Saturday, July 30, 2005

Shuttle Discovery Status Update

Lots of little upates.
First, on flight day 3, prior to docking with ISS, the shuttle's underbelly was displayed to the ISS cameras and crew, which noted the two areas of "damage" to the tiles and the thermal blankets. Today, though, Wayne Hale (Deputy Manager of Shuttle Program) has said that the engineering review is complete and that they have formally cleared the shuttle to land with regards to these areas. They successfully docked with ISS.
Second, the reinforced carbon-carbon is believed to be fine (and is continuing evaluation), and it is expected that they will get the "all clear" on that tomorrow.
Third, there is some exposure of "gap filler" material, which is ok, and they expect a full update on that for Monday.
If everything goes well tomorrow and Monday, then Discovery's heat shield will have the 100% GO for re-entry and landing.

Astronauts today completed a 6 and a half hour EVA (space walk) where they tested two different methods of repairing heat shield damage while on-orbit. Both tests went beautifully and, in some respects, might be considered better than expected (since these procedures for repair had not been tested in space before).

They've also decided to extend the mission by 1 day. Nothing really unexpected there. All in all, things look good so far, with two critical areas still to be cleared for re-entry and landing.

On another note, related to the entire shuttle fleet, it seems that Mike Griffin is quite optimistic about getting the shuttle fleet returned to flight quickly. He forsees a quick resolution to the foam problem, according to I suppose we'll see about that...(I'm not sure I believe it yet).

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Shuttle Discovery OK, BUT...

...the rest of the fleet has been grounded, as will Discovery when she returns safely to Earth.

According to this article, because the external fuel tank on Discovery lost a section of foam, NASA has decided to ground the fleet. This grounding is supposed to be temporary, until they can figure out a way to ensure that foam can't fall off of the external tank. As is widely known, the shuttle Columbia was struck by a piece of foam from the liquid fuel tank on launch, which caused catostrophic damage to a section of the heat shield tiles, manifesting upon Columbia's re-entry. After the Columbia disaster, the fleet was grounded for two and a half years, and a large amount of money and time was dedicated to solving the "foam problem," making sure that foam couldn't fall off of the external tank again. Even though the foam in the case of Discovery appears not to have impacted the orbiter in any way, it still shows that the foam problem hasn't been completely rectified, and thus the cause for the fleet's grounding.

I, and a few of my aerospace engineer friends, see this as more or less a sign of the end of the shuttle program as we know it. Having spent so much time and money "solving" a problem and finding that the problem wasn't solved (and in fact may not be solvable), we expect the next focus of NASA's efforts to be more towards the design and build of a next-generation vehicle than to the repair and upgrades of the shuttle fleet. While this means it's an interesting time to be involved in the aerospace industry, it also means that we will likely see quite a bit of time between now and the next U.S. manned space mission--after all, we will need enough time to design said vehicle and then get it qualified for space, which is a time-consuming task.

What does this mean for the near-term goals of NASA with regards to manned spaceflight?
*More dependence on the Russian Soyuz capsules for ISS maintenance and supply trips.
*Probable abandonment of the Hubble Space Telescope--NASA is reasonably convinced in part due to a study by the NSF (National Science Foundation) that robotic servicing of HST is not possible. While I disagree, I would expect them to abandon hope of repairing it in lieu of planning a robotic servicing mission. Of course, if they DO plan a robotic servicing mission, I think my thesis will play an important role in the design of the robot's hands and tools.
*Vechicle design may place more emphasis on a capsule-style (Mercury, Gemini, Apollo) vehicle, which has been more reliable in the past.

Again, more updates on the Discovery itself as mission landmarks occur. It will be interesting to follow what happens with the entire fleet, too.

UPDATE!!! The BBC has a much more satisfactory article about the grounding of the shuttle fleet. Find it here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Discovery Debris?

It turns out that there was some debris that fell off of the external fuel tank during separation (when the orbiter was somewhere around 60 miles above Earth). The debris fall-off was picked up by one of the cameras on the external tank, and did not appear to contact the orbiter.

There was also a bit of debris that seemed to fall off near the tiles at the front landing gear. It is (right now) believed that this was a bit of tile from the front landing gear area, one of the hottest parts of the shuttle upon re-entry.

NASA engineers and administrators will be examining and analyzing the camera footage in the next few days, to try to determine the extent of the damage. For all they know RIGHT NOW, since we have never seen this part of a mission before (prior to this, the cameras were not in place), this could be "normal" damage that always occurs. The examination of the orbiter by the shuttle remote manipulator arm, by the astronauts on EVA (extra-vehicular activity), and by cameras and CanadArm2 on ISS will also help evaluate the extent of the damage, in addition to the ground-based evaluation of the shots captured during today's launch.

Well, we've got them up there. Now we need to get them home. Oddly enough, I haven't seen anything about this debris on NASA's website (at least, not in a quick scan), though both the BBC and CBS News have a (very little) bit on it. Seeing as I've got nothing better to do in general these days, I'll be following the mission and its key aspects, and post anything interesting up here.

