Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mountain shuffle

Yesterday during the rest day, most of the GC riders were commenting that the real race will start on today's stage. Seems like all of them were saving something special for the last two days in the Alps. And once again, CSC-Saxo Bank came ready to play. It's said that after a day off, your body doesn't react as well to the mountains, but the entire CSC-Saxo Bank squad seemed to have gotten through the day off pretty well. As the break went off the front, the yellow jersey guys decided to slowly increase the tempo to help get rid of some of the threats. Vande Velde's dream ride was shattered when he was dropped off the pace, and although he did a valiant descend, he still lost 2+ minutes on Schelck, Sastre, Evans and Menchov. Speaking of the Russian, he had some sort of difficulty on the last downhill part because he also went into the "I lost some time" club, giving up 33 seconds to Evans, not a good thing with the time trial looming ahead. John Lee Agustine decided to test his legs at the top of the last climb and the excitment was so big that he went dowhill racing on the other side. Did anyone found his bike yet?.

So, what's the prediction for Alp d'Huez? My take is that Menchov and Vande Velde will go for broke. Evans will wait until the last moment to decide if he's going to attack or not. And although CSC-Saxo Bank is riding strong, Schelck the senior better not have a bad day, because if he does, Riis better let Sastre go on his own, instead of keeping the Spaniard back to help tow the yellow jersey. For sure the biggest day of the tour will be tomorrow, so set the alarm for 6:30AM.

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