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Run of the mill last stage of the Tour de France, with no attacks from the favorites, it was all up to the stage win, that finally went to Cavendish, as he out-accelerated everyone to win the stage and to win the Green Jersey. Cadel Evans wins the Tour de France, with Andy and Frank Schleck rounding up the top three. The rest of the GC didn’t change from yesterday. Pierre Rolland wins the White Jersey by 46″ over Rein Taaramae, and Samuel Sanchez gets the Polka Dot Jersey. The most aggressive rider of this year’s tour is Jérémie Roy, who spent over 800km in breakaways.
It was well known that both Schlecks didn’t really perform well in time trials, which turned out to be their Achillles’ Heel today as Evans rode clear of them and into yellow. He didn’t just beat them by a few seconds, he rode clear of Andy Schleck by more than 2′, which was impressive but expected, as Andy Schleck is nowhere near the timetrialist that Evans is. So this year, Evans will win the Tour de France since no one will attach him in Paris tomorrow.
The stage was the first in the Alps of this year, and it was definitely interesting. For once, the favorites really got into it, something that we have seen before, thanks to the two-pronged attack of the Schlecks on Contador. However, it didn’t work out as planned, as this time around, Contador was relentless in his attacks. He failed a bunch of times before succeeding in getting away. Evans and Sanchez were hot on his wheel while Andy Schleck dropped back to the peloton. His brother Frank paced the Leopard Trek boys home. It was a disaster for Leopard Trek, and an all out win for BMC, as Evans sped away from even Contador in the last few kilometers of this stage. The GC has barely changed, but this bodes well for this week. The favorites seem to have forgotten that Voeckler has the maillot jaune and will continue to wear it with a good lead.
The Tour de France started again last Saturday. Even though this was mostly a flat stage, it was by far the most exciting. There were a lot of crashes and retirements, which came as a surprise. The riders must have been weary and jittery, because the peloton wasn’t going all that fast when these things happened. Tom Boonen almost finished last but staved off time elimination so that he can ride again tomorrow. Cav won the stage, but the criticized the race organizers. That’s Cav as usual.
Well, this year’s Tour de France is about to be wrapped up. Contador will undoubtedly win this year’s Tour and Schleck will be 2nd. The only thing left to decide is who among the sprinters will win this year’s stage in Paris, and who will win the yellow jersey.
Team Radioshack had some spiffy new black jerseys and uniforms. The race officials didn’t like this and it was against the rules. They’ve been told to put on their team colors. The race officials stop the race and let the Radioshack team change into proper uniforms.
A few different breakaways are tried. At 12.6km, there is a group of 11 riders away. They are all caught at 6.1km. Cavendish wins the stage and beats Hushovd and Petacchi, however, Petacchi finishes 2nd and wins the green jersey. Astana is jubilant. They won the yellow jersey.
All in all, I have to say that it was a great Tour this year. The beginning week was spectacular, especially stage 3. Once we hit the Alps, it was also very interesting. Lastly, the Pyrenees showed who would end up on top. If Schleck hadn’t had some mechanical problems, he might have fared better, but ultimately, I still think that Contador would have won the Tour.
The stage is mostly flat. Contador took delivery of a specially painted Specialized SL3 bike, which he swapped out shortly after the start.
Four riders are in a breakaway. They include Breschel, Oss, Vaugrenard and Pineau. They are at 2:55 with 117.3 km to go. At 81.3km, the gap is 2:20. At 67km, the lead is 1:48. At 22.4km, the gap is 57″. At 15.7km, the lead is 35″. The peloton is charging along at 70kph. The speed the peloton can attain is amazing. Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise are here to watch the stage. They are probably here to promote their latest movie, Knight and Day.
Pineau made a move, but Oss counters and is able to get off. He is able to take the lead to 40″. The other members of the breakaway are caught. At 10km, the lead is 31″. At 7.2km, the lead is down to 18″. HTC Columbia is organizing themselves. He won’t stay away long now. At 6km, the lead is down to 12″. All of the teams of the sprinters are getting organized, including Petacchi’s Lampre and Boassen Hagen’s Sky. At 4km, it’s 6″. The peloton passes him like a train. At 2.6km, Sky is in front driving the peloton. Cervelo takes the front with Hushovd in the wheel. It’s not enough. Cavendish starts to sprint and distances them all. He wins the stage.
He actually used Petacchi’s slip stream for a few seconds and then launched himself into victory. What does this mean for the green jersey? Petacchi takes it again. Petacchi finishes 3rd. Dean 2nd. boasson Hagen 6th. Thor Hushovd is 14th.
This is the last real climbing stage in this year’s TdF, which includes 1 cat 4 climb, 2 cat 1 climb and 1 cat HC climb. It’s expected that the rider wearing the polka-dot jersey will win the KOM comp. The weather has shifted. It rained and Flecha, Boassen Hagen, Koren, Kolobnev, Pauriol, and Perez got away and have 3:05 lead.
At the beginning of the stage, there is a breakaway. There are two category 1 climbs at the beginning of the stage, as well as two hors-categorie climbs, one right after the two cat 1 climbs and one 2/3rd of the way into the stage.
The lead is 25″. That’s not much and it’s happening on the 1st climb. I’ve switched to Eurosport since they cover almost the whole stage and I’ve gotten used to the commentary team. They are quite knowledgeable. It’s going to be a hard day for Astana, who will try to catch all breakaway attempts to secure Contador’s yellow jersey.
This stage has got 2 category 2 climbs at 105 and 126km, one category 4 at 30 km, and one category h climb at 166km with a descent to finish the stage at 187km. Lance Armstrong finished 15 minutes after Riblon. He’s 39:24 behind Schleck. Astana had a great opportunity yesterday to distance Schleck when he went back to the team car during the climb. It proves that their form wasn’t on par. If Contador would have attacked, Schleck wouldn’t have caught him. Contador could have been in the yellow jersey and had a few minutes on Schleck.