Discovery Is In Space

I don't care how many times I've seen a launch, either in FL or on TV, it's always spectacularly impressive. Today's launch was no exception, and things seemed to go as perfectly as could be hoped. Congrats to all those in NASA and the various contractors who worked so hard leading up to this Return to Flight mission! Now, let's make sure we bring them back home in 12 days...

Image courtesy of

Shuttle Discovery: Take 2

Here we are, 26 July 2005, and just about 1 hour til the scheduled launch of the space shuttle Discovery (STS-114). So far, all systems are go. The engineers still don't seem to know what has caused the fuel sensors to fail in the past, but for this launch have relaxed the "GO" requirement. Now, instead of requiring that all 4 sensors on each engine are working, it is only requird that 3 of the 4 sensors on each engine are working. As an engineer, it's a bit disturbing to me that the can't figure out what the problem is. Moreover, I fear that if today's launch is successful, NASA's administrators will be willing to overlook the fact that nobody has a clue as to what is causing the sensors to fail. THAT is bad engineering, plain and simple. I understand the desire to return to flight, but at the same time, some either alternative or work-around for the sensor failure problem should be addressed, and addressed soon. As of right now, 2 of 3 scheduled tests on the fuel sensors have been conducted, and both tests were 100% successful.

Follow all the return to flight coverage via NASA's Return to Flight page.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Mobile Game HoF

It seems that the folks over at Mobile Magazine have produced a "Mobile Game Hall of Fame," their list of "the 50 best mobile video games of all time." I looked over the list and must admit that there are some I've never seen or heard of...but mostly those are before my time. I've included a few selections here of games I've either owned or played, as well as some of the things I've never heard of or seen. For the full list, be sure to check out the article here.

#50. Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo DS. Haven't played this one yet, though I really want to. I'm a little surprised, though, that a remake of a Mario game made it into the top 50.

#49. Space Trader for the Palm Pilot. I've tried to play this one, and probably would play a bit more if it didn't require so much reading just to get into the game and learn it. That said, of course, it's a free game, and one I actually intend to try to play at some point. I'm glad to see that mobile gaming doesn't just mean portable video games a la Nintendo, Sega, or Sony. That is, it's nice to see some Palm, PPC, and SmartPhone games represented. Get it here if you're interested.

#46. Metroid II: The Return of Samus for Gameboy. You know, I own this. I never got into the game, and certainly wouldn't include it on a list of the 50 best of all time...

#43. Mattel Baseball. According to the article, this came out in 1978. I was born in '79, but have never heard of nor seen it.

#25. Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Gear. I adored this game, and it really was the flagship game and series of the Sega line, at least in the early to mid 90's. I guess now Sonic is more of an icon, but this game was a true classic, and I'm glad to see it was placed at 25.

#23. Geocaching. I guess, to be honest, that this is a "mobile" game since it's something you do outdoors with your GPS. It's kind of like a treasure hunt, where you can go to the geocaching website and get coordinates of places to go hunt for various caches. Though I have a GPS and enjoy hiking and the outdoors, this just doesn't strike my fancy. I guess it's just not my thing.

#21. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap for the Gameboy Advance. I HATED THIS GAME! I've adored the Legend of Zelda series since it first came out for the NES, but Minish Cap was the first game in the series that I truly did not enjoy. While there was a new "trick" for Link to learn, the trick of shrinking, I found the gameplay to be tired and repetitive and got bored with the game. The side-quests were long and annoying, not so much tricky as tedious, and most of them were pale copies of similar quests in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (one of my favorite all-time games, Zelda or otherwise). This is also the first Zelda game I didn't bother to beat. After playing through all the dungeons (which were effectively all the same with the same types of "puzzles" to figure out), I finally got to the final boss and was forced to beat him in at least 6 iterations. I got bored after the first 4 or so, and just said "Screw it, I'm bored." There are only so many times you can do the exact same thing over and over before you decide it's just stupid. Can I emphasize how much I hated this game?

#19. Pokemon Red for Gameboy. I admit, I never played Pokemon Red, but I do own Pokemon LeafGreen, which is a surprisingly great RPG. Sure, there are "kid" elements, but when you get past the "kids only" image, it's a well thought-out game that includes many sub-quests and a long story line--one that happily doesn't finish even after you beat the "main part" of the game.

#12. Tamagotchi. I'm a bit ashamed to admit I owned one. I think that's all I'll say about it in particular, though you may notice how there are similar (and quite popular) games out now for the computer and Nintendo DS, including the Sims line and Nintendogs.

#11. Simon. I had a "travel" Simon, which my brother, sister, and I played quite a bit on long car drives and when visiting the extended family over the holidays. It was a great game, but I think it was a little loud for most parents' tastes. If it had included headphones or a headphone jack, I think my parents would have let us play it longer. ;)

#8. Solitaire for the Pocket PC. Though this refers to the PPC version, I think many people use their computers and PDA's for excessive amounts of solitaire. It's an addictive little game, and is (I think) one of the most popular games for the PDA in general, with an abundance of versions of it to try.

