Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Thanks to sharp-eyed reader Karen, who found this photo on Graham Watson's site of the men who were first and last in the 2009 Tour de France general classification. Note the red towel stuck in Hutarovich's helmet signifying the Lanterne Rouge. I thought for a moment he was carrying an electric lantern too but that's a motorcycle headlight showing under his arm.

Also study the physiques of these two riders in close to the same position and it becomes abundantly clear why the Lanternes Rouges in the grand tours are most often sprinters: they simply have much more body mass to drag up those mountains. Hutarovich's powerful sprinter's thigh muscles are nearly twice the size of Contador's!

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 26, 2009

2009 Champs d'Elysees

Congratulations to Yauheni Hutarovich, the Lanterne Rouge of the 2009 Tour de France, for his 5th place finish on the Champs d'Elysees today! That boy can sprint!! Well done indeed and a memorable finish to your Tour!

I hear that Hutarovich "... celebrated that fact [of his Lanterne Rouge standing] with a red hand towel stuck in the back of his helmet during today’s final stage" but I haven't yet seen a photo of it. Anyone?


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stage 18: Annecy Individual Time Trial

Yauheni Hutarovich, as Lanterne Rouge, had the distinction of being the first to roll down the starting ramp at the 40.5-km time trial in Annecy today. He rode a time of 55:12 (26.4 mph) on the hilly course, moving up relative to his first time trial, and beating 6 other riders (as well as 22 other riders who dropped out along the way before this stage). Hutarovich retains his position as Lanterne Rouge by a margin of about 15 minutes aggregate time.

Marco Bandiera of Lampre-NGC had the slowest time trial of the day at 56:41, which is a 25.72 mph average on the demanding course. Not shabby at all!

Trivia: The Fabians were next-to-first (Cancellara) and next-to-last (Wegmann) today in the ITT.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stages 16 and 17

I missed posting yesterday - but Kenny Van Hummel valiantly held on for another day, and ended up riding nearly the entire stage solo again, finishing at 34:43, 13 minutes after any other rider.

He received a very nice writeup in NRC Handelblad, which avoided the condescension often seen in articles about the Tour Lanterne Rouge. An opposite example was this mean-spirited piece of snark which called his finish "off the back of the last of the laughing groups."

Today, however, he was dropped again about 4 km from the start and struggled to keep within the cutoffs. Ultimately he took a few too many chances on the descents, attempting to make up time, and crashed. He incurred a knee injury severe enough to send him to the hospital and out of his first Tour de France.

Bravo, Kenny, well done. We hope to see you again next year and to see you finish in Paris. You've gained a lot of fans around the world in eleven days as the Lanterne Rouge for your persistence and courage.

Re-taking the spot as Lanterne Rouge of the Tour de France today is Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ). He is firmly in last place in general classification by a 12 minute gap. He seems well able to finish the mountains, so barring bad luck or someone else incurring some major time losses, he seems likely to finish the 2009 Tour in Paris as its final Lanterne Rouge.

Interestingly, on the day before the last individual time trial, the two Fabians (Cancellara and Wegmann) finished together last for the stage at 35:59 after the stage winner. That's the way to conserve energy, all right! I probably should go put some betting money on Fabian Cancellara for tomorrow's stage win!

Other withdrawals brought the peloton down to 158 by the end of stage 17 (12.2% attrition). Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) had a gruesome crash on a fast descent in Stage 16 and was helicoptered out with some broken facial bones, concussion, and severe road rash. His helmet saved his life. During Stage 17, Cyril Dessel (Ag2R La Mondial) and Jose Angel Gomez Marchante (Cervelo) abandoned.

Yauheni Hutarovich, as Lanterne Rouge, has the distinction of being the first rider off the starting ramp in the individual time trial tomorrow. Best wishes for a great ride to him! (Of course, a double-bookend of the same first and last riders for two ITTs, Cancellara and Hutarovich, would be interesting but I won't wish that on him!)

