Tag Archives: tour de france

Jens Voigt crash in Stage 16 of the Tour de France

You might have heard that Jens Voigt crashed in today’s stage (16) of the Tour de France.  From  “Little Known Facts About Jens Voigt” we know that Jens is as tough as they come, but crashing in a bike race is no fun.

Let’s hope that Jens is OK and has a speedy recovery.

What to do on a Tour de France rest day? How about some bike dancing?

Lovers of the movie Footloose might disagree, but I think this scene from the 1986 classic, Quicksilver, is Bacon’s best on-screen-dance-scene.

Tour de France Report – Monte Carlo

Tour de France Stage 2

Jess and I are back from our European vacation and we had an amazing trip. I won’t talk about our whole trip in this post; instead, I’ll focus on the first two stages of the Tour de France we caught in Monte Carlo.

Stage 1

livestrong crowd

The crowds at the opening time trial were amazing. To our surprise, there was actually a lot of support for Lance. I saw countless French, Italians, etc. wearing Livestrong gear from head-to-toe.

Lance warming up for the TT

Lance wore a Livestrong jersey during his warm-up on course – one of the benefits of racing for free (Lance doesn’t pull a salary from Astana).

We decided to walk to the top of the TT course where the riders do a 180 before the last climb. This was a great spot since we got to see the riders coming looking down the cliff and then could move to the barriers to see them suffering up the climb.

Kevin D from our perch on the TT course

Kevin D from our perch on the TT course

Kevin D and I were constantly trying to predict who was going to end up in the top 5 based on how they looked as we saw them zoom by.

Dave Zabriskie tearing up the TT course

Several riders looked really strong, like Garmin’s Dave Zabriskie (owner of my favorite chamois creme – DZ Nuts) above. However, there was no doubt Cancellara was going to win. He shot passed us on the climb like he was riding a Vespa. Cancellara’s winning time of 19:32 puts his average speed at 29.8 mph – which is mind-boggling after walking the TT course. There was more climbing than you realize on TV and lots of technical turns.  As I said in my Tour of California report, the pros are VERY GOOD.

Stage 2

Columbia bikes

Several different teams were staying in our hotel in Monte Carlo – Columbia/HTC, Quickstep, BBOX Bouygues Telecom, Euskatel-Euskadi, so we got to see the riders prep for Stage 2.

Jess and I with Tom Boonen

Jess and I with Tom Boonen

The riders all seemed pretty relaxed and were great with signing autographs, taking pics, etc.

The stage rolled right past our hotel, so we decided to watch from there. The “caravan” came by and you would swear that we were back home in Louisiana for Mardi Gras.

TDF caravan

The caravan is a 30 minute procession that leads the officials, VIP’s, teams and team cars along the course. It includes over 250 vehicles and has every Tour sponsor, most of whom toss out free swag (thus the Mardi Gras reference). Most of the vehicles have extravagant themes (they look more like parade floats) and feature beautiful women dancing or throwing goodies to European house music. I had seen the caravan on TV before, but seeing it live is a totally different experience. With the speeds the vehicle travel, many of the goodies they toss out the car become lethal projectiles (I was also lobotomized by flying Gendarme key chain).

TT course

Overall, it was an amazing experience. This may have been our first Tour de France, but I can guarantee it won’t be our last.

Tour de France – The Movie or Cycling Separated at Birth

I’m getting very excited about our trip to the Tour de France in a couple weeks, so the video above just further stoked my cycling flame. Some of the comparisons are pretty funny. My favs are:

  • Moby or Michael Stipe as Levi
  • Jon Heder (Napolean Dynomite) as Andy Schleck
  • Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) as Chris Horner.

But the real question is who would play Jens Voigt?

Going to France to see Lance

Lance San Remo

So I eluded to this trip when I compared the greatness of my wife to my bike (which Kevin S. astutely guessed), but Jess and I are going to Europe this summer to catch part of the Tour de France.

Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

First, a day of catching the sites in London. Then we are going to spend a week in Monte Carlo, Monaco; where we will catch the first two stages the the Tour de France (including the opening prologue, which loops around the city) as well as visit some of the great coastal towns on the Med (Nice, San Remo, etc.).

The village of Varenna on Lake Como, Italy

The village of Varenna on Lake Como, Italy

We will then head east into Italy and spend a few days on Lake Como. From there we will travel to Milan and then back home to Texas.

I must admit that the idea for this trip was really driven by Lance Armstrong’s return to cycling and committment to riding again in the Tour de France. I would be excited to see the Tour in any year, but the energy around this year’s Tour should be amazing.  However, I will also be pulling for Levi Leipheimer (see image on my blog header and here) to get a podium spot – he’s having a huge year. I’m also excited that my buddy Kevin D. and his lovely wife will be joining us in Monte Carlo, so hopefully Kevin and I can squeeze in one day of riding while the wives pamper themselves at the hotel spa.

On a related note, the Lance Amstrong Foundation has a very cool contest  to see Lance and the conclusion of the tour in Paris. But I can’t imagine the contest winner having more fun on this trip then the Coopers ;) – July can’t come soon enough.

UPDATED 7-2-09

We’re leaving for the Tour today. Here are my predictions:

Green Jersey – Mark Cavendish

KOM Jersey – Carlos Sastre

White Jersey – Andy Schleck

Yellow Jersey – Alberto Contador

Rest of the podium – Denis Menchov, Levi Leipheimer

Happy Birthday to Fabian Cancellara

The VeloNews wall calendar in my office told me that today is Fabian Cancellara‘s 28th B-Day. Cancellara is what we call in cycling a “Badass” and is one of my favorite riders. On this special day I thought I’d share the video above from his amazing win during Stage 3 of 2007’s Tour de France (one of the most impressive attacks I’ve ever seen).

Is the Tour de France Cleaner?

Even though I am a huge fan of professional cycling, I don’t often get on my soapbox about drugs/performance enhancers in pro cycling. However, I read a very interesting article in Scientific American that paints an interesting picture. The chart above shows the average speeds for the Tour de France winners over the last 60 years. You’ll notice a huge jump in 1991, the same time that EPO become prominent in professional cycling. You would hope the declines in 2006 and 2007 are due to more racers “riding clean”. However, Carlos Sastre won the Tour this year at an average speed of 25.12 MPH. Hopefully this is indicative of the fact that this was an easier course than in years past.

I’m going to remain optimisitic that this tour, in general, was a clearner tour than years past. You will always have a few bad apples (Ricco), but overall the race just had a “cleaner” or more “human” feel to it. Guys actually looked like they were struggling up the mountains – they looked like suffering human beings instead of piston-pumping-machines. Part of my optimism is due to the great performances by teams that have very thorough anti-doping programs: Garmin-Chipotle, Team Columbia (the sportswear company, not the country) and CSC-Saxo Bank.