Matthew Keenan

Matthew is a regular SBS commentator at the Tour de France. Prior to heading into the commentary box Matthew spent two seasons racing in Europe and rides as often as possible to remind his legs of that feeling of grovelling up a climb.

Contador the favourite, only just

01 July 2009 | 0:00 - By Matthew Keenan

The bookies have Alberto Contador as the short priced favourite for the Tour de France but the gap between the Spaniard and his rivals is not be a big as many of the punters may think.

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Alberto Contador (C), Levi Leipheimer (L) and Carlos Sastre (Getty)

The bookies have Alberto Contador as the short priced favourite for the Tour de France but the gap between the Spaniard and his rivals is not be a big as many of the punters may think.

Contador hasn’t shown the dominance of Lance Armstrong or Miguel Indurain, who regularly crushed their rivals.

His 2007 Tour de France victory was by a mere 23 seconds - the second smallest margin ever.

Last year’s Giro d’Italia, admittedly with limited preparation, was won without winning a stage.

And his victory in the 2008 Vuelta a Espana was almost reliant on time bonuses. Without the time bonuses he was on equal time with team-mate Levi Leipheimer and would have only won on a count-back by hundredths of a second.

Although these victories put him in illustrious company, as one of only five men to have won all three grand tours, they also highlight a fragility that gives his rivals hope.

Combined with his capitulation at Paris-Nice, they also demonstrate that if something doesn’t go quite according to plan there isn’t much margin for error.

Cadel Evans showed at the Dauphine that he’s prepared and ready to take Contador on. And even though he still doesn’t have an all-conquering team it looks stronger than it ever has.

With his victories in the Vuelta Denis Menchov has shown in the past that his second grand tour of the season is often better than his first. So if his form improves from the Giro he too could join that select group of riders to have won all three grand tours.

Andy Schleck has all the team support you could ask for and, all be it a one-day classic, demonstrated at this year’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege that he can handle the pressure of being team leader.

And Carlos Sastre, despite some odd – let’s not talk about them – team non-selections, will not surrender his title without a fight.

Plus there’s Contador’s team-mate Lance Armstrong. If anyone can defy logic, at 37-years-of-age, after three years of retirement and become the oldest ever winner of the race, it’s Armstrong.

So yes Contador is justifiably the favourite but with these and a few more wildcards lining up in Monaco it’s no forgone conclusion.

Who’s your pick?

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09 Jul 2010 23:31 AEST

Ross Bowles

From: Brooklyn - Sydney

Great work Matt

I have just read a few negative comments Matt and can not understand why, as an ex amateur rider from way back, I find your knowledge spot on and very entertaining, keep up the good work Cheers

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21 Jul 2009 16:31 AEST

Margaret

From: Batemans Bay

Matt Keenan

Matt: you are an Encyclopedia about bike racing, but boy, you bore me to death with your commentaries, I have to take the sound off until old Phil and Paul come back, otherwise I'd go mad. They repeat themselves a lot but at least they are amusing and they don't distract me from watching the race. Please keep your knowledge for the Einstein Factor or the Millionaire but give us a break!! I don't watch Le Tour to know the history or an obscure raider who came fourth behind the yellow jersey in the 2002 race when raider No. 17 turned right at the main roundabout between Monaco and Nice in 1999 in which raider No. 28 who at that time was a member of Confidis before changing later to Silence lotto fell on top of raider No. 88 and broke his right shoulder, etc etc. WHO CARES??

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19 Jul 2009 17:02 AEST

david matthews

From: dromana

matt keenan

A rider from Belgium is a BELGIAN not a Belgium. Otherwise brilliant job Matt.

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08 Jul 2009 17:57 AEST

Mick

From: Canberra

Matt Keenan & SBS 2

First, great job Matt ! Sure come a ways since the early days at the Herald Sun Tour. I'll be very happy to listen to you once old Phil pops his last spoke. Second, I was fairly cheesed off when I realised my VCR wasn't going to do the job with SBS2 .... so a mercy dash to Harvey Norman today, $1000 bucks worth of PVR and I'm back in business ! The things you do for the Tour. When I think back to the old days of no coverage, let alone live coverage, we are so very lucky to enjoy SBS's commitment to cycling. Thanks !

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07 Jul 2009 23:07 AEST

Suzanne

From: womenscycling.net

Great Job

Matt As always , your early commentry is why I watch this event., move over Phil and Paul. Look forward to a coffee stage 12 :)

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07 Jul 2009 16:31 AEST

Berg's

From: Melbourne

Matthew Keenan

Matt, Keep up the good work your doing a great job

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07 Jul 2009 7:44 AEST

Petrina, Aussie Butt Cream

From: Wagga Wagga

Ability to recover each day for 21 stages - what a story!

With the talk after Stage 3 focussed on - Is it really possible for aging veteran Armstrong to seriously crack a top 5 finish - one has to wonder - now being ranked 3rd in overal standings: So the standings: CANCELLARA , Swiss, SAX - where was his team this stage at race end? MARTIN GER THR - Columbia hosed sheer brillance ARMSTRONG USA AST - predicted the split point CONTADOR ESP AST - could result in tension in the AST camp? WIGGINS USA GRM - who would have thought? It would be very interesting to see an analysis (statistical) of age by performance by ability for muscular recovery progressively over the 21 stages? If this has been done - I'd love the reference? Thanks to the SBS on road team for great ongoing coverage.

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06 Jul 2009 23:28 AEST

Rod

From: Melbourne

Matthew's English.

Matthew, as a man in the communication profession you should know better. Describing the "king of the mountains " jersey - it's "polka" dot, not "poker "dot. It grates and is unprofessional.

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06 Jul 2009 22:22 AEST

Kosh again

From: Melbourne

No, what on earth...

The race is running right now. SBS are showing the Tour de France programming. Which would be awesome, except that the programming right now is an Inspector Clouseau lookalike teaching us to cook sardines escabeche.

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06 Jul 2009 22:17 AEST

Kosh

From: Melbourne

Except that the online feed isn't live either.

Today's race is in progress, and I tuned in 45 minutes ago and it's just a bunch of the same recaps of yesterday's race and rather tedious talking heads. There is no live coverage of Stage 3 right now, not online nor broadcast. This is incredibly frustrating! What on earth are SBS thinking? You can run the catch-up chatter whilst we watch the peloton live!

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About this Blog

Matthew is a regular SBS commentator at the Tour de France. Prior to heading into the commentary box Matthew spent two seasons racing in Europe and rides as often as possible to remind his legs of that feeling of grovelling up a climb.

Matthew Keenan Matthew Keenan

 
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