#5. Mattel Football. See my comment for #43.

#4. Bejeweled for smartphones. I think that if people haven't purchased some sort of solitaire game for their PDA, then they probably have purchased a Bejeweled game (or clone). I've whittled away the time in many doctor's offices, car repair shops, and other long waiting lines playing some version of both of these games (and Bike or Die!, which didn't make this list).

#1. Tetris for Gameboy. I heart Tetris. I heart puzzle games. Tetris and Dr. Mario were the reason that I rarely got to bed before midnight when I was in elementary and middle school. Tetris (and other games of a similar nature...currently, Super Puzzle Fighter) is always a game I come back to for hours of challenge and entertainment, especially if I'm just trying to free my mind for awhile. Tetris for the Gameboy is the reason we had to buy my mom her own Gameboy--she kept stealing mine or my brother's whenever she wanted to play, and then would hound us to see if she could get a better score than we did (and if she did, you can believe we would work at it until we set a new high score for her to beat).

Any comments on any of these? Or perhaps there's one on the list that you can't believe I didn't mention? Be sure to let me know. :)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Italian Takes Stage 19

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.

Italian Giuseppe Guerini took his second-ever stage win in the Tour de France today, by making a superb break going into the final kilometer of the stage and dropping the other 3 riders who were in his breakaway group. This is the second stage he's ever won in the Tour de France, his last stage win coming in 1999. I believe it is also his first win in any race since 2002 or 2003. Because he rides for T-Mobile, his win should keep T-Mobile on the top of the team standings, while the top 5 in the general classification will remain unchanged.

All that's left for this year's TdF is tomorrow's individual time trial and then the final stage, the ride into Paris and under the Champs-Elysee. As a side note, I'll also post yesterday's top 3 finishers, since I neglected to report on it yesterday...

Stage 18 Top 3 Finishers
1. Marcos Serrano (ESP), Liberty-Seguros, 4:37:36
2. Cedric Vasseur (FRA), Cofidis, +00:27
3. Axel Merckx (BEL), Davitamon-Lotto, +00:27

Stage 19 Top 3 Finishers
1. Giuseppe Guerini (ITA), T-Mobile, 3:33:04
2. Sandy Casar (FRA), Francaise de Jeux, +00:10
3. Franco Pellizotti (ITA), Liquigas-Bianchi, +00:10

Top 5 General Classification After Stage 19
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 81:22:19
2. Ivan Basso (ITA), CSC, +02:46
3. Mickael Rasmussen (DEN), Rabobank, +03:46
4. Jan Ullrich (GER), T-Mobile, +05:58
5. Francisco Mancebo (ESP), Illes Balears

(Image from

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Discovery With Stage 17

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
Another Discovery Channel rider takes a stage! Savoldelli, a new rider to the squad (formerly of T-Mobile) has won stage 17 of the 2005 Tour de France. This is great for Team Discovery, gaining more points for them in the team standings. Though Lance has yet to win a stage this year, two of his teammate's have now, which must be especially nice in Lance's final Tour.

Updates to the standings a bit later, as the peloton was at least 20 minutes behind the stage leaders at the last time check (actually closer to 24 minutes, if I remember correctly). I'll post the standings shortly!!!

Top 3 Finishers, Stage 17
1. Paolo Savoldelli (ITA), Discovery Channel, 5:41:19
2. Kurt-Asle Arvesen (NOR), CSC, +00:00
3. Simons Gerrans (AUS), AG2R, +00:08

Top 5 in General Classification After Stage 17
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 72:55:50
2. Ivan Basso (ITA), CSC, +02:46
3. Mickael Rasmussen (DEN), Rabobank, +03:09
4. Jan Ullrich (GER), T-Mobile, +05:58
5. Francisco Mancebo (ESP), Illes Balears, +06:31

(Image from

Fun With Google

In honor of the 36th anniversary of the lunar landing, Google today is having some fun with their logo (as they often do when there are anniversaries of note). So, today, be sure to:
Go to
Click on the Moon in the logo
Zoom in all the way on the resulting picture

If going to doesn't work, you might want to try this link and do the zooming bit (i.e. zoom all the way in). Either way. Kudos to Google for today's fun. :)

Stage 16 Results

Been a crazy day, I spent almost 2/3 of my waking hours in the car or doing things otherwise away from my house and computer. Needless to say, I can't say much about stage 16, because I didn't get to see much of it.

Top 3 Finishers, Stage 16
1. Oscar Pereiro (ESP), Phonak, 4:38:40
2. Xabier Zandio (ESP), Illes Balears, +00:00
3. Eddy Mazzoleni (ITA), Lampre-Caffita, +00:00

Top 5 General Classification After Stage 16
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 66:52:03
2. Ivan Basso (ITA), CSC, +02:46
3. Mickael Rasmussen (DEN), Rabobank, +03:09
4. Jan Ullrich (GER), T-Mobile, +05:58
5. Francisco Mancebo (ESP), Illes Balears, +06:31

Sunday, July 17, 2005

TdF Stages 13, 14, 15

Today's stage 15 was a great day for Lance's long time teammate and right-hand man, George Hincapie. He has never won a stage in the Tour de France, and today came out fighting. As a part of the lead pack just 27 km into the stage (out of just over 200 km total for today), I'm sure George didn't have any real hopes of holding on for the stage win. Whether or not it was expected, though, he certainly did, earning himself a first-ever stage win and also the first win for a teammate of Lance's since 1999. George definitely had a banner day today, leading into tomorrow's rest day. Congrats out to George!

