Velominati Super Prestige: Le Tour de France, Stage 20

Reach for your recovery drink of choice, grab a little massage if you can, load up on carbs tonight, and get ready for the ultimate showdown for final Tour glory tomorrow to be contested in 41 kilometers contra la montre. I’m talking about the fans, not the riders, obviously. Because these last two days have nearly killed us.

This is anyone’s time trial. At 41km, it’s just long enough for Cadel to pull one out, and it’s just short and hilly enough for Andy to retain enough of his lead. Sure, Evans will certainly beat the Grimplette, but by how much? In last year’s final ITT, Andy almost pulled out the upset, until the wind kicked up and the youngster’s sit up and beg TT position had him more sail that sailor. It’s hilly enough to give the climbers a chance of staying in it, and the long descent to the finish will play to the fastmen against the clock.

Will his new Maillot Juane play Redbull to Andy and give him wings? Or will the scent of Yellow drag the Cadelamonster to his prize? Both Andy and Cadel know what it’s like to stand on the second step of the podium. Neither wants to stand there again. And both riders are different men than they were the last time it happened. Both have been hardened by the bitter taste of defeat that lingers long on the tongue.

I, for one, can hardly take it any more. Vive le Tour.

You know the drill, get your picks in by 5am Pacific tomorrow morning. Good luck.



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266 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Le Tour de France, Stage 20”

  1. Thanks Alpin, those are great photos. I checked in first here this morning to see if Cadel had won and instead found Leroy. But – Thanks again Alpin, they are fantastic photos and it’s great to see shots that arent’ cropped for the magazines and websites – love some of the spectators in the photos who, couldn’t care less, then some who look like their heads are going to explode.
    And Cadel, Im speechless. The aero properties of the bumchin are now proven in the TDF: Aussie supermodels will be lining up for surgery. Classrooms of Aussie children will be filled with Cadels and Cadelinas. Go you fucken little ripper!

  2. @pakrat
    Enjoy the Fosters. Australians don’t! They haven’t sold it here for about 30 years!@eightzero

    Tweet from the ET says his “bad luck continued today.” Did he crash, mechanical? Or just suck?

    Can only guess that eggtimers autocorrect must have inserted “luck” when he wrote “form”.

  3. @Minion

    you’ right about spectators… these two more!

    casual saturday eating a fruit outdside / totally concentrated to main²tain a 50km/h average

  4. Sadly Blundstone are now mostly made in NZ rather than their Tasmanian home.
    But don’t worry there will be heaps of Blunnie wearers celebrating Cadel.
    We’re just waiting on Matt Goss to get some stage wins next year, and then for Richie Porte to be on the podium in a couple of years.

  5. @Joshua
    +1. The Schlecks used to be terrible at TTs. They are now merely a bit below average. But as @frank noted, they still need to improve their weaknesses.

  6. @Alpin

    This guy looked to me like a disguised super-villain retired in Florida.

    Nah. That’s just Brett hanging on out Aussie Sunday/Real World Saturday.

  7. Wow – what a stage. My plans were sweaty and my heart was thumping cheering on our Aussie cadelephant in the wee hours this morning. I’ll be buzzing for days from this one. Cadelephantitus in bucketloads this tour. He won it on the slopes of the Galibier when he. hauled the rest of the peloton with him clawing back Grimplettes lead. He was the most complete rider of this TdF and a well deserved winner. And wow I came 4th. In the Superprestige! Damn just off the podium!

    Woohoo Cadel!!!

  8. @Joshua

    I don’t want to be too charitable to the Schleck fellas here after a less than stellar time trial, but give credit where credit is due and don’t take away too much from the brothers Grimp. 16th and 17th at 2 minutes out in the final TdF TT obviously didn’t cut it, but it’s also not terrible in the way folks are making it out to be. Should they work on the TT skills (and mental approach)? Yes. Does it stand in stark contrast to other yellow Jersey TTs of the recent past? Yes. But as this a horrible display of te anti-V? I don’t think so.
    The bottom line here is that the Schlecks didn’t lose the tour as much as Cadel simply won it. He won it in the time trial, sure, but he also won it yesterday on Alps D’Huez and especially the previous day in his one-man assault on the final climb. Reclaimed 2 full minutes from Andy, with a full host of favorites in tow. Pure V. Yes the Schlecks are weaker in the TT, but the real difference here was how Cadel was able to hang with their strength in the mountains, then recover and dominate contre le montre. Chapeau to Good Cadel.

