Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Long overdue Tour Update

Bradley Wiggins at the Prologue of the Tour of...Image via Wikipedia

Well if you were following the tour very closely you'll have noticed that the first couple of weeks were kind of boring. Sure there was some back and forth between Armstrong and Contador which was much discussed in the media. Whether the rift was as severe as people tried to make it, or whether it was all part of some really deep plan by Bruyneel is not clear, but I suspect it's a little bit of both. The thing that bugged me was that it seemed obvious fairly early on that Contador was the stronger rider. But I guess it wasn't really unmistakable until Sunday, when the tour finally got really exciting. Contador rode to a stage win and finally took yellow.

Today's stage, which is taking place as I write this, has been really exciting. Thor Hushovd managed to get out in front and solo through both of the intermediate sprints giving him a fairly nice lead in the green jersey competition. Then, once they hit the final couple of climbs (two Cat. 1's really close together) there was some great attacking. Bradley Wiggins, the great revelation of this tour, has been dropped though he's staying relatively close, and he's a great time trialist so we'll see how bad this stage ends up hurting him. At the moment he's 1:41 behind the Schleck brothers on the stage.

Some other interesting things from this stage. Cadel Evans, who has had a fairly disappointing tour, finally blew up and was dropped on the first climb of the day (when Thor was in the front of the race) and Carlos Sastre, launched the first big attack of the day among the GC contenders and then he was dropped only a couple minutes later. I've never been a big fan of Sastre. I'm sure he's a nice guy, I just haven't ever been impressed by him. So to see him crack serves to give me a certain level of satisfaction since I previously said that I didn't think much of his chances. Of course I also had Cadel as my #2 pick after Contador, so I probably shouldn't gloat too much...

And Frank takes it...


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