The Tour de France started again last Saturday. Yesterday’s stage was OK, but I’m glad that the real road race is back on. The TTT was interesting, but like I mentioned before, I’d rather have the teams on the road. Contador is already well behind, but it’s only the beginning of the race. Hopefully, the other teams and favorites will capitalize on this.
A few kilometers in, there is a 5-man breakaway.
At 119km from the end of the race, the peloton is 7:42 behind the breakaway. The breakaway is composed of Guiterrez (MOV), Perez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Delage (FDJ), Terpestra (Quick Step), and Bouet (AG2R).
At 113km, the gap is 8:02. In the peloton, Garmin-Cervelo and OLO are doing most of the work. Liquigas is getting to the front to get ready for the sprint points. The sprint is at 94km.
At 107km, the gap is 7:20. The peloton is accelerating to get to the midway sprint. Nicholas Roche has a flat and is paced back to the peloton.
At 97km, the gap is 6:31.
Cavendish tweeted that he found it difficult to find the motivation to finish 4th in the midway sprint. Whatever. Cavendish should stop pussyfooting and start pedaling otherwise he won’t win the Green Jersey this year again.
Hushovd is in good position for the Green Jersey already. If he wins the midway sprint for 4th, he could get the lead in the Green Jersey comp.
At 95km, the gap is 5:59. Guiterrez leads it out but Delage boosts past him. He gets the points for the sprint. Guiterrez is 2nd, 3rd is Tepestra, and 4th is Perrez. Bouet is 5th.
The peloton is now elongated, as the sprinter teams are getting ready for their lead out trains. The pace has accelerated. Lampre is in the front for Petacchi. The lead is down to 5:17. HTC is jockeying for position. There is a kilometer left. The final lead out is for Petacchi but Cavendish beats Hushovd and the other sprinters to get 10pts in the Green Jersey competition. Cavendish actually touched shoulders with Hushovd. Gilbert was also sprinting, but he was also beat.
At 89km, the lead is 4:55. The peloton is stretched out. It looks like Anthony Charteau is trying to make a move off the peloton. He won the Polka Dot Jersey last year. Gilber is still 1st in the Green Jersey comp.
Charteau went ahead to see his family. The peloton eased up to let Charteau join up again. That was very good sportsmanship. At 79km, the lead is 4:29.
I’ve now watched footage on Eurosport, Versus, and ITV. Between those three commentary teams, I largely prefer Eurosport. Phil Legett is the commentator I’ve known the longest, but he does say a lot of BS. ES is a lot more professional. The Versus feed is also filled with commercials, etc.
The only climb is a category 4 climb on a bridge, le Pont de Saint-Nazaire. There is only 1pt in the KOM comp up for grabs. The bridge is 3.3km long.
At 60km to go, the gap is 2:37.
At 59km, there is a square in the middle of the road. The bunch split because of the danger. Some of the riders bunny hopped across.
At 57km, they start the climb of the bridge. The peloton is 2:28 behind. There is a lot of wind. The bunch is hitting the bridge. The way that the bridge is made, it allows the peloton to see the breakaway. The breakaway starts to sprint away. Delage is once again at the front. He gets the point. He might get to wear the lead in the KOM comp.
The peloton is almost split. It’s stretched. The front of the peloton has all of the climbers and the favorites. Some of the Europcar riders are being dropped off. The peloton is split but they’ll probably hook up again on the way down.
At the end of the descent, they haven’t joined again. The front of the peloton is going ahead. Liquigas is in the middle, trying to get back to the front. It looks like Basso was behind and they are trying to pace him back. Petacchi is also in the back.
The front of the peloton is starting to accelerate. If they are smart, they will continue to do so, to leave some of the competitors behind. Chavanel and the Liquigas riders are back in the main part of the peloton.
Some of the riders are talking strategy. They want to slow down. The peloton is back together. At 45.5km, the gap is 1:24. Some riders have been dropped off the back of the peloton. Karpets crashed and is trying to make it back to the peloton. Kassar was also dropped, but Karpets is losing ground. He manages to catch the little group including Kassar.
At 34.9km, the gap is 24″.
At 31.7km, the gap is 43″.
At 22.3km, three BMC riders hit the deck. It wasn’t anything too bad. Hincapie was part of this. At 21.3km, the gap is 29″. More riders have been dropped off the back of the peloton, including some Europcar riders.
Guiterrez accelerates but they still only have 28″. Within 20km, there is more sprinting. Instead of this, they should have just accelerated so that they can get way. At 20km, the gap is 24″. Guiterrez and Delage run off the front. The others can’t follow. It will be something if they can win the stage.
At 18.4km, the gap is 34″. Kern and the Europcar riders are back in the peloton. Charteau is also in the back.
The three riders from the breakaway were caught, but Guiterrez and Delage are 40″. The HTC team is getting organized for the lead out train for Cavendish.
At 11.7km, the leader of Cofidis has a flat. His teammate gives him his front tire. The lead is 20″.
At 10km, the lead is 12″. A few moments later, they are caught. Now, the teams are getting ready for the sprint.
The grueling pace makes more riders drop off the back.
Petacchi is right behind Cavendish. There is 3.7km to go. A rider from lampre and another from Vacansoleil try to sprint away. There are 2km left. The Vacansoleil rider is caught. HTC looks confused. Cavendish is back in 8th. Garmin-Cervelo is at the front and now they are racing ahead. Thor Hushovd is sprinting. Cavendish has disappeared. Farrar goes for it and wins the stage.
There was a small crash by a Cofidis rider which created confusion. It was Samuel Dumoulin. Hushovd keeps the Yellow Jersey.