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Old guys in the peloton

Sorry, guys, age is no excuse! Over 8% of the peloton is age 35 or older:

Levi Leipheimer 35
Stuart O'Grady 35
Marzio Bruseghin 35
Steven de Jongh 35
Matteo Tosatto 35
Joan Horrach 35
Peter Wrolich 35
George Hincapie 36
Bingen Fernandez 36
Jens Voigt 37
Lance Armstrong 37
José Luis Arrieta 38
Christophe Moreau 38
Stéphane Goubert 39
Iñigo Cuesta 40

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kenny crossing the line at Verbier

Heart-rending clip that makes me really wish that I spoke Dutch. But you don't need to in order to feel his pain. Final finisher Kenny Van Hummel averaged 22.11 mph on his mostly solo ride on today's 128.9-mi mountainous stage.

Another reaction to Kenny Robert Van Hummel's intrepid finish is at Podium Cafe. "... You know, Lance Armstrong's first professional race was the 1992 Clasica San Sebastian, where he finished dead last. Just sayin'."

Labels: ,


Rant mode on:

I'm sick of people whining about spoilers every time Tour results are obliquely mentioned online.

Two hints:

1. If you want to know what happened in a Tour stage, WATCH THE DAMN STAGE LIVE with all the rest of us.
2. If you don't want to know what happened in a Tour stage, STAY OFF MY DAMNED INTERNET.

That is all.


Stage 15: Pontarlier to Verbier

I'm happy to say that our brave Lanterne Rouge Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Dutch rider for Skil-Shimano) finished today's Tour de France stage solo - 12 minutes behind the nearest rider, with a 39 minute gap in aggregate time to the next rider in the overall standings. It took him about two hours of solo riding to get there through some nasty crowds today, so it's quite a tough effort on his part to finish the day! Bravo!

Another notable ride was Slovenian Simon Spilak, riding for Lampre, who figured prominently in a breakaway and led the stage for a while, and in so doing earned the Combativity Award. Just two days ago he finished last at 45:45, 22 min after the nearest rider. However, he was held up so much by crowds in the road that the judges allowed him to remain in the race. He's done a great job paying back their faith in him!

Two more riders out today: Tom Boonen of Quick Step (no great surprise there - departed at 79th place in the green jersey competition. More about Boonen's recent personal issues here.), and Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2R), leaving from 16th place overall, but apparently suffering after a crash.

I'll bet many are very happy to see the rest day arrive. 162 riders remain in the 2009 Tour, representing 10.0% attrition after two weeks.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stage 14: Colmar to Besançon

Two riders finished behind the main group at 7:39 behind the stage winner today: Dmitriy Murayev (Team Astana; Giro Lanterne Rouge), and Johannes Frohlinger of Milram.

Simon Spilak of Lampre, who finished 22 minutes in arrears yesterday, was permitted to continue despite arriving after the cutoff because of the poor weather conditions for the stage. He remains in a very respectable 130th place overall.

Kenny Robert Van Hummel keeps his position as Lanterne Rouge today, having accumulated a 26 minute gap in aggregate time behind the nearest rider in the peloton.

The nearest rider? Former Lanterne Rouge Yauheni Hutarovich of FdJ. Alan Perez Lezaun, the other former Lanterne Rouge of this Tour, is in 147th position.

164 riders remain.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, July 17, 2009

Van Hummel video

Okay, this one makes me cry.

Today (Stage 13) marks Kenny Robert Van Hummel's 8th day as the Lanterne Rouge of the Tour de France. He's endured more than most of us can know. He's 26 minutes behind the nearest rider in the General Classification. Today, fortunately, he finished 137th in the autobus.

Simon Spilak of Lampre finished last today at 45:45 after the stage winner, 22 minutes after the nearest rider. He's not listed as missing the cutoff -- he's still in!

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stage 12: Tonnerre to Vittel

Kenny Robert Van Hummel makes it a solid 7 days as the Lanterne Rouge today as the main peloton finished in a bunch. A very few stragglers across the line today: Jose Luis Arrieta of Ag2R, Mick Rogers of Columbia (though he was probably delayed by a crash since he was given the time of the main group), and Christophe Riblon of Ag2R.

Placements at the top and the bottom of the General Classification may hit the Mixmaster in the next few days, which promises to be interesting.

We had four losses today, bringing the peloton down to 166 riders: Romain Feillu of Agritubel; Angelo Furlan of Lampre; and Jérôme Coppel of FdJ all withdrew during the stage, while Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa of Caisse d'Epargne did not start the day.