I haven't been reporting on the TdF lately, which is purely a result of trying to re-read the Harry Potter books prior to the release of book 6, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Thursday I re-read book 4 (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Friday was spent with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book 5) and Saturday, I went to Barnes & Noble at around 9:30 a.m. to pick up my copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I was able to finish the book in about 8 hours of disjointed reading, and am now back in full action to cover the final week of the Tour as they race into Paris. In case you weren't following the stages very carefully, the results from stages 13 and 14 were as follows...

Stage 13 Top 3 Finishers
1. Robbie McEwen (AUS), Davitamon-Lotto, 3:43:14
2. Stuart O'Grady (AUS), Cofidis, +00:00
3. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, +00:00

Stage 14 Top 3 Finishers
1. Georg Totschnig (AUT), Gerolsteiner, 5:43:43
2. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, +00:56
3. Ivan Basso (ITA), CSC, +00:58

And, finally, today's stage 15 results, as well as the overall General Classification after today's stage. There's been a little bit of a shake-up at the top, as Lance now has over two and a half minutes on the second-place rider.

Stage 15 Top 3 Finishers
1. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, 6:06:38
2. Oscar Pereiro (ESP), Phonak, +00:06
3. Pietro Caucchioli (ITA), Credit Agricole, +00:38

General Classification Top 5 After Stage 15
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 69:09:59
2. Ivan Basso (ITA), CSC, +02:46
3. Mickael Rasmussen (DEN), Rabobank, +03:09
4. Jan Ullrich (GER), T-Mobile, +05:58
5. Francisco Mancebo (ESP), Illes Balears, +06:31

(Image from

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bastille Day at Le Tour

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
This year's Tour de France has been relatively frustrating for the French. The French riders haven't done very well overall in this year's Tour, and that upsets the French fans on some level. It seems almost appropriate, then, that on Bastille Day--a holiday in France similar to Independence Day in the US--that a Frenchman should win. Indeed, today's stage 12 victory went to David Moncoutie of the Cofidis team.

Some important withdrawals of note, between yesterday and today. Jens Voigt, winner of stage 9, was unable to finish within the time limit in stage 11, so has been eliminated from the competition. Tom Boonen, who was the sprint leader (green jersey) as of the end of stage 11, apparently woke up this morning with a very swollen knee and was advised by the team doctor that riding today could cause long-term damage to his knee, so he did not start. He'd been in a few crashes over the first week of riding, and I think those crashes finally caught up with him. Finally, Manuel "Tricky" Beltran, a Discovery Channel rider, was in a crash during today's stage and was forced to withdraw from the race with a head injury of some sort. This will be the first time since 2001 (I believe) that Lance's team will not finish with all 9 riders, so I imagine there will be a little sadness and disappointment with the Discovery team tonight. Unfortunately, randomness in cycling is part of the nature of the beast, and sometimes random crashes do happen and require riders to pull out.

With Tom Boonen out, the green jersey will now go to Thor Hushovd of Norway (Credit Agricole). Lance finished with the peloton, about 10 and a half minutes after Moncoutie crossed the line. It seemed almost as if most of the leaders stayed back with the peloton today, knowing that today was a good day to recover from yesterday's mountain stage. The leaders of today's stage were far enough behind Lance and the other top riders in the GC that it was no threat at all for Lance et al to take it easy and finish 10+ minutes back.

Stage 12 Top 3 Finishers
1. David Moncoutie (FRA), Cofidis, 4:20:06
2. Sandy Casar (FRA), Francaise des Jeux, +00:57
3. Angel Vicioso (ESP), Liberty Seguros, +00:57

General Classification Top 5 After Stage 12
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 46:30:36
2. Mickael Rasmussen (DEN), Rabobank, +00:38
3. Christophe Moreau (FRA), Credit Agricole, +02:34
4. Ivan Basso (ITA), CSC, +02:40
5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Illes Balears, +03:16

(Image from

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Discovery Delayed Until...?

According to an article at CNN, the launch of Discovery is going to be delayed until at least Saturday. According to an article at the BBC, however, the launch has been delayed until at least Monday. NASA's Return to Flight page agrees with the CNN page, that the next chance for a launch is Saturday. Either way, all this really means is that they're not sure what is going on with the sensor, and where the problem lies exactly. It may lie in the sensor itself, which would require moving the shuttle back to the VAB to fix. The problem may lie in the wiring to the sensor, a problem which can be fixed while it's on the pad, or the problem may lie in the telemetry FROM the sensor, another problem that can be fixed while the shuttle is on the pad. Hopefully by tomorrow they'll have a better idea of what the problem is exactly, where it is, and how to fix it, and a new launch date and time will be announced.

