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The 2010 Tour de France is Underway

Submitted by on July 5, 2010 – 10:25 pmNo Comment

photo by Team Radioshack.com

Saturday, July 3rd, 22 teams comprised of 200 or so riders began the 97th edition of the Tour de France.  I’m not big on sports, really, but each year I am glued to my television and computer as I follow the world’s greatest cycling event.

Versus has been providing exceptional television coverage for years now, if your cable company does not carry them then you can pay a fee on their site and watch in HD from your computer for something they call the “Tour Tracker” which gets high marks from some of the folks who subscribe to it on Bikeforums.net.

The official website has a feature where you can get live updates and watch cyclist avatars from your computer, think of it as Twitter with visuals and complete sentences (click the graphic below for the link).  Another great resource is the professional cycling forum at Bikeforums.net.  They have a dedicated thread to each stage in the race and it’s a great place to learn, debate, cuss, whatever.  They’re a pretty good group over there.  Velo News is probably one of the best print magazines and sites that covers le Tour as well.

Watch the tour online in real-time - click graphic see it

Speaking of the race…After three days of action things have arguably never looked crazier.  Rain produced some strange showings in prologue’s 8.9k time trial.  Multiple crashes including one pile up caused by a dog mired the racing throughout the first stage (day two) and the second stage was no less weird.  In fact after the last crash the yellow jersey (Fabian Cancellara – Team Saxo Bank) called the peloton to neutralize the remainder of the race, meaning they all finished at the same pace with no one sprinting for second.  That decision cost him the yellow jersey but arguably (and I do mean arguably) kept the riders safe for the final kilometers of the race, and helped those who had fallen victim to an oil spill caused by a motorcycle (who also crashed) to get back in the race.

Current (Monday, July 5th) standings of the top 10:

1. CHAVANEL Sylvain 131 QUICK STEP 10h 01′ 25″
2. CANCELLARA Fabian 13 TEAM SAXO BANK 10h 04′ 22″ + 02′ 57″
3. MARTIN Tony 115 TEAM HTC – COLUMBIA 10h 04′ 32″ + 03′ 07″
4. MILLAR David 57 GARMIN – TRANSITIONS 10h 04′ 42″ + 03′ 17″
5. ARMSTRONG Lance 21 TEAM RADIOSHACK 10h 04′ 44″ + 03′ 19″
6. THOMAS Geraint 39 SKY PRO CYCLING 10h 04′ 45″ + 03′ 20″
7. CONTADOR Alberto 1 ASTANA 10h 04′ 49″ + 03′ 24″
8. LEIPHEIMER Levi 25 TEAM RADIOSHACK 10h 04′ 50″ + 03′ 25″
9. BOASSON HAGEN Edvald 36 SKY PRO CYCLING 10h 04′ 54″ + 03′ 29″
10. GERDEMANN Linus 141 TEAM MILRAM 10h 04′ 57″ + 03′ 32″

Chances are Chavanel will not keep the yellow jersey very long, as soon as the better riders catch up from all the time lost to crashes we should see more familiar names wearing the maillot jaune.

A few noteworthy points, Ivan Basso is back from his suspension and he’s riding for Liquigas-Doimo.  Look for Basso to assert himself in the mountains.  Alexander Vinokourov is also back from his own suspension and he’s riding for Astana (again) only this time (or at least for now) he’s no longer the leader.  He’s expected to support Alberto Contador’s bid to win another Tour.  The irony is Astana was created for Vino back in 2007 yet they imploded after his drug scandal.  Lance Armstrong and Contador helped rehabilitate Astana’s image when they both rode for them last year.  Those two certainly brought some quality drama to the team.  Speaking of drama, just watch the race and listen, there is plenty of it to go around.

So…If you have not ever followed le Tour this would be an exceptional year to tune in.  There are 17 more stages, the final one is on Sunday, July 25th. The drama was high going into it, and with things looking so weird after only three days it’s sure to get even more exciting.

A look at some of the Stage 1 crashes..

2010 Tour de France route map

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Chris started riding a bike again when he noticed the Preston Ridge Trail being constructed across the street from his house. Since then he co-founded Biking in Dallas, has gone through countless Craigslist bike projects (some better than others) and can be found pedaling around town on a Electra Ticino with a camera in tow.

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