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Tour de France stage 15

Tour de France
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After Sunday's introduction to the Pyrenees, today's stage takes us 187.5km from Pamiers to Bagneres-de-Luchon, and features the second category Col de Portet d'Aspet and Col des Ares, 100 years on from the first time that the Tour passed this way.

But the focus of attention should be on the hors category Port de Bales after 145-ish km - this beast is a 19.3km climb up to 1755m, with an average gradient of 6.1%, rising to 11% in sections, and is followed by a tricky 21km descent down to the finish line.

There are two sprints - one before the real climbing begins, and one in the valley below the Port de Bales - so there may be some duelling between Alessandro Petacchi and Thor Hushovd for some green-jersey points at the first one, but probably not the second.

Petacchi, remember, leads Hushovd by two points, and is 25 ahead of Mark Cavendish.

The main focus, of course, will be on Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck; will the Luxembourgeouis try to take time out of the Spaniard? Or more to the point, can he?

Or will Denis Menchov and Samuel Sanchez try again to pull a fast one?

I'll be doing my best to keep you up to speed, and don't forget we have up to an hour and a half of live commentary from the Radio 5 live sports extra team, starting at 1445 BST.

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comment by Jorge (U14558511)

posted Jul 20, 2010

Granted, Contador will certainly not win the "Fairplay Trophy", but he must be having a laaaaaaaauuuugh!

Incidently, Schleck is not a fairplay icon either, after the Le Paves incident (stage 3), when he sprinted away after his brother fell (accidently?) and blocked the peloton.

In any case, all this debate will result redundant at the end of the Tour, since Contador will win it with a margin well over 40 secs!

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posted Jul 20, 2010

Double standards. Andy took advantage of his brother's fall to gain time on Alberto.

Andy is looking like a potential TdF winner but he has to learn to rise above difficulty, whining and feeling sorry for yourself and your bad luck doesn't take you anywhere. Especially when you didn't hold yourself to the same standards that you now set for your opponents. You look strong, Andy. Just use that strength to attack and win on the road if you can.

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posted Jul 20, 2010

It may be ettiquette, it may be a gentlemen's agreement. Whatever it is, it's ludicrous.
A bike plays the same part in a rider's performance as A car does in F1, or a horse in racing.
Oh gosh Marky, I see your engine's blown...What ho chaps, slow down a bit, Marky Webber's had a bit of a prang.
Grow up Mr Schleck.
Welcome to the planet Earth.

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posted Jul 20, 2010

I'm a cycling novice nad don't know the rules about racing. Why is it so terrible if you take advantage of a fellow competitor's mechanical failure? The F1 drivers do it all the time!

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comment by fallo (U14344455)

posted Jul 20, 2010

I'm also a novice but the question I want to ask is, Don't the team and the bicycle manufacturer benefit in any way if their team member wins? Don't they advertise their bike as a superior machine, for which it would make sense to just carry on and not wait for the yellow shirt? Is there no equivalent to the constructors championship as in formula 1? As for the unwritten rules sportsmen break them in many ways - some subtle others not so subtle. Top class competitors at the highest level always do this if they can get away with it. Fans should not be worked up by AC's misdemeanour but rather just accept it and wish AS better luck!!!!!!

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posted Jul 20, 2010

Don't the team and the bicycle manufacturer benefit in any way if their team member wins? Don't they advertise their bike as a superior machine, for which it would make sense to just carry on and not wait for the yellow shirt? Is there no equivalent to the constructors championship as in formula 1?
--------
No 'constructor's champion', but there is a team champion.

Think of the bikes as being like the engines in F1, and the teams being like the chassis-builders. The teams classification is the one for what you're talking about; it's being led by Radioshack ahead of Caisse d'Epargne, because both are fairly low-importance to GC; Caisse have got a lot of riders into escapes, and Radioshack have had nobody right at the front but 3 in the next group; Caisse have been searching for a stage win, whereas Radioshack had the lead in the classification and sought to defend it. The teams classification isn't really fought for other than as a consolation prize (or by wildcard and smaller teams).

Also, Specialized manufacture both Astana's and Saxo Bank's bikes, so it doesn't matter to them either way.

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posted Jul 21, 2010

Alex Zuelle lost Vuelta and Tour after suffering several accidents and mechanical problems...nobody waited for him...that includes Amstrong in 1999 Tour...and Amstrong did not wait for Iban Mayo after he suffered an accident in 2004 Tour..look back at cycling history..nobody waited for nobody in the 50s, 60s, 70s and so on..it is competition at top level..

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posted Jul 21, 2010

Alex Zuelle in 1999 and Iban Mayo 2004...Amstrong did not wait for any...and won the Tour..

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posted Jul 21, 2010

I think Contador brought the storm on himself, he obviously saw Schleck had a mechanical problem, and should not have denied he had and rather than stay behind Sanchez and Menchov which would be right so as not to lose time he pushed ahead and made it look if he was taking extra advantage of the Schleck problem. Probably 60/40 blame against Contador IMHO

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