Update: Very nice article today by Daniel Benson in Cyclingnews.com on Kenny Robert Van Hummel.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stage ZZZzzzzZZzzzz

I forget where we are. I fell asleep. Stage 11, I think? Same old thing.

Here's our Lanterne Rouge Kenny Robert Van Hummel today, before he made it over the line in 15th position, right before Tom Boonen. There were 170 finishers today after Kurt Asle Arveson didn't start with a broken clavicle. Only 5.5% attrition so far - that will soon increase in the Alps.

Sorry, sprinters, I wanted the Alps to start yesterday.

But even so, 15th place in a stage of the Tour de France isn't ever shabby. Last place isn't shabby either. Van Hummel most certainly did not deserve this cheap shot.

One bit of exciting news today: Our former Lanterne Rouge from stages 1 and 2, Yauheni Hutarovich of FdJ, came over the line THIRD today immediately behind Mark Cavendish and Tyler Farrar! That's pretty elite company - well done indeed!!

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Record-breaking stage

Stage 10: Limoges to Issoudun

Probably the most boring stage, ever. Ever. A "rest day on wheels". Flat and slow and it went exactly as predicted. Only slower. And no radios. As Phil Liggett said about highlights of the day: "Not quite sure what they were".

Our Lanterne Rouge Kenny Robert Van Hummel finished 7th for the stage, but so did everyone else. So he remains in 171st position in the General Classification out of 171 riders still in the peloton.

Kurt Asle-Arveson looked badly injured in a crash and it appeared he might not finish, but he did.

That is all that happened. Honest.

Labels: , ,

Monday, July 13, 2009

How it feels to abandon

Will Frishkorn talks about the role of a domestique and how it feels when you're forced to abandon in one of the big races:

"... As you’re watching the Tour these next few weeks and the camera invariably follows rider after rider out the back and into their car, showing their pain, think of all they’ve given, and all their hopes that just went up the chimney. The feeling of letting down all those that have supported them, and the teammates that counted on them, now left one rider down. And then enthusiastically let the camera lead you back to the front, showing the champions at battle."


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Van Hummel

... is Lanterne Rouge again today (Stage 9: St. Gaudens to Tarbes), final finisher of the stage and last rider in the General Classification. Hang in there!! Now you have a rest day to bounce back!!

Here's a great photo of him heading into the finish with teammate Jonathan Hivert in Barcelona a couple of days ago, from .SantiMB. on Flickr:

Today Danilo Napolitano of Team Katusha failed to reach the finish line by the time limit and was eliminated, bringing the peloton down to 171 riders (from an original 180).

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Stage 8: Andorre-la-Vieille to Saint-Girons

Kenny Robert Van Hummel of Skil-Shimano was 172nd and last on the Pyrenean stage today, finishing in a trio with Danilo Napolitano (Katusha) and Angelo Furlan (Lampre) at 34:01 after the stage winner.

Van Hummel is also 172nd overall (about 3 minutes behind nearest rider in the General Classification), for his third day as Lanterne Rouge. Unfortunately it does not bode well for him finishing the entire Tour de France, unfortunately. Best of luck to him in recovering and succeeding in moving up the next few stages.

The (fairly worthless) withdrawals list on the official Tour site currently lists these casualties, but they're missing Piet Rooijakkers of Skil-Shimano who crashed out in the Stage 4 Team Time Trial:

177 LE LAY David (FRA) AGRITUBEL withdrawls
176 GONZALO RAMIREZ Eduardo (ESP) AGRITUBEL withdrawls
63 FERNANDEZ Koldo (ESP) EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI outside time limit
Stage 7
105 JOLY Sébastien (FRA) FRANCAISE DES JEUX withdrawls
Stage 6
46 GESINK Robert (NED) RABOBANK non-starter
Stage 3
159 VAN DE WALLE Jurgen (BEL) QUICK STEP non-starter

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, July 10, 2009

Stage 7: Barcelone to Andorre Arcalis

Our first mountaintop finish of the 2009 Tour!

Unfortunately, former Lanterne Rouge (several stages in 2006) Sébastien Joly of Francaise de Jeux was a casualty and dropped out today midway through the stage. He's one of the notable cancer survivors in the peloton (though there may be others).

There was a huge autobus finish today with 48 riders arriving at 28:29 after the stage winner, and Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (Agritubel) and Angelo Furlan (Lampre) arriving shortly thereafter.

