Monday, July 14, 2008

Swing of the pendulum

I was raving the last few days about how well drilled Caisse de Espargne is, doing everything right, with Valverde in the hunt. But no matter how good the team rides, if the leader is not ready to fight, there's nothing the other eight guys can do. Today we saw the beginning of the end for Valverde, as the Spanish national champ lost massive time, aloing with Damiano Cunego. And they have only one man to thank for that.

For ten days CSC-Sauxo Bank has kept Jens Voigt caged and today was the day the gate was opened and Voigt went on the prowl on the slopes of the Tourmalet. If the climb along didn't put fear in the souls of the riders, the German star set a fierce pace to the top, breaking the heart and will of most of the peloton. Aided by teammates Gustov, Cancellara, Arvesen and the younger Scheleck, the leaders of the Danish squad (Carlos Sastre and Frank Schleck) were getting the protection they needed.

Di Gregorio's escape was brilliant on Bastille Day, but it wasn't meant to last as behind, spearheading the chase, Voigt was towing the leaders for the final showdown on Hautacam. And they didn't dissapoint, although once Cobo, Pieopli and Scheleck the older were gone, it seemed like the Evans, Menchov, Vandevelde, Sastre group were playing cat and mouse games, with Ricco getting a ride with his two mates up front.

Saunier Duval-Scott was the big winner today. One-two on the stage, KOM and White jerseys, not a bad day at the office, with Ricco slowly climbing up the GC. Vandelvede's confidence has to be through the roof, but him and Evans have to be worried that their teams will have to step up to the plate.

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