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After a long flight back from Thailand I’m finally home. I had a terrific 2 weeks of bike racing and sitting on a beach soaking up the wonderful Thai culture. I feel a little like I “dropped the wheel” in my posts during my time there, but with slow internet access and not much cycling stimuli on these small islands, I couldn’t have been more detached from the world cycling. Now that I’m back, my batteries are recharged and I’m excited to get back on the bike and take off the kilos of Pad Thai I managed to gain.
I took the redeye from Bangkok last night, so needless to say I didn’t get to see the first of the high mountain stages. All I can say is that I couldn’t imagine racing this stage and being sent up the Etna twice – especially after 9 days of hard racing! I’m even looking forward to the rest day tomorrow.
Contador is certainly riding like he has something to prove. He’s racing to win and isn’t shy about it. He absolutely dominated the final climb. What do you all think about Contador taking Pink considering his current status? I always find it interesting listening to the varying reactions to different riders on the way they publicly handle their doping cases. The most successful formula seems to be:
1. Admit it
2. Show remorse
3. Take the suspension without dispute
4. Come back as a born again anti-doping crusader and everyone will forgive and forget.
This certainly isn’t the average doping case however. What are your thoughts? Do you think he should be able to race until the appeal to the CAS has been finalised? Do you even care as long as he keeps making the racing exciting? I’d be very interested to find out how Contador is being received within the pro peloton (but I know I’d only get politically correct answers). In all conversations I’ve had with people who know him, he’s an extremely humble and very nice guy who’s always been incredibly gifted.
Cam’s Giro Diary
That was one hard day. My two words to describe that stage was fast and hard. The first real big test for the overall contenders of this years tour was a challenging ride twice up the historic volcano climb of Mount Etna in Sicily.
The first 45km of the race I did not see the speed once go under 55. It was going to be a hard day to make the time cut so I think a fair few people wanted to be in the break to make sure they would finish the stage within the time limit. This is why it took 50km for the break to go. The bad thing was once it went we only had a very short breather of 8km before the first 18km mountain climb begun.
We didn’t go over this climb at a rapid pace but just a solid tempo. Once we hit the top the decent was done at lightening speed as we raced to the bottom of the final 20km climb.
As a team we helped Christophe as much as possible and I was able to service him with some protection and a new bottle until 15km to go were I had used all my energy and rode the rest slowly up. Christophe had another good ride and has moved up to third on the overall classification.
Apparently Contador was unstoppable and so I’m sure his status as the favourite has increased with his win on Mount Etna.
Today was another 5 hour day in the saddle. I think nearly every stage has been this long but tomorrow we have our first Rest Day. Yay. Couldn’t of come at a nicer time.
A fact for today is that we have used 5 different types of transport. We took a bus to the port where we caught a boat to Sicily. We then rode our bikes for 5 hours and now have an aeroplane to catch as we fly to the other side of Italy. Finally after we land we will get in the cars to drive to our next hotel. What a day. Maybe tomorrow we can catch a train.
courtesy of Veeral Patel, Sirotti and RCS
Stage 9 Results
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 4:54:09
2 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:03
3 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone 0:00:50
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana
6 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar Team
7 Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad
8 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:59
9 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:07
10 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
66 Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard 11:52
82 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 16.27
126 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 23:46
163 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 24:26
186 Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad 26:35
190 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:59:15
191 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team RadioShack
HD Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team (outside time limit)
HD Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team RadioShack (outside time limit)
General Classification after Stage 9
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 33:03:51
2 Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad 0:00:59
3 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:01:19
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:21
5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:01:28
6 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:37
7 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:01:41
8 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli 0:01:47
9 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:02:21
10 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
103 Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:48:33
150 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 1:05:43
181 Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad 1:24:59
186 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 1:27:40
188 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 1:31:09