Shuttle Discovery Launch Delayed

Today's scheduled return to flight for the space shuttle Discovery (STS-114, scheduled for 3:51 PM ET) has been scrubbed. Though weather was becoming a concern, they had to scrub the mission because at least 2 of the low-fuel sensors on at least one of the three shuttle engines was malfunctioning. Each engine has 4 of these sensors, and all must be working for the mission to be a go.

Depending on how easy it is to fix the sensor problem, Discovery MAY be able to launch tomorrow, sometime in the 3-4 PM ET time frame. If it can't launch tomorrow, Saturday will be the next opportunity, and after that, Tuesday. They can't launch on Friday because if the mission can't go off tomorrow, the fuel in the shuttle will have had a chance of degradation and will need to be replaced. This would happen on Friday if Discovery doesn't launch Thursday. You can follow the coverage of the return to flight over the next few days by going to either NASA's main site or to the Return to Flight page.

CNN is reporting that it was only 1 sensor in a set of 4 on one engine that was faulty. Either way, it was about 2 hours and 45 minutes before launch, and, without knowing exactly why the sensor was malfunctioning (and if it was/is a problem that might occur to the other sensors, too), they didn't want to risk it. MSNBC is currently reporting that if the sensor itself is faulty, then the shuttle will have to be rolled back into the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). If that happens, the next attempt won't be until 9 September (due to the relative position of ISS and the launch window to be able to dock with it). More details as they become available.

(Image directly from

Vino Takes Stage 11

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
Bouncing back from a disappointing stage 10, one of Lance's main rivals, Alexandre Vinokourov came out today with a vengence and was able to take the stage. Though Vino's lead was as large as 3+ minutes at times, the final time gap between Vino and Lance was only 1:15. Vino started his attack in the 28th km, and neer let go. He did come down to the final sprint with the Colombian Santiago Botero, but managed to pull out enough energy for the win.

Top 3 Finishers, Stage 11
1. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ), T-Mobile, 4:47:38
2. Santiago Botero (COL), Phonak, +00:01
3. Christophe Moreau (FRA), Credit Agricole, +01:15

With Vino's win (and subsequent time bonus), he's moved up a bit in the GC, though Lance remains on top, 38 seconds in front of Mickael Rasmussen.

GC Top 5 After Stage 11
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 41:59:57
2. Mickael Rasmussen (DEN), Rabobank, +00:38
3. Christophe Moreau (FRA), Credit Agricole, +02:34
4. Ivan Basso (ITA), CSC, +02:40
5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Illes Balears, +03:16

Lance's main competitors, including Basso, Vino, and Ullrich are in 4th (+2:40), 12th (+4:47), and 9th (+4:02), respectively.

(Image from

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Valverde Takes Stage 10

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
Today's stage at the Tour de France brought with it what most analysts and enthusiasts expected: a charge by Lance Armstrong and the Discovery team to show their dominance in the mountains and put some time between Lance and his main competitors.

What wasn't expected was the performance of some of the younger riders, including stage winner Alejandro Valverde. I personally didn't expect Lance's main competitors to fall out as they did, either, but that's a testament to how hard Lance was pushing.

The stage started fairly typically--a few guys tried to build a lead for themselves, while Lance et. al. stayed with the peloton. Soon enough, though, before the last climb of the day (a category 1 climb), the peloton caught the leaders, and from there, the Discovery Team took over. They lead the pack, setting a fairly quick pace. One by one, riders started dropping off the back of the peloton, and eventually Lance had the front of the peloton, along with Popyvich, Hincapie, and some of his main rivals.

Cranking along, Lance eventually broke out into a lead with Alejandro Valverde, Mikael Rasmussen, and Francisco Mancebo. Towards the end of the climb, though, it became just Lance and Alejandro, and Valverde was able to out-sprint Lance at the top for the stage win. Lance got the same time as Valverde, and Rasmussen and Mancebo (from Valverde's team) came across the line 9 seconds later.

Of course, the same could not be said for Lance's main competitors including Ivan Basso, Alexandre Vinokourov, and Jan Ullrich. Basso finished the stage 1 minute and 2 seconds behind Lance, having been a part of the main lead group for most of the final climb. Ullrich took over a minute more, crossing the finish 2 minutes and 14 seconds behind Lance, while Vino didn't cross for more than 5 minutes after Lance did.

Top 3 Finishers, Stage 10
1. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Illes Balears, 4:50:35
2. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, +00:00
3. Mickael Rasmussen (DEN), Rabobank, +00:09

The large lead that Armstrong's pack gave themselves lead to quite a bit of a shake-up in the general classification.

