2010 Tour de France – Stage 19 Wrap-Up

2010 Tour de France - Cancellara Wins Stage 19

Fotoreporter Sirotti

I’m certain to have missed the time cut by now, but here’s my two cents anyway:

1. Is Fabian Cancellara to Tony Martin and time trials what Alberto Contador is to Andy Schleck and the Tour de France?  Discuss.

2. Seriously though, I thought I learned my lesson the first 3 times I bet against Fabian Cancellara.  Mark my words: as soon as I pick him to win Worlds, Tony Martin will get his victory.

2010 Tour de France - Zabriskie in Stage 19

Fotoreporter Sirotti

3. While David Zabriskie didn’t finish where I predicted he would (third), he did have a heck of a good day (fifth).  Unfortunately, that seems to be about as good as it’s gonna get internationally for DZ.  He just doesn’t seem to have it anymore—nor does he seem to care.

2010 Tour de France - Menchov in Stage 19

Fotoreporter Sirotti

4. As for Denis Menchov, let’s give some credit where it’s due. He rode the first half of the season “his way”, placing all his eggs in the Tour’s basket—and it paid-off.  For a rider often known for bad luck, crashes, and bad days, he “didn’t put a foot wrong,” as Phil and Paul liked to say.  Now the big question: where does Menchov go from here?  In my opinion, the Vuelta would be a good way to end his season on a high note.  He’s won the race before and looks to be the cream of the crop given the other riders likely to start.

5. Menchov’s gain was Samuel Sanchez’s loss—despite the Spaniard’s best efforts, he dropped one spot from the podium’s final step.  For Euskaltel, it’s their best Tour finish since, well—ever.  And for a rider with two top-10’s in the Tour and four top-10’s (and two podiums) in the Vuelta, it’s time to give Sanchez the title of Best Euskaltel Rider—ever.

6. VDBeke/VDBTwee/VDB2 didn’t quite record the time I thought he would (Carlos Sastre beat him for cryin’ out loud), but he held his place, and will finish fifth in the 2010 Tour de France—the best Tour finish for a Belgian since—would someone please check that for me?  (Seriously, I’m tired of implying he’s the next Eddy Merckx.) And let me know how you find out—because I’ve been looking.

7. And speaking of Carlos Sastre, how ‘bout his day?  Sure, he only finished 48th, but look at some of the riders he bettered: Ryder Hesjedal, Nicolas Roche, Lance Armstrong, Chris Horner, Janez Brajkovic, and Jurgen Van den Broeck to name a few.  Could we be reading a bit too much into it?  Yes.  But it’s interesting to note nonetheless.

8. And finally, there are a lot of statistical analyses floating around attempting use data to prove whether or not this year’s Tour was ridden on bread and water alone.  While I appreciate the efforts, I think there is a much simpler litmus test: today’s results.  While 52 kilometers is by no means a short distance for an individual time trial, it’s by now means the longest in the last 10 years.  In my opinion, today’s time gaps speak to 2 things: the difficulty of this year’s race and the “human” performances of its competitors.

Yes, the wind changed, a contributing factor in the gaps between the specialists and the contenders, but when only one of the race’s top-10 men on GC finishes in the first 30 in the penultimate day’s time trial, that tells me something.

9. Oh, and for those of you who feel there’s no justice in the world anymore, there’s always John Gadret.

Share your comments below.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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6 Responses to 2010 Tour de France – Stage 19 Wrap-Up

  1. Baruch Brodersen says:

    VDB2’s 2010 finish will be the best for a Belgian since Kurt Van de Wouwer placed 11th in 1999 (23’32”)
    1998 was the last time a Belgian cracked the top ten. Axel Merckx was 10th that year at 17’39”

  2. Baruch Brodersen says:

    Correction, VDB2’s finish is the best Belgian performance in the TdF since Claude Criquielion placed 5th in 1986
    Other notable Belgian placements the the intervening years:
    1990 Claude Criquielion, 9th (12’04”)
    1993 Johann Bruyneel, 7th (18’04”)

    Last Belgian to hold the Malliot Jaune: Tom Boonen, 2006, stages 3-6

    Last Belgian to podium: 1976, Lucien van Impe, 3rd

  3. Baruch Brodersen says:

    2nd correction:
    Lucien van Impe was 3rd in 1977. In 1976 he won the Tour.

  4. Nico says:

    John Gadret…. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, i was wondering what that comment was about and just found him in the standings for the ITT. I was looking through all the names and finally found him.


    I laughed pretty hard when I saw that.

    KARMA is a bitch.

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