Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tdf: First Time Trial

Well the first time trial was yesterday (it should have been on Saturday... but I need to let that go). Stefan Schumacher, a man no one would have picked to win the stage before the start came away with a surprising victory. Of the people expected to be overall contenders Cadel Evans did the best, though Kim Kirchen and David Millar both beat him. Neither of them are expected to be able to keep up in the mountain, but who knows. David Millar (now sitting in 3rd overall) has predicted that he'll take the yellow jersey on tomorrows mountain top finish. It's not much of a mountain top, only a Category 2, but you can bet there will be a split in the field. My prediction is that one of the three Schumacher, Kirchen or Millar will end up being a surprise contender for the overall.

If you want to win the tour you can be a time trial specialist who stays close in the mountains or a climber who tries to stay close in the time trials (or you can be Armstrong and dominate both). Of the people considered to be in the latter group my man Cunego did the best. Of the people in the former group Valverde did the worst, coming in actually behind Cunego. Of course he still has to climb well, we'll know more on that count tomorrow, but not enough. We'll know who definitely isn't climbing well, but not the reverse. That won't come until Sunday's stage, and we'll definitely know by Monday's stage.

As far as today's stage, it was pretty boring except for right at the end. There had been a break away of three people all day long. I think they had been out in front for nearly 200 kilometers. People expected them to be caught at 20 km out, then 10, then 6, then 2. Finally with maybe 500 meters left the peleton caught 2 of the 3 cyclists, but there was still one guy out in front. Finally 50 meters from the finish line they caught and passed him and Mark Cavendish a brit riding for the American Team Columbia won the stage in a field sprint. 50 meters!!! That's got to be annoying.

I wouldn't know anything about having something snatched away at the last second


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