GC Top 5 After Stage 10
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 37:11:04
2. Mickael Rasmussen (DEN), Rabobank, +00:38
3. Ivan Basso (ITA), CSC, +02:40
4. Christophe Moreau (FRA), Credit Agricole, +02:42
5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Illes Balears +03:16

Of note, Jan Ullrich is 8th, 4:02 behind Lance. Vinokourov is 16th, 6:32 off of Lance. Finally, Beloki is 21st, 8 minutes and 31 seconds behind Lance. Things are looking good so far, early in the 2nd week of this year's Tour.

(Image from

Sunday, July 10, 2005

TdF Stage 9: Jens Voigt Takes Yellow Jersey

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
Today's stage 9 saw the King of the Mountain, Mickael Rasmussen, jump out to an early lead and then hold it for the entirety of the stage. He began his attack in the first 5 km, and was able to hold his lead to win the stage by just over 3 minutes. Congrats to Mickael!

Perhaps of more importance, however, to those following Lance's progress, is that today he gave up the yellow jersey to Jens Voigt of CSC (pictured at right). Voigt joined the group chasing Rasmussen, and formed an intermediate group, finally crossing the line 3 minutes, 4 seconds after Rasmussen. Going into the day, Voigt was 1 minute behind Lance, and since Lance finished another 3 minutes behind Voigt (with the main pack, +06:04 off Rasmussen), Voigt will wear the maillot jaune on Tuesday's stage 10. This isn't much of a worry to the Discovery Channel team. Voigt is known more as a sprinter than a hill-climber, and I think that Lance et al expect that he'll tire himself out and that they can get the yellow jersey back in the mountains. The team still considers Lance's biggest competitors to be Vinokourov (1:26 behind Lance) and Ullrich (1:36 behind Lance).

As expected, David Zabriskie pulled out of the TdF today. Though he did start, he pulled out early in the stage. This isn't exactly as a surprise--with his injured ribs, he can't breathe very well, making long-distance cycling a difficult prospect. Hopefully he'll bounce back from this injury and have a good finish to the season, and we'll be able to talk about him again in next year's TdF.

Top 3 Finishers, Stage 9
1. Mickael Rasmussen (DEN), Rabobank, 4:08:20
2. Christophe Moreau (FRA), Credit Agricole, +03:04
3. Jens Voigt (GER), CSC, +03:04

General Classification Top 5 After Stage 9
1. Jens Voigt (GER), CSC, 32:18:23
2. Christophe Moreau (FRA), Credit Agricole, +01:50
3. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, +02:18
4. Mickael Rasmussen (DEN), Rabobank, +02:43
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ), T-Mobile, +03:20

(Image from

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Stages 7 and 8 of 2005's TdF

I've been sort of busy these last couple of days, and haven't had a chance to do as thorough updating as usual on this year's Tour de France. Today's stage 8 was a first glimpse of what the mountains might be like--it started with four category 3 climbs, and ended with a category 2 climb. Unfortunately for the Discovery Channel team, the final climb was a bit disappointing. Lance had to go it alone, as the rest of his team was either too tired or just not paying attention to what was going on, and got dropped on the climb. Hopefully, they'll figure out what went wrong today, fix it tomorrow, and get some good rest on Monday, which is the rest day.

Other notes of interest today include:
-Pieter Weening was able to win the stage by an insanely small margin over Andreas Kloden: 0.0002 seconds. A photo finish and computer timing chips on each bike had to be used to determind who won the stage. What is nice about Weening's win is that he was one of the ones who started an early breakaway in today's stage, and for the first time in this TdF, one of the people in the initial breakaway actually captured the stage.

-On a bit of a sad note, David Zabriskie really struggled today, finishing in last place, 51 minutes and 12 seconds behind Weening. This time was within 1 minute of the time he needed to finish by or else be forced to retire/withdrawal. It's obvious that his ribs, injured in the crash during the team time trial and aggravated in one of the stage 6 crashes, are really bothering him. Let's face it, when you have injured ribs, it's hard to breathe as deeply as you need to, and that just saps your energy and ability to do endurance racing. I expect that he'll probably drop out soon (I actually have my doubts as to if he'll even start on Sunday's stage 9). As it stands now, he is 179th out of 180, 1 hour, 1 minute, and 13 seconds behind Lance.

-After today's stage (and the disappearance of most of the Discovery Channel team in the last climb), the top 5 in the GC is a bit different than it's been in the past. Results from the last 2 stages and the GC as of the end of stage 8 are below.

Top 3 Finishers in Stage 7
1. Robbie Mc Ewen (AUS), Davitamon-Lotto, 3:46:00
2. Magnus Backstedt (SWE), Liquigas-Bianchi, +00:00
3. Bernhard Eisel (AUT), Francaise Des Jeux, +00:00

Top 3 Finishers in Stage 8
1. Pieter Weening (NED), Rabobank, 5:03:54
2. Andreas Kloden (GER), T-Mobile, +00:00
3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Illes Balears-Caisse D'Epargne, +00:27

General Classification Top 5 After Stage 8
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 28:06:17
2. Jens Voigt (GER), CSC, +01:00
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ), T-Mobile, +01:02
4. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, +01:07
5. Ivan Basso (ITA), CSC, +01:26

Thursday, July 07, 2005

After Crash, Bernucci Takes Stage 6

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
The weather for today's stage really set the stage for an interesting finish. 600m in front of the finish line, a combination of the wet road, a 90 degree corner, and crosswalk paint yielded some precarious conditions for a final sprint. As might be expected, this did in fact cause a bit of a wreck right before today's finish. Some riders were able to slow down enough to take the turn without falling, and some actually unclipped and put a foot down to stay upright, but many riders did completely wipe out at the turn, and many riders were held up a bit because of the pileup at the turn.