Kenny Robert Van Hummel, the Dutch rider on Skil-Shimano, remains Lanterne Rouge for the second day. He was the first starter in the individual time trial earlier in the Tour, I believe.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Stage 6: Girona to Barcelona

Today in Barcelona, the teammates Kenny Robert Van Hummel (from the Netherlands) and Jonathan Hivert (from France) riding for Skil-Shimano were a distant last over the line on Montjuic at 15:58 behind the stage winner.

Kenny Robert Van Hummel of Skil-Shimano is the new Lanterne Rouge of the Tour de France at 25:06 behind the maillot jaune. Probably there will be a new one tomorrow too, unless the entire autobus finishes together with no stragglers. I expect after the number of crashes today there will be a few riders who have considerable difficulty tomorrow struggling up the first mountaintop finish, the tallest of the Tour.

The peloton is down to 177 finishers after several crashes today. Previous Lanternes Rouges Yauheni Hutavich now ranks 174th and Alan Perez Lezaun ranks 175th in the General Classification.

Barcelona in the rain became a skating rink. Here's one account of all the crashes of the day.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Stage 5: Le Cap d'Agde to Perpignan

Once again this year, the organizers of the Tour don't seem to be posting medical reports at all. Occasionally they've been posted or reported by the various news organizations attending the race. It's the type of thing that's probably handed out on paper at the on-site press centers, but that unfortunately don't seem to make it directly online in any sort of timely manner.

No change in the Lanterne Rouge of the Tour de France. At the end of today's stage there were still officially 178 riders in the race, and the last-ranked in the general classification was Alan Perez Lezaun of Eskaltel-Euskadi at 22:10 behind the wearer of the maillot jaune.

Robert Gesink of Rabobank crashed today at 120 kilometers into the 196.5-km stage. He broke his wrist and was unable to hold the handlebars, and so will officially be a Did Not Start tomorrow morning for Stage 6. That's a pretty darned tough way to ride 47.5 miles at the speed of the Tour de France! At the end of today's stage he arrived at 9:35 after the stage winner accompanied by his teammate Grischa Niermann of Germany. That type of dedicated service to a fellow rider is one way riders lose big chunks of time and end up in the bottom part of the general classification.

Oh yeah, also our Boy from Belarus and previous Lanterne Rouge, national champion Yauheni Hutarovich, was in a breakaway that was away for the entire stage and from which one of the breakaway riders eventually was responsible for winning it - but Hutarovich was swallowed up by the peloton before the finish line (officially 91st over the line). I imagined that the entire nation of Belarus was going absolutely friggin' insane in front of their TVs for every minute of the stage.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Stage 4: Team Time Trial

Oooh, that karma will get you every time.

Skil-Shimano rider Piet Rooijakkers apparently slugged Mark Cavendish in Stage 3, as Cavendish reported in his Twitters (erroneously identifying the responsible rider).

Today Rooijakkers crashed out of the team time trial and departed the Tour de France in an ambulance, bringing the peloton down to 178 riders.

The rider who crashed out yesterday, Jurgen Van De Walle of Quick Step, will stay in France another night and returns home tomorrow to Belgium to recuperate.

I've been unable to ascertain today's times of those riders who did not finish among the top 5 on their team in the team time trial (when they will get their actual finishing time and not the time of the 5th rider over the line). Alan Perez Lezaun of Euskaltel-Euskadi is still listed as the rider at the bottom of the overall standings today, despite his team's very respectable 10th place finish in the team time trial.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 06, 2009

Stage 3: Marseille to La Grande-Motte

There is a time cutoff for every stage of the Tour de France which determines which riders are disqualified for arriving at the finish line too late. However, I seem to be unable to calculate what the cutoffs are for each stage (the specific stage information may be in handbooks given to the team members, but it doesn't seem to be online), so I have to find out after-the-fact with everyone else.

Today Alan Perez Lezaun of Euskaltel-Euskadi and Dimitry Muravyev of Astana (Lanterne Rouge of the 2008 Giro d'Italia) finished together fully 13:49 after the stage winner. This put Alan Perez Lazaun into the Lanterne Rouge slot in the overall standings at 16:24 aggregate time behind the current maillot jaune wearer.

