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Oscar Freire takes the sprint to the line by a full bike length off the wheel of Eric Zabel. Showing

Stage 14 Photo Finish

Stage 14 Photo Finish

excellent form, Freire made a picture perfect dash winning Stage 14 for Rabobank. Zabel, the picture of concentration gets nipped at the line by Leonardo Duque who finished 2nd leaving Zabel in 3rd. Both Cavendish and McEwen were off the back on the final Cat 4 climb leaving them out of contention. With Cavendish out, Team Columbia still drove the train to give Gerald Ciolek a shot coming into the finish to no avail. Ciolek ended up out of the top 10. In the process they swallowed up a game Chavanel who took a flyer from 9km out on the down hill run to the line. He held them off for almost 7km. Well done.

Stage 14 offered up a steady climb of just under 600m from Narbonne to Nîmes over its length of 195km. There were two Cat 4 climbs the last of which broke the field apart to a degree. It was quite hot at 30c or 42c on the road.

Tomorrows 183km stage from Embrun to Prato Nevoso has some serious vertical to deal with. The 20km climb up the HC col Agnel at 6.5% and up to 12% towards the top is first at the 34km mark. The second climb is into the ski resort of Prato Nevoso which averages 8% to the finish. Expect Cadel to be under attack. There will no doubt be a shake up in the GC tomorrow.

Stage 15 Elevation Profile

Stage 15 Elevation Profile

Stage 14 Video Recap: http://tinyurl.com/5zyk9t

Stage Race Reports

Cycling News: http://tinyurl.com/5d5tuw

Velonews: http://tinyurl.com/68he8t

Versus: http://tinyurl.com/6dv4tv

Yahoo Sports: http://tinyurl.com/58ftl4

Stage 14 Results

1 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
2 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram
4 Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin Chipotle – H30
5 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Quick Step
6 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre
7 Rubén Pérez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
9 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step
10 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole

Green Jersey Standings

1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank, 219 pts
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole, 172
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram, 167
4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia, 156
5 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 144
6 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone, 137
7 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld, 110
8 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 105
9 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 98
10 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel, 94

Overall Results

1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 59.01.55
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 0.01
3 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.38
4 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 0.46
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 0.57
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 1.28
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 1.56
8 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale, 2.32
9 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi, 3.51
10 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas, 4.18

Mark Cavendish appears to be unstoppable.  He was boxed tightly at 200m. As soon as a gap came

Stage 13 Winner - Mark Cavendish

Stage 13 Winner - Mark Cavendish

open, he was clear and powering to the front. It was nice to see Robbie McEwen released from Cadel support duties to contest the sprint this go around. It has been a long absence. As it was, he couldn’t match Cavendish’s speed to the line. “Cavendish is simply too strong and too fast” McEwen said. McEwen ended up 2nd and Freire finished 5th, putting in another consistent effort.

In Phil Liggett’s commentary he mentioned several times that Cav was the new McEwen. Little harsh but Cav certainly has McEwen’s acceleration from Tour’s past. Cavendish said that he was really taking a beating in the mountains which was keeping him from his best performances. I expect that a few more tour campaigns and he will be even more of a force.

As for Paris, “One day at a time” is how Mark responded to the Frankie Andrea question will you be retiring from the Tour for Olympic preparation? All I can say is too bad it is an Olympic year.

I’ve put a graph together to show how the top Green Jersey point’s leaders have place in each of the sprint stages. It is meant to show the trend of the riders over time. In Stage 3, a four man break made it to the line. I’ve netted out they’re positions relative the graph.

2008 TdF Green Jersey Sprint Stage Trends

2008 TdF Green Jersey Sprint Stage Trends

I’ll skip the run in to the sprint today as it was rather uneventful. If you are interested in the stage details, the video and race reports from news outlets are below.

Stage 13 Video Recap: http://tinyurl.com/59gosx

Stage 13 Race Reports

Velonews: http://tinyurl.com/67mvuz

Cycling News: http://tinyurl.com/55wntk

Versus: http://tinyurl.com/5mbh5m

Bicycling: http://tinyurl.com/6rn42k

Yahoo Sports: http://tinyurl.com/6blrlc

Stage 13 Results

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia, 4.25.42 (41.10 km/h)
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence - Lotto
3 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel
4 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner
5 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank
6 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
7 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone
8 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram
9 Julian Dean (NZl) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30
10 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux
11 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
12 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step
13 Iñaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
14 Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne
15 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
Green Jersey Standings

1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank, 184 pts
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia, 156
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole, 156
4 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram, 141
5 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 138
6 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld, 110
7 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone, 107
8 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 105
9 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 97
10 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel, 94

Overall Standings

1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 54.48.47
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 0.01
3 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.38
4 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 0.46
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 0.57
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 1.28
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 1.56
8 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale, 2.32
9 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi, 3.51
10 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas, 4.18

Cavendish racked up his third win of the tour setting a record for British cyclists in the process.

