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Back in February, Armstrong had said something at the end of the Tour of California that I wrote in my notebook and circled, then wrote on the inside front cover of the notebook I took to the Tour de France. At the big press conference at the end of the Tour of California, Armstrong was once more being asked what it had been like to work as a domestique for Levi, and if he would or could do the same for Contador or even Kloden. His usual answers to this question explained that everyone on a team of Bruyneel knew they would work for the strongest rider no matter who that was, and he usually reminded people that he had said from the beginning that the comeback was not primarily about winning the Tour but battling cancer. But maybe because it had been a fast, aggressive race in abysmal conditions and he was fatigued he admitted so twice during the press conference in the midst of the stock patter he said something I never heard him say before Nike Hoodie Kids
du Tourmalet, the two sped toward the line with the question of Contador third Tour de France title finally decided.
Riding there beside Armstrong today, Sastre is without hope of winning the Tour de France. Yesterday in the team time trial, his team had finished 1:37 behind Astana (with Armstrong and Contador), 1:10 behind Garmin (with Vande Velde and Wiggins) and 57 seconds behind Saxo (with Andy Schleck). Combining that with getting stuck on the slow side of the Stage 3 split and the time lost in the opening time trial, even Sastre knows he is no longer in contention. But even so, this morning before the stage he had ridden around to the teams that had done well and congratulated them.
2010 Tour de France Winner Contador
The two displays of two definitions of class reminded me of the interaction between Lance Armstrong and Carlos Sastre I was able to document in my book about Armstrong 2009 comeback, Tour de Lance. Armstrong had insulted Sastre, saying in various ways and in various degrees of confidentiality that one of his inspirations for returning to the sport was Sastre 2008 Tour victory. I had heard from multiple people in his inner circle that Lance had been watching the Tour on TV the day Sastre made his race winning move on Alpe d and, in a state somewhere between disgust and disbelief, had said that if he been riding he would have all their asses, and that the performances of the Tour contenders were and Sastre would have heard similar leaks. (And the tenor of Armstrong belief, if not the specific words, would be confirmed in June 2009 when John Wilcockson book Lance: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion quoted him as referencing Sastre Nike Jacket For Women
Sastre Tour win in 2008 was not much appreciated by the general public but was applauded by many who deeply love the Tour. After years of turmoil and scandal, Sastre was a quiet, classy winner who made one big move at the perfect time. And he deserved the win: In the 2002 Tour he was 10th, the next year 9th, the year after that 8th, then fourth and third in two of the next three years before his victory. His name had never been connected to any doping scandal, not even by hints, and he won the Tour with a brave sustained solo attack on one of its most beloved climbs, Alpe d Sastre is one of those racers who is either the personification of his riding style, or else his riding style is the manifestation of who he is. He is so slight as to be wispy, at 5 foot 8 and 130 pounds, not so much a diminutive person as the distillation of one. He has sad looking eyes, and straight eyebrows and upwardly curving wrinkles Nike Jacket Uk on his forehead under tightly curled black hair. He carries himself with dignity more than pride.
This admirable and rare quality was found elsewhere on the road today, and in a different, more combative form: Early in the stage, third place Euskatel racer Sammy Sanchez crashed so hard he lay unmoving on the road writhing in pain, no rocking, no twitching the sign of serious pain. Yet Sanchez eventually stood, blinked as someone put a helmet on his head and buckled it, remounted, and rode back to the peloton then preserved his podium hopes by hanging with the lead chase group and outkicking rival Denis Menchov to the finish by 8 seconds.
On the cold and fogged in final mountain road of the 2010 Tour de France, Alberto Contador matched rival Andy Schleck pedal stroke for pedal stroke as the two leaders of the General Classification left the rest of the race behind. Contador held the yellow jersey by 8 seconds, after taking it from Schleck in Stage 15 with a controversial attack that occurred when the other rider accidentally dropped his chain tactic that could be interpreted as a violation of the sport unwritten and ambiguous proviso against taking advantage of the yellow jersey wearer during an unlucky mishap such as flatting or crashing. To ensure that he occupy the top podium spot when the Tour ends in Paris this Sunday, all Contador had to do was stay near Scheck. A superior time trialist, he is all but certain to best Schleck in the upcoming 52 kilometer TT during Stage 19 (the last opportunity for the overall standings to rearrange). Riding side by side in the final meters, each unable to drop the other after a torturous ascent of the Col Nike Pullover Hoodie Blue
and Christian Vande Velde by name when he termed the 2008 Tour bit of a joke.
or since: know, I think it might be good for me personally to do things that . . . . I spent 15 years sitting on people wheel and waiting for the final moment to attack and take all the glory. It kind of cool to be the one up front pulling.
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