2009 Tour de France Rumor Roundup
Here are the good bits, summarized for your water-cooler gossiping pleasure:
- Cancellara accused Contador of drafting the motorbikes during Thursday’s final Individual Time Trial when the Yellow Jersey trounced his Olympic Time Trial winning compatriot. Ã‚Â But here’s the deal: It’s the motorcycles’ responsibilities not to interfere with the riders, not vice versa.
- Armstrong bailed on Contador’s team celebration Saturday night, opting instead to have “aÃ‚Â few extra glasses of wine than I would have normally done” while entertaining higher ups from future team sponsor Radio Shack.
- Jokes abounded following Thursday’s announcement of the Radio Shack deal, with one of our favorites being “Bruyneel to Armstrong: We’re not going to win today’s time trial, how can we upstage Contador? Armstrong: I have an idea…
- Contador’s win makes this the fourth straight Tour de France won by a Spaniard, and Spanish press are hailing Alberto Contador as he “king of the Tour.” Ã‚Â He won it in 2007, and Oscar Pereiro won in 2006, Carlos Sastre in 2008. Ã‚Â It’s a shame they accidentally played the Danish national anthem when Contador was on the podium…maybe that explains Armstrong’s curious facial expression (above, and at the link. Is it me, or does Lance look like a young George W Bush there?).
- Greg Lemond, after witnessing Contador’s climb up Verbier and drubbing of Cancellara in the final time trial, passively accused Contador of doping. Ã‚Â When pressed on the issue by a journalist, Contador twice ducked the question, then passed on discussing his VO2 max as well. Ã‚Â Given the massive testing efforts, Contador so far is clean, and Tour de France chief Christian Prudhomme remains cautiously optimistic that this year’s race has proven the race can be run clean.
- Bruyneel will be leaving Team Astana, citing conflicts with team sponsors and not liking the infighting between Armstrong and Contador. Ã‚Â One of the pivotal moments was when Contador attacked on Stage 17 against Bruyneel’s orders, effectively pushing Armstrong and Kloden off the podium and giving second place to Andy Schleck.
- There’s no doubt it was a disappointing Tour for Cadel Evans, but the final days’ posts on his website/blog are fairly upbeat.
- Sure, Armstrong will be back next year, with a vengeance. Ã‚Â But French riders have hope in your Brice Felliu, who performed exceptionally well. Ã‚Â And the Schleck brothers’ antics of testing everyone all the time should continue to make the Tour interesting without Lance’s star power. Ã‚Â But there’s no denying that seeing Armstrong face off against Contador next year will be stellar…let’s hope and pray no one’s busted for anything between now and then. Ã‚Â Unrelated, does anyone else think of the “twins” from the Matrix when they see the Schlecks riding around playfully at the front of the peloton?