnessed this in the first 9 stages with multiple contenders hopes dashed through crashes and injury.  Only when the final rider crosses the finish line on the Champs-Élysées will we truly know the fate of the yellow jersey.  Stay tuned, we haven’t seen anything yet.

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  1. […] are so excited to head to Calgary next week help help out with LinkPink.  AKA the BIG event where we catch a glimpse of Lance while maintaining or calm, professional […]



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