Stage 12 Winner Mark Cavendish

Stage 12 Winner Mark Cavendish

Cavendish powered through the front runners, outpacing Sebastien Chavanel and Gert Steegmans to the line. The man looked like a freight train. It was fun to read all the Twitter activity congratulating Cavendish.  I’ve been wondering why he and the team haven’t been contesting for the Green jersey. In a post race interview he said that the team felt that it was plenty enough to contest the finishes. Adding intermediate sprints into the equation would dilute the focus and jeopardize they’re chances for stage wins. Well, there is always next year.

Other noteworthy finishers include Eric Zabel, who continues to consistently get in there. Today he ended up 4th. Oscar Freire was able to hang on for 5th while the green giant, Thor Hushovd managed to salvage seventh.  Robbie McEwen ended up in 11th place.

As for the rest of the race, it was a by the numbers stage on basically flat terrain. The heat and wind were the most serious impediment. A two man break got away at 40km from the start which included Arnaud Gerard and Samuel Dumoulin. They built up a lead of over 3:30 minutes and held on till about the 10km to go mark. Team tactics were in play for the intermediate and final sprints. Columbia put on an excellent show, towing their man Cavendish into superb position to contest. He did not disappoint.

Sad Note: Tour officials announced that Riccardo Riccò of Saunier Duval-Scott had tested positive for EPO after Stage 4. He apparently was using a new type of EPO called Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator or CERA. Now it is off to the police station and a summer of questions. I guess Saunier Duval-Scott was not able to justify remaining in the tour. The team pulled out just before the stage began.

Stage 12 Video Recap: http://tinyurl.com/59r9kc

Stage Recap Articles

Velonews: http://tinyurl.com/6qq23j

Cycling News: http://tinyurl.com/5ul2db

Versus: http://tinyurl.com/56tr3c

Bicycling: http://tinyurl.com/5zmfvn

Stage 12 Results:

Pos.

No.

Name

Nat.

Team

Time

Gap

1

043

CAVENDISH, Mark

GBR

THR

03:40:52

00:00:00

2

162

CHAVANEL, Sébastien

FRA

FDJ

03:40:52

00:00:00

3

097

STEEGMANS, Gert

BEL

QST

03:40:52

00:00:00

4

151

ZABEL, Erik

GER

MRM

03:40:52

00:00:00

5

133

FREIRE, Oscar

ESP

RAB

03:40:52

00:00:00

6

063

CHICCHI, Francesco

ITA

LIQ

03:40:52

00:00:00

7

081

HUSHOVD, Thor

NOR

C.A

03:40:52

00:00:00

8

186

DUQUE, Leonardo

COL

COF

03:40:52

00:00:00

9

193

DEAN, Julian

NZL

TSL

03:40:52

00:00:00

10

114

HAUSSLER, Heinrich

GER

GST

03:40:52

00:00:00

11

006

MC EWEN, Robbie

AUS

SIL

03:40:52

00:00:00

12

123

CASPER, Jimmy

FRA

AGR

03:40:52

00:00:00

13

058

HUNTER, Robert

RSA

BAR

03:40:52

00:00:00

14

105

ELMIGER, Martin

SUI

ALM

03:40:52

00:00:00

15

072

BALLAN, Alessandro

ITA

LAM

03:40:52

00:00:00

Overall Results:

Pos.

No.

Name

Nat.

Team

Time

Gap

1

001

EVANS, Cadel

AUS

SIL

50:23:05

00:00:00

2

017

SCHLECK, Frank

LUX

CSC

50:23:06

00:00:01

3

191

VANDEVELDE, Christian

USA

TSL

50:23:43

00:00:38

4

115

KOHL, Bernhard

AUT

GST

50:23:51

00:00:46

5

131

MENCHOV, Denis

RUS

RAB

50:24:02

00:00:57

6

011

SASTRE, Carlos

ESP

CSC

50:24:33

00:01:28

7

041

KIRCHEN, Kim

LUX

THR

50:25:01

00:01:56

8

104

EFIMKIN, Vladimir

RUS

ALM

50:25:37

00:02:32

9

022

ASTARLOZA, Mikel

ESP

EUS

50:26:56

00:03:51

10

067

NIBALI, Vincenzo

ITA

LIQ

50:27:23

00:04:18

The tour moved, westward away from the Pyrenees today on a path towards the Alps and some

Stage 11 Winner, Arvesen & Runner Up, Elmiger

Stage 11 Winner, Arvesen & Runner Up, Elmiger

tough stuff on stages 15, 16 and 17. The stage had a nice Cat 1 climb about two thirds in on the 167.5-km path from Lannemezan to Foix. The GC contenders were happy to give away the stage to a breakaway effort and weren’t disappointed. They let a break go at 35k which rode into the sunset. As the best placed rider was over 20 minutes back,  there was little pressure to chase. The result was that the stage became an extension of yesterday’s rest day for the GC contenders for the most part anyway. The break eventually ended up over 14 minutes ahead of the field at the finish. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that only the commentators new much about this collection of riders. The run in to the finish was interesting in that there were new riders to follow.  What else was there to do? There was no change to the overall standings.

