Cycling: Lance In Yellow... Almost

So we come to the first of my mid-Tour De France reviews. Fabian Cancellara still has the Maillot Jaune which some observers expected him to take in the first individual time trial and hold until the roads tip upwards, probably giving up the jersey after stage 7. However, The Lance almost managed to take it from him in the team time trial stage 4 last night (Australian time). Astana put in an awesome TTT, to take 40 seconds from Saxo Bank and put The Lance exactly equal with Cancellara (to the second atleast). After the race, the judges decided on a countback (don't you hate countbacks) to give the Jersey to Cancellara again.

Biggest Surprise

Team Columbia-HTC split the peloton on stage 3 around the 30 km mark, and the 28 or so riders in the front of the split (including contenders The Lance, Cancellara, Rogers and Kirchen) picked up 30 seconds on what was a flat stage. The Lance may or may not have the climbing legs to win the Tour, but he can still motor on the flat and pick the right move.

You Idiots!
Bbox Bouygues Telecom had a mass crash in the Team Time Trial after someone forgot to tell them that they weren't riding mountain bikes.

The Cav has dominated the 2 sprints so far, with wins on stage 2 and 3. He was helped by a crash which limited his opposition in stage 2. On stage 3, The "God of Thunder" Thor Hushovd (best nickname in all of world sport) was the only other sprinter in the front section of the split and couldn't pass the Cav. He should be a certainty for the Green Jersey if he can be bothered to climb the mountains. Or maybe he'll decide to quit half way and give the Poms a hand figuring out when to declare in the Ashes (after Haurtiz has sent down about 60 wicketless overs probably).

The Heads of State (GC)
Fabian Cancellara (1st, +0 s)
Has held the Yellow since the 1st stage, but wont be able to cut it in the mountains.
Lance Armstrong (2nd, +0 and a tiny little bit s)
Looks very strong, putting in extended shifts in the TTT. Mountain legs still uncertain.
Alberto Contador (3rd, +19 s)
Hasn't done anything to dispute his pre-tour favouritism yet. Missed the Columbia split but put in the 2nd best ITT. May be the Sastre to Armstrong's Schleck in a repeat of CSCs strategy last year.
Andreas Kloden (4th, +23 s)
Forgotten man of Astana, should just oplay a role for Armstrong and Contador, but may make an ambitious attack at some stage to try to take the team leadership.
Christian Van De Velde (12th, +1:16)
Has been coming back from injury, so his mountain legs are uncertain. Team Garmin put in a great 5 man TTT for him. Still paying $80 for the win and $14 for a podium (paying better money than Cancellara!?) , get on him now.
Roman Kreuziger (15th, +1:31)
Liquigas put in a better than expected TTT to give him a real shot at a podium in the finish.
Michael Rogers (16th, +1:32)
Had mechanical issues in the ITT which has him below where he could be. Won't have the mountain legs to catch Contador.
Andy Schleck (20th, +1:41)
Has improved his ITT abilities, but Saxo Bank were a bit disappointing in the TTT for him. Still a genuine contender.
Kim Kirchen (24th, +2:16)
Isn't up with the contenders on the ITT, but could still surprise on the mountains.
Carlos Sastre (29th, +2:44)
Has atleast got the TTT out of the way without race ruining damage, but will need to attack, and hard to beat Contador and Asrmstrong from nearly 3 minutes back.
Cadel Evans (35th, +2:59)
He would have been spitting chips when he heard there would be a TTT in this year's Tour, Silence-Lotto aren't nearly good enough to contend with the big guns in this discipline. Like Sastre, will need to attack to have any chance. Unlike Sastre, attacking is not Evans' strong suit.
Denis Menchov (72nd, +3:52)
Had a poor ITT, then fell during the TTT, costing him and his team time. Surely has no chance from here.

My tip is still Contador, but The Lance may be able to foul him up if he gets the team working for him.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Add a comment about this blog entry.

Sponsored Links