Twisted Spoke

My twisted take on the world of pro bike racing.

Armstrong to ride Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Builds cobblestone training road in Austin.

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Austin-Roubaix coming soon.

Meet the new King of the Cobbles: Lance Armstrong.

The Texan sent a message to his younger rival Alberto Contador — I will be ready for stage three of the 2010 Tour de France when the pavement turns to bone-rattling cobblestones.

Armstrong will ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Ronde in particular will allow Lance to hone his rockabilly bike handling, just the prep work he needs to gain a strategic advantage on the Spanish climber.

But that news was nothing compared to the surprise Armstrong dropped on his rivals Contador and Schleck. To perfect his skills, Lance is building an 8 mile stretch of cobblestones just west of his home in Austin just to train on.

Work has already begun on the two million dollar project –what locals are calling Austin-Roubaix. According the Radio Shack director Johan Bruyneel, the earth-moving operations finish next month, with the imported belgian cobblestones to be laid shortly after.

“It will be the best, for Lance, the best stone,” said Bruyneel. “It will be the finest cobblestones in Texas.”

Lance is legendary in his meticulous scouting of key mountain stages and time trial courses along with his relentless technical development. But the new cobblestone highway was a first. What ya’ll gonna call it? Lone Star stones, Hell of the Austin, the Radio Shack rock garden?

Twisted Spoke thinks Alberto Contador isn’t going to have a “tranquilo” time when Radio Shack goes full gas on the stone sections of the Tour’s stage three run around Northern France. It will be an Astana demolition derby.

“There are many more cobblestones than in 2004, said Armstrong. “The hardest moment is just before the stones where everyone chooses position,” he said in an interview on Dutch NOS television. Obviously, the greatest endurance athlete of our time plans to be ready and is leaving no stone unturned.

When it comes to winning the Tour de France for an eighth time, every cobble counts.


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