at 12.14 right now my frustration of 10.30 has abated a bit, but WHAT a frustrating stage. as with my bike rides, i probably can't remember all of them but in no particular order
> Phil's incapability to recognize who is in what group, which is to say how many times does he start talking about a "view of the leading group" when it's obvious that we're looking at the yellow jersey group and not at the leading group. the yellow jersey is quite apparent and it's been quite apparent that it was dropped .30min ago. he'll also randomly ID riders who are most certainly NOT that rider. i'm an amateur and I can recognize that it's not Kloden but Rogers and it's not Sastre but Schleck. i love Phil and have been listening to him for what is now 20yrs, but c'mon!
> OLN's pinche commerical breaks. yes, i understand that the last part of the last climb will go commercial-free, but from 10.10 to 10.50EST there were 5, count them, 5 full commercial breaks. instead of getting a feel for how the last climb was shaping up, we got 1 minute of Rasmussen and 5 minutes of commercials and 2 minutes of the fading yellow and another 5 minutes of commercials. if i were really anal i would go back through the TIVO and get the actual numbers, but i won't suffice to say frustration abounding. that said, the commercial-free final climb- or part of the final climb- is nice i guess. do like the pinche soccer shows and give us a commercial graphic instead. don't you love, though, how easy it is to gripe about coverage that lasts practically all day. i remember well the 30min highlight shows on ESPN back in the day that i tried to tape, only to find that they were shown not at 12.20a.m., but had moved to 1.30a.m., with me thereby getting iceskating on tape.
> Disco, Disco, Disco, my how the mighty have fallen. i'm still a Disco fan, and i'm still a George fan, but has a "great" team fallen more badly without its leader? T-Mobile ended up eventually going backwards a bit, but they still had Kloden and Rogers ahead of Azevedo, and Sinkowitz ahead of Popo. what, what a comeuppance. what a terrible Tour. and poor George. how do these guys ride in the last group one year- Chechu, Jose, George, etc.- and the next 1 rider barely finishes in the top-20. maybe Bruyneel is not the genius he's made to be. maybe Lance is that much better and these guys are goats.
> where's the beef?, the commentators made the same observation that i had on the Aspin, where's the damn racing? what are the secondary riders thinking? why won't anyone attack? nothing's happening!!!!! the final climb made up for some of that with brilliant performances from Landis, Menchov and Leipheimer, Evans and Sastre, but why not some of these others? the pace wasn't even that high b/c it yet again took so long to pull the leader back. what a bizarre Tour. it's obvious that no single team is nearly close enough to control the race, so a Moreau or a Simoni should get up the road and make these guys chase; i don't think T-Mobile or Phonak can pull them back.
> did i mention the flaccid Disco?
i guess that's it for the moment. what an experience! imagine poor Levi if he had even halved his first TT loss.
follows are the standing according to TourdeFrance2006 Blog
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, 49:18:07
2) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at :08
3) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 1:01
4) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 1:17
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:52
6) Andreas KlÃ¶den, T-Mobile, Germany, at 2:29
7) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 3:22
8) Juan Miguel Mercado, Agritubel, Span, at 3:33
9) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 3:44
10) Marcus Fothen, Gerolsteiner, Germany, at 4:17
**in the middle of the stage, i was saying to myself that the top 3 would be a combo of Kloden, Floyd and Menchov. if my laptop still worked, i would've posted as such, but alas. this stage furthers that notion. Menchov and Floyd seem to be the strongest, maybe by a good measure. Kloden is still in the game. maybe Evans or Sastre can pull off a big Alpine stage. look at that leader board though. all pretenders compared to Lance, Jan, and Ivan. they're all clean, though, right?