In the end, Lorenzo Bernucci of the Fassa Bortolo team was able to stay upright and power down the straight after the turn, taking the stage. According to the rules of the TdF, because the wreck happened in the final 3km of the stage, everybody in the main pack (that was about 7 seconds back from the leaders) will get the same time--that is, the winning time plus 7 seconds.

Stage 6 Top 3 Finishers
1. Lorenzo Bernucci (ITA), Fassa Bortolo, 4:12:52
2. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ), T-Mobile, +00:00
3. Robert Forster (GER), Gerolsteiner, +00:07

Today's result shakes up the top of the general classification just a bit, as noted below.

Top 5 General Classification
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 17:58:11
2. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, +00:55
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ), T-Mobile, +01:02
4. Jens Voight (GER), CSC, +01:04
5. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, +01:07

Of note, Ivan Basso is currently 9th in the GC, at +01:26, and Jan Ullrich is 13th at +01:36.

(Image from

Delayed TdF Stage 6 Coverage Here

I've switched over fom OLN and the TdF to watch CNN and see what's going on in London. I'll probably post results from today's TdF stage here later, but for now, my thoughts are with those in London and their friends and families.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Robbie McEwen Takes Stage 5

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
I didn't actually see today's race (yet, I plan on watching the replays on OLN), but a quick look at the TdF site and VeloNews says that Robbie McEwen (pictured at right) took this stage, edging out Tom Boonen. Sorry that there's not much else I can say, but not having seen it, it'd be hard to comment with any credibility.

Top 3 Finishers:
1. Robbie Mc Ewen (AUS), Davitamon-Lotto, 3:46:00
2. Tom Boonen (BEL), Quick-Step
3. Thor Hushovd (NOR), Credit Agricole

Lance finished with the main pack, meaning he will also get the stage-winning time, leaving the top of the GC unchanged.

General Classification Top 5:
1. Lance Amrstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 13:45:12
2. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, +00:55
3. Jens Voight (GER), CSC, +01:04
4. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, +01:07
5. Jose Luis Rubiera (ESP), Discovery Channel, +01:14

(Image from

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

TdF: Zabriskie OK

According to this article at VeloNews, x-rays on Zabriskie showed no broken bones, and it is expected he will start in tomorrow's Stage 5. Watching it live on TV, it looked like all of a sudden, he just spontaneously fell. One minute he was in the paceline, the next he was skidding sideways and falling. People assumed he clipped a wheel in the paceline, though now it seems that the blame is being placed on a skipping chain. From the VeloNews article,

"CSC roared down the final, twisting descent into Blois through a series of sharp S-turns but the team split coming through the final corner. A small gap of perhaps 15 feet opened between the leading riders and Zabriskie, Roberts and Ivan Basso.

Zabriskie stood out of the saddle and glanced over his right shoulder. And then disaster struck. His front wheel slipped out and the yellow jersey went careening to the asphalt.

The actual caused of his crash wasn't certain. The roads were dry and it appears Zabriskie didn't puncture, and Roberts said Zabriskie didn't clip a wheel. "I'm not sure what happened, whether his chain jumped or his foot slipped. We were accelerating after coming through the corner and maybe it threw him off-balance," Roberts said. "It's just bad luck for Dave. It's an awful situation for him."

Zabriskie fell hard on his left side, narrowly missing the fenced barriers and a French policeman standing just inside the course, who was forced to jump out of the way when Zabriskie's red bike went clanging past.

Roberts and Basso narrowly avoided crashing into either Zabriskie or his bike. The two frantically chased back on.

"It was a miracle that Luke and I didn't crash into Dave's bike," Basso said. "We have to accept what happened and it's too bad for Dave. Now I am 1:26 down on Armstrong, but this Tour doesn't start for me until the Alps."

Zabriskie got a bike change and rode alone across the line, his yellow jersey ripped and torn with blood on his elbow, shoulders, hip and knee. Team doctors gave Zabriskie two stitches inside the team bus. Subsequent X-rays showed no broken bones.

Later, the young American said, "I'm not happy with what happened but that's life. I'm extremely disappointed because we were very, very close to winning the stage and I was close to keeping the yellow jersey."

Riis said, "I don't know how it happened. We had six seconds on Discovery with two kilometers to go. The others waited to see what would happen and I yelled at them to keep going to the finish as fast as they can, not to wait. If Dave hadn't crashed, we could have won the stage."

Seems to be pretty unlucky for Dave, as he'll be one sore rider in tomorrow's stage. I'm glad to hear, though, that he's mostly alright and will be pushing on.

