OT - Tour de France stage 3

Submitted by jmblue on July 3rd, 2012 at 1:11 AM

The Tour leaves Belgium and enters the host country today.  The bulk of the day looks relatively leisurely, but that back end, with several categorized climbs and rapid descents, could be interesting: 

The forecast calls for rain, which could make some of those descents challenging.  We could see some early separation among the GC contenders.

 

Comments

stephenrjking

July 3rd, 2012 at 1:21 AM ^

Look for everyone to be cautious. A hillier stage in the Ardennes two years ago wound up being neutralized by the riders (led by then-as-now yellow jersey wearer Fabien Cancellara) because of an oil-and-moisture induced crash that decimated the field. Any significant GC events will be accidents, or, less likely, field splits--I would not expect to see any real moves from the contenders here.

The uphill finish should be interesting. It is script-written for Phil Gilbert, but there are a dozen guys who could put in surprising pushes for the win. Or not-so-surprising, if Peter Sagan is one of them. Expect Sagan to be there to collect points even if he can't win.

tdcarl

July 3rd, 2012 at 3:20 AM ^

Man, its amazing how these guys can throw down centuries day after day for nearly 3 weeks with only 2 rest days. The kind of shape these guys are in is just insane.

K2

July 3rd, 2012 at 10:16 AM ^

yesterdays stage was 198km

todays is 208km

the only stages that aren't at least 100 mi are the individual time trials and the steepest of the mountain stages

IronDMK

July 3rd, 2012 at 8:57 AM ^

Ever heard of Floyd Landis, Alberto Contador, Tyler Hamilton, Jan Ulrich, Marco Pantani?  Of those, 4 won the tour.  There are many more that have been caught.  If you're ignorant to a topic, best to just keep quiet.

maizenbluenc

July 3rd, 2012 at 5:00 PM ^

I consider Landis a loser. He got caught.

Based on the number of prominent winners, and leaders who have been caught, it is apparent to me that the sport is really a game of cat and mouse with some serious cycling in between.

Granted the Tour is grueling.

snarling wolverine

July 3rd, 2012 at 5:31 PM ^

Do you think other sports are cleaner than cycling?  Is there something about cycling that attracts guys interested in using PEDs . . . or is it just that cycling tests more rigorously?

I suspect that in just about any high-level sport, there are going to be dopers out there.  The potential reward is too great.  Look how many MLB players turned out to be using steroids, for instance.

jmblue

July 3rd, 2012 at 2:09 PM ^

Cycling has the most stringent anti-doping controls of any sport.  That's why it gets in the news for it - so many riders have gotten caught in the act.  If they wanted to look the other way, we'd have never heard of any of this.  Take a look at the anti-doping policies in other sports.

Alberto Contador, a former Tour champion, is currently banned for two years for testing positive once for a trace amount of  clenbuterol.  That same test result would earn him a couple months' suspension in the NFL and MLB, and a five-game suspension in the NBA.  Those leagues also test much less frequently than cycling does.  And in college sports, outside of NCAA playoff competition, testing is basically the honor system - schools do it (or claim to) themselves.  

jmdblue

July 3rd, 2012 at 8:48 AM ^

IMO it's the best event in the world outside M football.  This stage sets up nicely for both Wiggins and Evans if they were interested in the win (they won't be here).  Too bad Thor isn't riding this year.  Today sets up nice for him.

IronDMK

July 3rd, 2012 at 8:53 AM ^

I love watching the Tour.  I get the online access so I can have it on while I work.  The recap shows just aren't good enough.  These guys are amazing athletes for sure.  The fact that they finish the last 10k or so at 40mph on a flat course and then sprint for the line is crazy.  That's an incredible amount of power.  I have no idea how they can do it for 20 days.

maizenblue87

July 3rd, 2012 at 6:31 PM ^

I totally agree as well. I love watching the TDF. Most interesting was 2003 when

- Lance Armstrong had his brakes accidentally applied through a whole mountain stage

- Joseba Beloki had the terrible crash on a descent

- Lance's handlebar caught a spectator's bag and he wiped out, then went on to win the stage

- Jan Ulrich wiped out in the rain on the final time trial, which sealed Armstrong's victory.

AA2Denver

July 3rd, 2012 at 9:53 AM ^

I like Friere or Voekler today, I just don't think the peloton will stick together for a sprint but if they do of course I'll take Cav.

The Tdf is cool.  I like the Spring Classics more but any cycling is good cycling if you're a fan.

 

MMB 82

July 3rd, 2012 at 9:58 AM ^

DVRing the live broadcast vs watching one of the edited rebroadcasts later; usually if it is a flat stage the later showings are fine, but the major mountain stages are definitely worth watching live. It's just difficult to devote 4+ hours to watching an event.

Also, Speedplay or Look?

AA2Denver

July 3rd, 2012 at 10:28 AM ^

 

Speedplay. Super easy to get in and out, descent clearance for cornering, I like the feeling of how freely you can move in them. The weight difference is negligible when you compare the complete system.  However, I haven't tried the new Keo Blades which look very nice and seem to be popular.