Julian Simioni

Stage 17

This is a blog post I wrote a long time ago originally on my Tumblr where I tried to predict results from the 2009 Tour de France. I was not exactly spot on but I decided to preserve the post here anyway

Stage 17 already has been made legendary in recent years. The infamous solo victory of Floyd Landis in 2006 is still burned in everyone’s memory. Today we had another stage 17 which was arguably no less epic.

The most obvious conclusion to draw from today’s race is that no one who did not bring their A game is still a contender. Sastre, Evans, Kloden, etc are all no longer in the race, not even for the podium. Of course anything can always happen in a bike race but they will only get lucky if they have a very good day while others have a very bad day.

Today, Alberto Contador did everything he had to do to tighten his grip on the yellow jersey. Johan Bruneel says they achieved their objective 100%. That objective was to gain time on Bradley Wiggens. With the brothers Shleck effectively working with Contador towards this same objective, this isn’t a big surprise.

However, despite the fact that Contador has been nearly unbeatable in the mountains, I think today he showed himself to be a little less unbeatable. His attack that dropped Kloden was not as devistating to Andy and Frank as the attacks on previous days. The Tour can take its toll on anyone and as Contador is still a relatively young rider, he may be feeling the hurt from a few days in the mountains defending attacks from nearly every serious climber.

I think today’s efforts on the part of Contador are going to hurt him tomorrow. Bradley Wiggens may be down in the classification but tomorrow is his day to shine. Of course, probably the most dangerous man tomorrow will be Alberto’s own teammate: Mr. Lance Armstrong. Lance has shown that he essentially has all the form of his days of dominating the tour, and the time trial was often where he sealed the victory in the past. Lance says he is gunning for 2nd place, so I don’t doubt he will be going all out tomorrow.

It’s not likely that tomorrow will decide the winner of the tour. Unless Contador has a very bad day, he will likely stay in yellow. His time trialing is better than ever so he should have what it takes to defend the jersey. He’s not a specialist though, so I don’t think he’ll get another stage win tomorrow. Here’s how I see it playing out:

Stage 18 TT Results

1.) Lance Armstrong. He’s the king of the tour and the TT, tomorrow will be a day where he holds nothing back. 2.) Bradley Wiggins. World and Olympic pursuit champ here, the TT is his specialty and he will be looking to make up some lost time. 3.) Alberto Contador. Contador has certainly improved his TT ability and he will be riding to defend his yellow jersey.

GC after Stage 18

1.) Alberto Contador. He still has a big time lead, so there shouldn’t be much chance of him losing yellow. 2.) Lance Armstrong, about a minute back. 3.) Bradley Wiggins, about two and a half minutes back. The Shleck brothers will be losing some time, so he should be able to leapfrog back onto the podium.

That’s how I see it going down, hopefully the math actually makes sense. Tomorrow should be exciting. I really love watching the time trials: there’s always a lot on the line and you get to see the pros at their best.