July 20, 2011 posted by

“One Hell of an Epic”

I’ve got to admit it’s been the most spirited Tour de France in a long time. We’ve seen sprinters winning mountain stages, rouleurs wearing the sprint jersey, and the guy who’s dominated every recent grand tour he’s entered getting dropped on climbs. The race leader is currently an attacker who hunts for stages and claims that he doesn’t train with a power meter, heart rate monitor, or even a speedometer. With only three stages to sort out the overall it’s an absolute crap shoot as to who will come out on top, leading one Eurosport commentator to sum it up as “one hell of an epic”. And to think, when it all began I was ambivalent.

The flat stages have been the most fun. Cav looks as though he might finally hang onto Green but it hasn’t been easy, especially since when the roads have gone up the sprinters have not only hung on to win intermediate points but actually won stages. World Champion Thor Hushovd has been the man of the race, followed closely by Phillipe Gilbert, Tommy Voeckler, the HTC lead out train, Garmin/Cervelo, the country of Norway, and a slew of other guys who’ve been fighting out every mountain, hill, sprint and finale like its life or death. To tune in on the Interweb click here.

The only complaint I’ve heard is lack of early attacking in the big mountains. Long gone are the days when the Postal and Telekom trains would lead into a 20 kilometer mountain finish as though it were a sprint. You don’t ride up L’Alpe d’Huez at 20kph breathing through your nose unless you hematocrit is well north of 50. And, while there’s no way to say doping is gone from the peloton nobody is being called “Mr. 60%” anymore either, leading to my friend Josh’s comment/question, “so, is Thor the only one doping? I’m confused.”

However, it wouldn’t be bike racing without a bit of controversy. Over at the The Inner Ring you see a lot of banter from those a bit more in-the-know, or at least willing to dish dirt, than the TV commentators. Such as this tidbit on how race heroes according to the press might not be the most popular guys among their colleagues.

Then, of course, there’s Lance. Even though he’s retired, this time we think for good, it wouldn’t be the Tour without some further revelations about “the comeback of the century” or whatever other monikers the PR machine heaped on the Armstrong era.


  • Even if you shaved his head and got rid of that ridiculous mop on his Mennonite cranium, Floyd Landis looks like he's lying when he's telling the truth. He's a colossal douche who, along with the justice department, needs to move on with life.

  • Lance is like the most drug tested athlete ever and never came to be positive. I think the man's done, age takes a toll on your body. On a side note, I have a question steve, Did you ever supplement with pre-workout drinks (primarily caffeine and arginine) during your younger teenage years? Would arginine be harmful considering it's just a amino acid?Thanks.

  • I experimented with ever supplement made in my teenagers years but those did not exist. I'm sure they won't hurt him if he's training hard. However, they very well might affect his sleep, which would offset any training benefits he might get from them. That's the warning I'd give. For sure start with low dosages. There's a lot of stuff in there that's not caffeine but still a stimulant, such as 1 3-dimethylamylamine and many other things.

  • No 1-3 dimethylamylamine for me, I use pre-workouts that only contain stuff like caffeine, citrullate Malate, and arginine as the energy complex. So far I've been doing great, taking them on days I actually need it like legs or back. How would you cycle them? 4 weeks on, 2 off? And to what extent would it affect my adrenal glands considering I stick to low-medium (recommended) dosages?Again I really appreciate the advice. Thanks.

  • Yea I agree about the flatter intermediate stages being the most exciting. People are attacking and getting caught and then someone else attacks… It just stays interesting. So far the mountains have been kind of boring because no one has been able to attack and stay away for more than 200 meters.

  • OK Reed and Steve the mountain stages came through at the end for a pretty great finish to a fun tour.Stage 18 was incredible. I didn't expect Andy to have much left but I really thought Frank would make a big push and maybe even win it on stage 19. The fact he didn't, and the pretty sorry time trial by the brothers was a little anti-climactic, but still fun.

  • A seriously amazing tour. It was great riding with you in France as well. Such a fun trip. My head is swimming with blog posts based on our talks.

  • Great trip, Dave! It was great having you there. Send me your blogs. I, too, have a ton to blog about but not enough time lately. Hope to get back at it, including a lot of the subjects discussed, beginning this week.

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