TdF Stage 4: Team Time Trial

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
It was a crazy day of team time trialing today at the Tour de France. As is becoming a familiar routine, Team Discovery started out fairly slowly, but sped up considerably as they raced through the course. They started second to last, with Team CSC starting last, 5 minutes behind them.

This wasn't exactly a surprise, as it was expected that DSC and CSC would be battling it out for first place in the TTT. The big surprise, though, was that CSC's Dave Zabriskie, wearing the yellow jersey, took a spill almost literally within spitting distance of the finish (with 1.5 km to go).

At the finish, though, DSC finished 2 seconds faster than CSC. Zabriskie's crash means he won't get the same time as the rest of his team, thus Lance takes over the overall lead of the TdF, and will don the yellow jersey.

Top 5 Team Finishes
Discovery Channel 1:10:39
CSC +00:02
T-Mobile +00:35
Liberty Seguros +00:53
Phonak +01:31

Top 5 in General Classification After Stage 4
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel 9:59:12
2. George Hincapie (USA), Disocvery Channel +00:55
3. Jens Voigt (GER), CSC +01:04
4. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC +01:07
5. Jose Luis Rubiera (ESP), Discovery Channel +01:14

(Image from

Because of the crash, there is a rumor circulating that David Zabriskie has broken some ribs and may have to pull out of the TdF. I'll try and get confirmation on that. If it's true, it's sort of sad. Zabriskie was having a great start to his Tour, and to have to pull out for such a weird crash...

Monday, July 04, 2005

Stage 3 of Le Tour

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
In today's stage we saw Erik Dekker (Netherlands, pictured at right), of team Rabobank, take the lead in the King of the Mountains competition by a point. He will wear the polka-dotted climber's jersey in tomorrow's Stage 4. Dekker showed a lot of heart, taking the lead with 27 km to go and pressing as hard as he could to retain that lead, especially in the last 5 km, when his lead was only 5-10 seconds. Inside of 2 km, he was caught by the peloton, though. All said and done, though, he put forth an amazing effort.

After an insane and incredible sprint finish, Boonen takes his second stage of this year's TdF. David Zabriskie finished in the main pack, as did Lance Armstrong, so Zabriskie retains the yellow jersey, while Lance remains in second. Lance's other main competitors also finished in the lead pack, so leading into tomorrow's Team Time Trial Stage 4, the general classification remains mostly unchanged.

Because of some rough actions in the final sprint, Robbie McEwen, who technically finished 3rd in the stage, was stripped of his 3rd place finish, and instead Stuart O'Grady was given the 3rd place.

Stage 3 top 3 finishers:
1. Tom Boonen (BEL), Quick-Step
2. Peter Wrolich (AUT), Gerolsteiner
3. Stuart O'Grady (AUS), Cofidis

General Classification after Stage 3:
1. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC, 8:48:31
2. Lance Amstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, +00:02
3. Laszlo Bodrogi (HUN), Credit Agricole +00:47
4. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ), T-Mobile +00:53
5. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel +00:57

(Image from

Sunday, July 03, 2005

TdF, 2nd Stage

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
Tom Boonen, of team Quick-Step, has won the 2nd stage of the 2005 Tour de France. Both Lance and Jan Ullrich finished with the lead pack, +0:00 off the winner. David Zabriskie also finished in the lead pack, so will retain the Maillot Jaune for tomorrow's stage 3.

The top 3 finishers for Stage 2 were:
1. Tom Boonen (BEL), Quick-Step, 3:51:31
2. Thor Hushovd (NOR), Credit Agricole, +00:00
3. Robbie McEwen (AUS), Davitamon-Lotto, +00:00

General Classification after today's stage:
1. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC, 4:12:27
2. Lance Amstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, +00:02
3. Laszlo Bodrogi (HUN), Credit Agricole +00:47
4. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ), T-Mobile +00:53
5. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel +00:57

Of note, now Jan Ullrich is 12th in the GC, at +01:08.

(Image from

Saturday, July 02, 2005

David Zabriskie Takes the Yellow Jersey

David Zabriskie
Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
It wasn't Lance that will wear the yellow jersey tomorrow. Instead, it will be another American, David Zabriskie, who rides for CSC. (though is a former USPS teammate of Lance). Final results will be coming soon, as soon as I can find them at the official TdF website, the OLN site, or VeloNews. Photo is from the Lance Armstrong website, and is admittedly an old photo.

Preliminary Results:
1. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC, 20:51.84
2. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 0:02
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), T-Mobile, 0:53
4. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, 0:56
5. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), Credit Agricole, 0:59

Tour de Lance?

Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
Le Tour de France starts today, meaning that today Lance starts his quest for a seventh straight TdF win.

As a cyclist, a fan of cycling, and a Lance supporter since the early 90's (when he was just an up-and-coming young American and, frankly, was a bit of an asshole), you can bet I'll be watching daily and updating here.

Currently it's almost 12:30 PM ET and I imagine Lance won't be starting until a little after 1 PM ET.

I'll have the day's final results posted here sometime after the day is done.