Oscar Pereiro made a stab as a solo break couldn’t make it stick as CSC dropped the hammer to keep him in check among others. All’s quite on the GC front, with Cadel Evans in first, Schleck in second and Vande Velde in third.

Tomorrow could be a sprinters stage. It will be interesting to see if Mark Cavendish can shake out his legs to get in the mix.

Barloworld’s Duenas Nevado’s was given the boot after test results from Stage four came back positive for EPO. Apparently the mess was in his trailer. It seems a few bad eggs suck the goodness away at times. No sucking…that’s it!

Stage Video: http://tinyurl.com/cjp6a

Race Reports

Yahoo Sports: http://tinyurl.com/6y3kyj
Velonews: http://tinyurl.com/6lmxxy
Cycling News: http://tinyurl.com/5ubjqn
Bicycling: http://tinyurl.com/6693su

Stage 11 Results

1 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 3.58.13 (42.19 km/h)
2 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale, st.
3 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre, st.
4 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank, 0.02
5 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Crédit Agricole, 0.11
6 Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom, 0.14
7 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas, st.
8 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux, st.
9 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner, st.
10 Marco Velo (Ita) Team Milram, st.
11 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Crédit Agricole, st.
12 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone, 0.29
13 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole, 14.51
14 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram, st.
15 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone, st.

Overall Standings

1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 46.42.13
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 0.01
3 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.38
4 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 0.46
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 0.57
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 1.28
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 1.56
8 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval – Scott, 2.10
9 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval – Scott, 2.29
10 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale, 2.32

It was a chilly and rainy day on the stage 8 route from Figeac to Toulouse at 172.5 km.  The pace

2008 Tour de France Stage 8 Finish

Mark Cavendish winning Stage 8

was very fast even so.  The finish proved to be very slippery and tricky but without incident.  Mark Cavendish gets the win with Gerald Ciolek pulling out second leveraging a strong Columbia and Quickstep train.  Team Columbia can do no wrong…at least for now.  It is time to enjoy the moment as the pain comes tomorrow and Monday in the form of the Pyrenees.

 

 

The major move of the day was by Lefevere, who got away at 39k, later bridged too by Txurruk, Pineau, and Riblon.  This group maintained the break for most of the stage but was finally caught at 10km from the finish where attacks blew the group apart on the final climb into town. 

 

Team Liquigas took lead to drive the ship into the finish in an effort to get their man in place for the sprint and maybe to take a bit of the sting out of the Manuel Beltran incident.  Later Team Columbia, Quickstep and Credit Agricole got up front to set up their sprinters as well.  Position was the key for the sprint as there were several turns leading into the straight up final kilometer.  The speed with these conditions was over the top.

 

There were fewer wrecks than expected though Riccardo Ricco, Voigt, and Columbia’s Ciolek, hit the deck with 50km to go down.  No real damage though as demonstrated by Ciolek’s stellar finish.  The question of the day is where is Robbie McEwen?  He finished 19th today but has been out of the top five.  Is it form, team or position that has him absent in the finishes this year?  I can’t figure it. 

 

Stage 8 map and elevation profile:  http://tinyurl.com/5a7zy9

 

Race Reports

Cycling News:  http://tinyurl.com/57y3t5

 

 

Stage 8 Results
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Columbia
2 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Columbia
3 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Agritubel
4 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
5 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
6 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram
7 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step
8 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux
9 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
10 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld

 

Overall Results
1 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 0.06
3 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner, 0.16
4 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.44
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 1.03
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 1.12

On the longest stage of the tour, Mark Cavendish and Team Columbia work the train to perfection getting the win.  With an exceptional lead out by George Hincapie and excellent support by Kim Kirchen, Cavendish was dropped at the 150m mark in prime position to bring it home.  At the moment Cav took over, Hushovd all ready had him by a half a bike.  Cav punched the crank and within 50m he had distanced all sprint contenders and took the line, Wow.  He has the legs to contest and that means we’ve got a new rider to watch on the flatlands this tour.

 

This was a really dry stage today. Unless you enjoy the banal banter of the race announcers, save you’re viewing time for a stage with more potential.  Three minutes of highlight footage is all you really need.  Not much but a long breakaway to follow and no-namers at that.  The sprint will be the highlight of the day.