    Agreed completely. Pretending that Frank and Andy were pussies only cheapens Cadels win.

    I say Chapeau to all the riders in the top 10; almost without exception, they showed some serious class in this, one of the best Tour ever.

    None of these guys are soft. This was hard racing, and let’s remember that this was a race where the strongest rider won – it was not a matter of softest who lost. Cadel was superior against a very strong competitor in Andy Schleck, who did not make it easy for him. That only goes to give credit to Cadel.

    This after a stalemate in the Pyrenees and Andy gambling everything he had on the only way he could possibly win this Tour: a long-distance hail-mary. And it almost worked.

    The next day, Contador, the guy who has won every Grand Tour he had entered since 2007 (with the notable exception of this one) tried the same tactic and was caught again before the last climb. That should tell you a little something about how hard it is to make a move like that stick.

    Andy lost the Tour, but he went down after burning all his matches on the only chance he had. I say Chapeau to les Freres Grimpeur for their work. And Chapeau to Cadelephant for riding a near-perfect Tour and taking a well-deserved win. And, lastly, Frandy need to get on a TT bike and train with Faboo on both TT’ing and descending.

    That reminds me: as most of you know, my name is pronounced “Fronk”, not “Frank”. At work, I joke that “Frank” is an asshole, a complete fuckup who never does anything right. “Fronk” is a great, charming, intelligent man who always exceeds expectations. “Be careful which one you invite to meetings.”, I always tell people who mess up my name.

    I think Les Freres Grimpeur, Grimpelder, and the Grimplette are amazing athletes who channel the V. I think Frandy are a couple of guys who suck at TT’s and complain when a sketchy descent is included in a race.

  9. @Alpin
    A+1. Phenomenal photos. You’ve made my day again.


    Remember the Death of the Grand Tour? Yeah, well, Cuddles can do it all.

    That’s exactly right. But he’s not the best at any of it, which is why this was such a great Tour. Death of the Grand Tour was based on riders like Contador winning on the mountaintops as well as in the TT’s. Cadel limited his losses in the mountains and took advantage of his strength. He’s good enough in all disciplines to win the Tour, but he only took home one stage, a short, steep finish that was more suited to classics riders than climbers or TTers.

    You couldn’t ask for a better example of how to resurrect the Grand Tour: have a rider win who excelled at all disciplines but was the best in none of them.

  10. Cadelephantitus:
    Riding in yellow with a fractured elbow last year.
    Coming second twice.
    Sticking to his guns in terms of riding style despite his distractors.
    THAT stage win at the Giro (Stage 7 2010)
    World Champion 2009.
    Being a tour contendor on Omega – Pharma with limited team support.
    Having the common sense to give up mountain bikes to ride with the grown ups.
    And he’s ben knocking on the door for a decade, riding through the Lance/Lance V2 era, Contador’s dominant performances. Get me to a doctor cos I’m raging with it.

  11. @Abdu Whereareyou
    Tomo went a little Daryl Somers on us, and I’m sure he held back a man cry of joy!
    So happy for Cadel and his team, and so happy for Australian cycling for what Cadel and all aussie riders, past & present to lay down the path of respect aussies have in a friggin tough as sport.
    How many Pro teams now have a aussie in its management?!

    I’m up for a proud man cry in Paris!

  12. @Alpin

    He will be introducing the mirror to FrAndy so they can keep their heads facing straight down the road!
    Did Cadel ever really look over his shoulder this whole tour?!!!

  13. @ Minion – spot on. Don’t forget pipping c-odor on the line at Fleche W, too!

    That Giro stage is still perhaps the greatest I’ve watched.

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