The team time trial is tomorrow, and I'll go out on a limb and predict that Muravyev will not be one of the riders who crosses the finish line with the team. His job will be to blow himself up well before the finish line pulling the team for all he's worth.

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Stage 2: Monaco to Brignoles

It seems that Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ) wishes to hold onto the Lanterne Rouge for a while. He finished today's bunch sprint stage in 179th position at 7:14 behind the entire peloton, with only Andreas Klier of Cervelo for company.

It looks as though Hutarovich may hold position for the next few days. He gave a couple of recent interviews:

Velo 101 (in French), from an interview in Monaco on July 3rd (badly translated):

"What feelings do you feel the day before the departure of your first Tour de France? "
"The best possible ones. I have just gained my national championship for the second consecutive year. A selection for the Tour, I am really in a dream."

Another French site, 7sur7, indicates he had a fall in Stage 2, accounting for his late arrival at the finish line (badly translated):

"Unhappy - The Bélarussian of Française des Jeux Yauheni Hutarovich, began his Tour de France in the worst way. Last against-the-watch in the inaugural time trial Saturday in Monaco, he fell with less than 20 km from the finish of the second phase, between Monaco and Brignoles. In the plan of the team, Hutarovich is supposed to dispute the sprints for stage wins."

Klier apparently had a wheel problem today and had to wait for a mechanic.

Jurgen van der Walle of Quick Step (2008 national champion) crashed today in stage two. He's the first rider out of the 2009 Tour, in the hospital with a punctured lung and broken clavicle. http://tinyurl.com/r3ejgf Incredibly, he apparently attempted to continue for some time after the crash in that condition! That brings the peloton down to 179 riders.

There were a few other crashes today. As always during the Tour I'll add details on the injuries and abandons as I can dig them up from the very sporadic medical releases that are posted online. I'm not sure it would be any easier to get these details sitting in that hot press tent on site, though.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Stage 1 Monaco individual time trial

Yauheni Hutarovich, riding for Francaise de Jeux, became the Stage 1 Lanterne Rouge of the 2009 Tour de France today. He finished in 180th position in the 15.5-km individual time trial in Monaco with a time of 23:23. If my calculations are correct, that gives him an average speed over that super-hilly course of 24.71 mph.

This is his first Tour de France for the sprinting specialist. Hutarovich is currently the road race champion of the nation of Belarus and therefore has the right to wear their national colors.

Placements today of previous Lanternes Rouges:

Geoffroy Lequatre (Stage 5, 2007): 99th
Filippo Pozzato (Stage 3, 2006): 101st
Bernard Eisel (Stage 19, 2008): 103th
Dimitry Muravyev (2008 Vuelta a Espana Lanterne Rouge): 122nd
Sébastien Joly (multiple stages, 2006): 129th
Aleksandr Kuschynski (Stage 1, 2007 and 2008): 165th
Mark Cavendish (Stage 7, 2007): 177th

Looking at Mark Cavendish's finishing position, the rider who may be the world's best sprinter at this time ranking 4th-to-last overall, I am reminded to make the point that the position in the General Classification says nothing about the inherent athletic ability of the cyclist, and everything about the important job they each play on their own team.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

It begins!

Today is the start of what could be one of the most exciting Tours of all time.

Here is a nice one-page summary of the route and stages and riders for you to bookmark. Here is the official starter list of all 180 riders.

Our early prediction for the Lanterne Rouge of the Stage 1 individual time trial around Monaco? Probably it will be some young mountain goat who is new to the Tour de France. The logical pick, though, is Aleksandr Kuschynski of Liquigas. He started the Tour as Lanterne Rouge in both '07 and '08.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

2009 Tour de France Lanterne Rouge

Who will it be? The one certainty is that it will be someone new, since Wim Vansevenant has retired from professional cycling after his historical threepeat.

One blogger says it's going to be Dave Zabriskie. As much as I love the Big Z, I have my doubts that he would stick around to finish the Tour if he weren't helping the team effort and also feeling well enough to be a contender for a stage win in the Stage 18 individual time trial (immediately after leaving the Alps). If he were at the bottom of the General Classification, that would indicate he had some fairly serious problems like crashing and major mountain bonks and solo finishes.

What's your guess? Anyone care to make some predictions?

Labels: , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?