Velogal's Blog

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Yikes! The Tour unexpected continued this morning in the Prologue - Floyd Landis almost missed his start - the clock was ticking away - the cameras showed an empty Start House. Floyd came rolling up, the Official briefly touched his shoulder, and away Floyd went, eight seconds gone on the clock. It was too bizarre for a well-oiled machine like Phonak. Floyd finished 9th at 09.23 down.

Robbie Ventura is one of the OLN commentators this year, as well as Floyd’s coach. Robbie said he was shocked that Floyd missed the start. When OLN rolled the tape, showing the empty Start House and ticking clock, Robbie said, “I can’t believe what I’m watching.” Robbie said Floyd ran the course so well in the training ride this morning. When asked what he will say to Floyd when he sees him, Robbie said, “ The legs are there, my friend, you’re gonna have a great race!” Robbie pointed out that there are three long weeks to go, and that the Phonak team will give their all for Floyd.

The pic above is one that I took waaay back in 2003 at Interbike, when both Robbie Ventura and Floyd Landis were riding for the US Postal team. We had a great time there, and I got some great shots of Robbie and some of his buddies....

OH, jeeze, George looked so good - I was yelling and screaming him on (Dave Z, too). Both of those guys were in fine form... shoulders completely still, and legs pumping like jackhammers. So close, so close - George second by 0.73 - that is seven-tenths of a second! And Z by 04.21... Great rides by Thor Hushovd, George and Z.

Thor is a great guy, so quiet and modest, and so genuine... If any of you read my Velogal Talks Tour reports on a few years ago, you may remember that I wrote about watching a stage on the big screen at the finish line, standing beside Thor’s father. Thor had fallen over the edge of the road and just missed a horrible fall way down the mountainside a day or so before. Thor’s father had to turn away from watching the screen when Thor was doing a fast, technical descent. Thor’s mother sat in the car in the parking lot, too scared to watch. Thor said today that this was the sixth year his parents had followed the Tour to support him and how much it meant to him....

So Phil, Paul and Bobke are on OLN, as well as Al Trautwig, who says a great deal about nothing in a forceful, sportscaster-like manner. I thought that Paul’s hair looks a bit darker than I remember, and Phil remains as poised and graceful as ever. They announced at the very start of the program that this is their 21st year of broadcasting the Tour together. Vive Paul and Phil! I can’t imagine the Tour without you guys. And Robbie Ventura, my friend, you did a really professional debut on OLN - very informative, knowledgeable and you looked damn fine! You're a keeper...


  • I guess you're not there this year. We miss your presence and reports/photos, but thanks for the background info on Thor, Robbie, etc. It adds a lot! I thought Robbie did very well on TV, too. As you say, he's a keeper. Thor seems like a big teddybear of a guy. Still, I'm cheering for the Americans, though I'm sad to see Ullrich and Basso leave. The whole doping thing is just too confusing and very bad for cycling. But, hey, I'm still watching.

    By Anonymous Amy, At 11:35 AM  

  • Thor is the guy who last year had mom and dad following him around France in a trailer to cook him some "decent" Norwegian food a couple of times a week. Thor does not survive on team food alone.
    I'm rooting for Levi overall and Robbie McEwen (hey, can't help it, he lives here!) for the sprint stages. I also hope George does very well.
    What Floyd and Phonak did there yesterday is too ridiculous for words. I'm almost sorry that Axel Merckx moved to Phonak for his last year.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 2:56 AM  

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