The Tour de France started again last Saturday. It was a good stage yesterday and today, we have more interesting bits of France to ride on. This stage includes a mountain top finish that is not in the Pyrenées, so that’s cool. We’re currently in Brittany, so there’s a lot of wind and rain. Contador tried to win the stage, but faltered as all of the favorites kept him pretty close. Evans won the stage, but we needed a photo-finish to see who won and by how much. The biggest surprise is that Hushovd managed to finish 6th, so he stayed there with the rest of the favorites. The next few stages are flat, so he might retain the Yellow Jersey for a while.
It’s raining and there is a breakaway. At 118.2km, the peloton is at 2:46. The breakaway is composed of Izagirre (Euskaltel Euskadi), Erviti (Movistar), Kadri (AG2R), Roy (FDJ), and Hoogerland (Vacansoleil).
Van der Walle retired because of that big crash he had on the first stage.
Yesterday, both Thor Hushovd and Mark Cavendish were disqualified for bumping. I saw that one coming. This isn’t team pursuit or something like that on a track, it’s the Tour de France.
There’s a category 4 climb before the midway sprinting points, and the stage finishes uphill with a category 3 climb. The 3km rule does not apply in this situation, because the finish is uphill.
At 94.2km, Hoogerland makes a move to grab the KOM points. That would tie him with the other competitors in the KOM comp. The winner of the stage gets 2pts, and earns the Polka Dot Jersey.
At 80.9km, the breakaway gets near the sprint. Hoogerland spots Roy getting away and accelerates. Hoogerland gets maximum points for the sprinting comp.
The lead is 3′. The Movistar riders have moved to the front for their sprinter Rojas. Garmin-Cervelo are in the front, but Farrar gets the 6th position in the midway sprint (10pts). Rojas was right behind him. Cavendish gave up (as usual).
At 60km, the lead is 2:27.
Izagirre has a puncture and changes his wheel. It was very no-nonsense. It doesn’t take him long to rejoin the breakaway.
It starts to rain again. The peloton is stretched out.
At 45km, the lead is 2:17. I had to get the Versus HD broadcast, but I should have gone for the Eurosport. The Versus broadcast is filled with BS.
At 31.2km, the lead is 2:26. OLO is doing some pacing at the front of the peloton. At 23.5km, the lead is 1:54.
A cameraman fell off his bike trying to take a shot of Cadel Evans, who’s got problems with his bike.
At 18km, it’s 1:25.
At 13.5km, Roman Felliu needs to change bikes. He uses the Saxo Bank team car to pace. He’s in the back of the peloton.
At 12.6km, the lead is 1:08. The Felliu is leapfrogging around the team cars. Now, Felliu is using the Euskaltel Euskadi team car for pacing. His own team car stayed in front of him a bit too long and he might get fined for this.
At 7.7km, the lead is 43″. Felliu is 1:29 behind the peloton.
Izagirre and Hoogerland make a break from the breakaway. There is 7.3km left. The gap is 35″.
At 5.8km, the two leaders have 8″ over the chase group. The peloton is 34″ behind. The chase group has caught the leaders. At 5.4=3km, the lead is down to 28″.
I don’t like the ITV/Versus broadcast. Liggett and Sherwen have a limited cycling vocabulary, always mentioning “doing something special”, “looking after him” and “sacrificing himself”. Whatever.
At 4.2km, Izagirre tries to get away. The peloton is about to catch them. Cancellara and Renshaw are dropping off. The breakaway is caught.
Hincapie and Evans are in the front for BMC. Gesink is right behind them. There are 3.2km left. Felliu made it back to the peloton.
The real climb starts at 2.5km. The climbers are coming to the forefront. Nice change of pace from the sprinters. This Hushovd hasn’t been dropped. Contador and the Schlecks are next to each other. Gilbert is at the front. Contador accelerates away. Gibert is right there. He was waiting to see someone make a move. They made a gap. Contador sees them behind him. 1.1km left.
Hushovd is right there at the front. Evans is at the front. Gilbert is nicely positioned. 500m left. Contador makes another move. Evans goes forward. Vinokourov is there. Gilbert and Hushovd are there. Evans wins the stage but we need to check the photo finish.
At the last moment, Contador lunge. Evans wins by a few inches over Contador. Vino is 3rd. Uran is in 4th. 5th and 6th are Gilbert and Hushovd. He’ll keep the Yellow Jersey for now.
Hushovd was impressive. He’s a sprinter but he still managed to retain the overall lead in the GC.
You’d think that Contador and the Spaniards would have been able to beat Evans, but they weren’t.
Hushovd retains the Yellow Jersey by 1″ over Evans. Contador is still at 1:42 at 41st place.