Le Tour- Stage 15

Limoux to Montpellier 120 miles.

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

So Alberto gives up another 2 Seconds to Andy.  No big deal right?  He’ll make it up in the Time Trial.

Time ticks on filled with wouldas, shouldas, and couldas.

This was Contador’s bread and butter on his home court, there is no reason to expect it gets any better.  Who are the best of the rest?

Smart money is on the two Schlecks even though they’re not the trialers Alberto is reputed to be.  Cadel Evans- Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy!  Basso.  Sammy Sanchez if you simply must root for a Spaniard (you Alonso fans know who you are).  Cunego is not too far behind.

But pretty much everyone else is and though the Alps are not very far away it’s the same legs as the Pyrenees.

A person who could surprise is Voeckler, he is after all actually wearing the maillot jaune and did much better than expected in the High Mountains.  He’s 1:40 clear of the competition and it could be a magical year for the Frenchman even though fairytales are usually found in the fiction section.

Today’s Stage is the last flat before Paris with just one piddly category 4 so you can expect a sprinter show.  The checkpoint is right before the finish and I expect that someone will gun for the double.

Tomorrow is the second rest day, but I’ll be posting on the results and setup for the Alps.  At 2:45 ET the U.S. Women’s Football Team will be competing for the World Cup against Japan on ESPN and unless some kind and more knowledgeable person posts first I’ll be covering that later.

Vs. joins in progress at 8 am.


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  1. System performing like a slug.  This is my 5th reboot this morning.

    Underway,  5 rider break.

  2. Phil- Greipel

    Bob- Farrar

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  3. Photobucket

    Limoux (Occitan: Limos) is a commune and subprefecture in the Aude department, a part of the ancient Languedoc province and the present-day Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. It lies on the river Aude about 30 km (19 mi) due south of Carcassonne.

    The town is perhaps best known for its Winter festival called fecas [‘fekos], often referred to (inaccurately) as a Carnival or fête. It is generally referred to as Carnaval de Limoux in French language. This takes place between January and Easter and is conducted in Occitan, the traditional language of the area (In Occitan the word fecas is the name of a dance characteristic of the festival). As of 2011 the wine Festival “Toques et Clochers” will be held in Limoux every spring.

    The cafe scene is dominant in Limoux where food and drink represent the dominant cultural pastime.


    The heart of the town is the place de la République, a wide square with some fine stone arcading and a number of timber framed houses. Limoux straddles the River Aude and the banks are lined with grand houses, especially on the eastern side, the so-called Petite Ville (lit. “Small City”).

    Limoux is an attractive place with a wonderful sense of fun. The town likes to party in a most unself-conscious way and for its own pleasure rather than for the sake of tourists. While worth visiting in itself, it is also an excellent base for discovering the history of the region and is ideally placed for exploring the coast, the mountains and some of the finest walking country in France.

  4. =Photobucket

    for a really spectacular picture go to the wiki site

    Carcassonne (Occitan: Carcassona) is a fortified French town in the Aude department, of which it is the prefecture, in the former province of Languedoc.

    It is divided into the fortified Cité de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the ville basse. Carcassone was founded by the Visigoths in the Golden Age. The folk etymology – involving a châtelaine named Carcas, a ruse ending a siege and the joyous ringing of bells (“Carcas sona”) – though memorialized in a neo-Gothic sculpture of Mme. Carcas on a column near the Narbonne Gate, is of modern invention. The fortress, which was thoroughly restored in 1853 by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.

  5. Photobucket

    It has taken centuries – a thousand years, even – for the agricultural area of ‘Monte Pestelario’ to become the Montpellier of today, with its magnificent mansions, the Place de la Canourgue, Saint-Peter’s cathedral, and the Peyrou royal garden bearing witness to its past greatness. Historical figures such as Jacques Coeur, finance minister to King Charles VII, have done much for the city’s reputation. The Peyrou royal garden is at the highest point of the city, and is home to a magnificent bronze statue of Louis XIV – the so-called Sun King – in whose honour the garden was built. While still boasting a sumptuous historic centre, Montpellier has had to grow and adapt to accommodate an unprecedented growth in population. New neighbourhoods include Antigone, Malbosc, Odysseum, Ovalie and Port Marianne, helping to make Montpellier the eighth largest city in France, and one of Southern Europe’s economic capitals.

    France’s most dynamic city in terms of its population is also used to seeing the Tour’s riders come out of nowhere, who typically fight it out there in a sprint. In any event, this was the scenario of the last two straight stages, which were won in 2005 and in 2007 by Robbie McEwen and Robert Hunter respectively. As luck would have it, Montpellier has become an unusual feature in statistical terms in the history of the Tour de France. Indeed, the prefecture of Hérault hosted the 500th stage of the Grande Boucle (Big Loop) in 1936. Almost 30 years later, in 1963, another Belgian cyclist, édouard Sels, won the stage there, on the day that the 1000th stage took place!

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    Cessenon-sur-Orb, is a charming village adjacent the dramatic river Orb, where nearby is a renowned center for canoeing and kayaking. At the center of the village the 14th century church, overlooks a large public square, often used for concerts in the Summer.

  7. Niki Terpstra, Michael Delage, Samuel Dumoulin, Michail Ignatuev and Antony Delaplace with 62 km to go.

  8. coming up to the finish

  9. Cavendish will wear the yellow jersey.

  10. … that he gave up two Schleconds, but that he failed to take any time on Evans. Its one thing to be together with one of the main rivals at the high end of a mountain top finish, but to be together with such a large group indicates that Contador is not able to shake any of them. And even if Voeckler is not considered a big threat, due to time trialing, and the young Belgian rider is too far behind now to be a threat … if Basso turned in a peak performance in the ITT, he could push Contador off the podium.

    Indeed, depending on how they are feeling on the day, Evans or Contador might do better in the ITT, but the short odds are on Evans, and the odds of Contador picking up 1:40min on Evans in the ITT are long … that is basically betting on Evans crashing or bonking. And while both Evans and Contador can count on picking up a minute or more on Frank Schleck, Andy Schleck has gotten much better in terms of time trialing, and if the stars align might even ride even with Contador and/or Evans.

    Contador won the Giro Italia this year, and seems to be showing why its been so long since anyone has done the Giro/Tour double in the same year. Not only does he not seem to have the snap to take time on Evans in the mountain top finishes and turn it into a two man race … his team does not seem to have the legs to stay with him and help him out into the lower stretches of a mountain top finish.

  11. after explaining the hard yacka that follows from finishing at the top of a plateau in the Pyrenees, describes today’s stage:

    Today everybody was hoping for an easy stage, you know where an early breakaway gets away without lots of attacking and we just ride tempo for a while. I think a lot of people were hoping for what I was hoping for because, well, I think a lot of guys are in the “hurt bag!”

    Fortunately, that is what happened for all of us hurting. A break went away early and we just slowly reeled it in before the final sprint.

    I couldn’t have asked for more, save, perhaps a little less wind. Today was so windy! It actually made me think of the song, “She’s like the wind,” from the movie Dirty Dancing. Now to be honest, I hate this movie! And I don’t even have the soundtrack, but somehow, I just couldn’t get the song out of my head!

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