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Vuelta Ciclista a España

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Taylor Phinney Blogs Through the Burning Hot Hills of the Vuelta a Espana Tour of Spain Pro Cycling Race

While we've been focusing on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge somewhat, the Vuelta a Espana is well underway, just not on my television. Well, neither is the USAPCC, but I've been finding ways to get a look in through the kindness of strangers. Anyway, I took a look at the Universal Sports page at the bottom there, which links to Taylor Phinney's blog here...

http://taylorphinney.com/2011/08/24/an-amateur-end-to-one-of-the-most-difficult-days-ive-ever-had/

There's something very relevant about these descriptions of pain and doubt. Something very easy to remember, but easy enough to forget, so we go out and do it again. Phinney has a good way of expressing it so that even those of us who've never been front runners like he has can at least know we share some of the same emotions and sensations. 

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Dopers, Testers, Tests, Lance Armstong, Tour de France, Vuelta, Giro, Garmin-Chipotle

Well the Tour de France route for 2009 has come out, and there's some new old stuff, like the Team Time Trial is back. Some say this makes Lance Armstrong more likely to show up, some say less, and he seems to want some assurances from the organizers about respectful treatment or some such.

Meanwhile Contador sounded welcoming at first, but lately perhaps less so, and Vino's name has surfaced as well. Nothing solid here from me...just some impressions.

Location

Avenue des Champs-Elysées
Paris 75008
France
48° 52' 11.2836" N, 2° 18' 27.3096" E
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USA Cyclist Levi Leipheimer Takes Vuelta (Tour of Spain) Fifth Stage ITT and GC Lead

Now, something to cheer about! You never know about people really, but I've seen Levi in person and on streaming video and I can tell you there were awesome performances, but nothing that seemed "unbelievable," like some other performances I've seen. I'll never know if Levi is clean, just like I thought it was certain that others were, but seeing Levi almost but not quite do it several times leads me to believe in him. Having said that, joining Astana and linking with some I've begun to doubt still makes me wonder, which is sad.

Location

Ciudad Real
Spain
38° 59' 9.9456" N, 3° 55' 38.1468" W
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Astana Accepted into Vuelta Without 2006 Winner Alexandre Vinokourov

Astana is taking August off, they said, but that doesn't keep them from starting September in Spain, it seems. This photo is pretty impressive. Yowee that hurts. It is a shame that amazing feats are cheapened by some of the very ones who achieve them. I admire the struggle through great pain, because I've done that one, and finished way back. And if we don't quit, we get off the couch, out of the bed, and onto the road again, that's something. We beat everyone who doesn't start, at least.

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Peer Pressure and Finishing the Ride

I liked this little piece that appeared on Cyclingnews a couple of days ago:

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Vuelta a España

The 2006 Vuelta a España, the third and last of the three-week tours, begins this weekend in Malaga with a dead-flat 7.2km team time trial on Saturday. The field looks pretty interesting too. Tom Danielson will be the designated team leader for Discovery, unlike the situation in the Tour de France this year where there was no clear number one for that team. Alexandre Vinokourov and his Kazakhstan-based Astana team (formerly the Spanish Liberty Seguros squad) will compete after being shut out in France at the last minute. TdF de facto winner Oscar Pereiro and hard-luck crash victim Alejandro Valverde will lead the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears team. And one of my favorite riders, Alessandro Petacchi, has recovered from the fractured kneecap suffered early in the Giro d'Italia and will be back to contest the sprints against Robby McEwen, Thor Hushovd, and others.

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