The 2009 Tour de France is over and now we have to wait another 49 weeks until we are able to shut down our lives for 3 weeks as we watch the best in the world take on the streets of France. The 2009 Tour de France was a special event this year. With the return of Lance Armstrong and an extremely strong Astana Team, the Tour de France saw a 54%+ increase in viewers as we got to watch the Tour in HD glory thanks to the VS channel. So after the dust has settled on the cobblestone of the Champs…what did I think about the 2009 Tour de France?
2009 Tour de France Recap by 198
- Lance Armstrong – You can not talk about the 2009 Tour de France without mentioning Lance Armstrong. Armstrong can leave the 2009 Tour with his head held high and critics silenced with his overall third place finish in the Tour. After his long hiatus from the sport and considering his age…he is still performing with the best in professional cycling. It will be interesting to see how things pan out with his new Radio Shack team when he does not have to back up Contador. Can he close that time gap and take yellow next year? It will be interesting to see what more training and the mental experience of Armstrong has for the rest of the field next year…
- Alberto Contador – What a machine. Contador’s climbing attacks were incredible over the mountain stages of the Tour. If Contador was not just trying to keep Lance Armstrong on the podium on Mont Ventoux, who knows what the time gap could have been if he had given Andy Schleck a real run for his money. With his 2 for 3 record in the Tour de France, it will be interesting to see how many yellow jerseys Contador can rack up over the coming years.
- Andy Schleck – This young gun from Luxembourg not only took the white jersey for the strongest young rider on the Tour, but his 2nd place finish overall was the only threat outside of Team Astana for Contador. As long as Andy Schleck can shake the need to keep with his older brother Frank, he should be a lot of fun to watch over the coming Tours.
- Mark Cavendish – “The Manx Missile” completely ripped up the sprints to easily take 6 stage victories. Forgetting that he has the best lead in rider in the sport, Mark Renshaw, it is still an amazing feat as you watch Cavendish literally explode to the finish. Unfortunately, American rider Tyler Farrar (also one of the best sprinters in the world and one of the only to ever beat Cavendish) had to watch from second place for most of the Tour.
- Doping – We finally made it through an entire Tour without a huge doping scandal! It appears…at least for now…that the riders are playing by the rules and have left the happy pills at home. Hopefully, this trend can continue and the Tour de France can shake that monkey off it’s back and get back to racing.
The 2009 Tour de France was one of the most exciting Tours in recent memory. With the return of a lot of strong riders and the focus back on the racing and not outside influences, the Tour really shaped up to be an incredible race with exciting twists and turns along the way. Who knows…if Levi Leipheimer had not wrecked…maybe Astana would have swept the podium, but it was still a huge success for the Astana team and the rest of the Tour. Next year will be an interesting one as the new teams enter professional cycling and we prepare for an all out war on the mountains surrounding France.