 

Team Columbia impresses me more and more.  There GC hopes appear to be on the back of Kirchen.  Kirchen, riding for T-Mobile, was 7th at last year’s tour and clearly capable of besting that effort.  I expect he will be marking Evans, Valverde and Menchov among others when the road turns upward.  Tomorrow’s stage introduces two 2nd category climbs that may hint at Kim’s strength and competitiveness.  It will be interesting to see how the team is used to set Kim up for a run.  I’m sure Hincapie will provide pace for one of the mountains.  Let’s see who is on point for the other probably Lövkvist.

 

2008 TdF Stage 6 Elevation Profile

2008 TdF Stage 6 Elevation Profile

 

Team Columbia is well positioned with three riders in the top 10 with Kirchen 2nd, Hincapie 7th and Lövkvist 8th.  All of them are in the mix to be competitive for GC though Kirchen will be supported in the mountains most likely.

 

Noticeably absent from today’s finish were team Garmin/Chipotle.  Only Julian Dean placed in the sprint finish in 10th.  There are two riders in the top 10 overall including Millar and Vande Velde.  I expect Millar will fade in the mountains like past years but Vande Velde could show us something.  Let’s see tomorrow.

 

Links for Stage 5 Press Releases

Yahoo Sports:  http://tinyurl.com/6blrlc

Cycling News:  http://tinyurl.com/5lps4f

Velonews:       http://tinyurl.com/6ogceq

 

Stage 6 Results
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia 5.27.52 (42.45 km/h)
2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank  
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram  
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole  
5 Baden Cooke (Aus) Barloworld  
6 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld  
7 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone  
8 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence – Lotto  
9 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas  
10 Julian Dean (NZ) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30  
11 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner  
12 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step  
13 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
14 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux   
15 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Agritubel  
     
Overall Standings
1 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner 19.32.33
2 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia 0.12
3 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.12
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto 0.21
5 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC – Saxo Bank 0.33
6 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.37
7 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia 0.41
8 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia 0.47
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0.58
10 José Iván Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 1.01
11 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.12
12 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC – Saxo Bank 1.13
13 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 1.18
14 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 1.22
15 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone 1.24
     
Team Standings
1 Barloworld   16.23.36
2 Agritubel    
3 Rabobank    
4 Gerolsteiner    
5 Silence – Lotto    
6 Credit Agricole    
7 Garmin Chipotle    
8 Team Columbia    
9 Bouygues Telecom    
10 Liquigas    
11 Cofidis Credit Par Telephone    
12 Team Milram    
13 Quick Step    
14 Lampre    
15 Euskaltel – Euskadi    
16 AG2R-La Mondiale    
17 Caisse d’Epargne    
18 Francaise des Jeux    
19 Saunier Duval – Scott    
20 Team CSC Saxo Bank    

 

 

 

Allez915

I went in to the 2008 Tour de France wondering if I would be as invested in the race as in past years.  I find that I’ve been hedging commitment to the race for several weeks leading up to the start.  After some thought, several reasons jump to mind. 

·         There is the closure of the Discovery team and the subsequent scattering of the team members to the three winds. 

·         There is the hardheaded ASO decision to deny Astana the opportunity to race and along with it two of my favorites, Contador and Leipheimer as well as the ever fascinating director Johan Bruyneel. 

·         There is the decision of Versus to deny the cable impaired a live online video feed relegating us to the semi-live twitter like updates from the major news and team outlets.  

·         Let’s not forget the yearly sponsor and rider changes to navigate. 

 

So with all this nonsense to contend with, who could figure where I’d be three stages in?  Yes, you guessed it, as buried in it as a solo break 5K out with a 2 minute gap. 

 

The two American teams Team Columbia (High Road) and Team Garmin – Chipotle are square in the middle of it.  They have several riders including today’s 2nd place finisher Will Frischkorn and yesterday’s 2nd and 3rd place finishers Kim Kirchen and Gerald Ciolek who are bringing me along for the ride. 

 

I’m not sure how these teams will play out in the GC but they have clearly come to challenge individual stages.  There is a rather rebellious side to each of these teams that hint at more fun to come.  

 

The interview at the end of the stage with Frischkorn was fascinating.  Clearly still wound up from the stage finish, he recounted the story of the finishing kilometers as a series of missteps.  He just knew that he could get it right if they just rewind to 5K out and restart. He wore the disappointment of opportunity lost on his sleeve.  He is a novice to grand tour riding which was a refreshing contrast more controlled interviews of the favorites.  It was very entertaining. 

 

Tomorrow’s time trial will finally stack the players in this year’s race.  I’m hopeful George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish, Christian Vande Velde, and David Millar will shake it up a bit finding their way into the top 10 or 15.  Either way this year is wide open, enjoyably so.

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