Tour de France Update #4
The Alps are 2/3 over and the race has been turned upside down. Floyd Landis cracked badly today losing over 10 minutes to the stage winner and 8 minutes to the other GC contenders. His chances of winning the Tour are now very slim. It would take a huge effort in the mountains tomorrow and a fantastic time trial, and none of that is likely. The reason for his blow up is still unknown, but in all likelihood he was feeling bad for a while and masking his weakness, thus his conservative Tour strategy. It’s a shame he won’t win, but he put in a good effort, and we still have a lot of racing to watch.
For the remaining contenders, it’s now a battle of recovery. Several people blew up at various points on today’s final climb, and how things go tomorrow will go a long way towards determining a winner. Whoever recovers the fastest will have an advantage.
Oscar Pereiro was the big winner today as he captured the yellow jersey back and a nearly 2 minute lead. He could never have beaten Landis with the final time trial remaining, but with Landis, the best time trialist among the GC contenders, gone he now has a realistic shot at victory. Carlos Sastre is 1:50 back, but is not a great time trailer and will need to take time from Pereiro tomorrow. Evans and Kloden are both good time triallers, and they and their teams will put in a huge effort tomorrow to try and drop Pereiro to set up a showdown for Saturday’s time trial. With everybody now knowing the stakes, tomorrow’s stage promises to be brutal, with all out efforts by everyone as they try to defend their positions or alternately bring people back within range for the final time trial.
Given their strong team, Kloden and company will probably lead the way tomorrow, and I think they will put some time into Pereiro. Evans will probably just follow Kloden and T Mobile and maybe sprint for a time bonus if he’s in contention at the end. Sastre put in a good effort today, but he eventually blew, and I think he may be dropped tomorrow. CSC put a huge effort into winning yesterday’s stage for Schleck, and that effort would have been better used protecting Sastre, but that’s Team Director Bjarne Riis for you, never willing to just concentrate on the overall.
Anyhow, tomorrow will be fun and after the stage we’ll know the stakes for what promises to be a dramatic showdown Saturday.
Posted by BVBigBro at July 19, 2006 11:21 AM
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|# July 19th, 2006 11:43 AM kris|
|Floyd shouldn't be too busy to go to Adam's birthday party now. Maybe he can bring Dave Zabriskie with him! |
|# July 19th, 2006 2:46 PM BVBigBro|
|Current thoughts are that he simply bonked, which would be a shame as that should have been preventable. |
|# July 19th, 2006 8:24 PM BVBigBro|
|Expect to see a recovered Landis attack tomorrow. I don't think he can get enough time, but I think he can make some people hurt, and make force some teams to make hard choices. CSC and T Mobile have done a lot of work lately and everyone will want someone else to chase. |
|# July 19th, 2006 8:51 PM kris|
|tomorrow's stage should be crazy--lots of attacks as everyone tries their last ditch effort to win |
|# July 19th, 2006 9:25 PM BVBigBro|
|I don't think you'll see lots of attacks from the GC group. You may see someone like Landis go all out on the first climb to see if they can get a gap, or to see if Pereiro can be dropped. Otherwise, you'll see everyone wait until the last climb.
The GC guys are all hurting right now. An attack on the first climb would kill some people. All the guys know Landis is the strongest rider, and that's the move they all fear. They will want to bluff until the end of the stage.
It would be good tactics by Phonak to see if they can get 1 or 2 riders in an early attack that no one on the GC is concerned about. If Landis can attack on the first climb, the riders in the earlier break can wait at the top and help him until the last climb. If not, maybe they can get a stage win on a long breakaway.
|# July 19th, 2006 9:29 PM BVBigBro|
|Pereiro will be tough to beat now. He has inherited the very good tactical situation that Phonak had set up for Landis, but with probably a stronger team to support him. All he needs to do is hold the wheel of Sastre or Kloden, whoever attacks. The other teams are all defensive now, and the work they do to protect their own spots on the GC helps Pereiro, just at it helped Landis yesterday and would have helped him tomorrow if he could have held on today. |
|# July 20th, 2006 7:30 AM BVBigBro|
|Floyd attacks immediately. It's death or glory. |
|# July 20th, 2006 8:13 AM BVBigBro|
|Even if he doesn't win this is a magnificent ride. If he can get 5 minutes today he can win the Tour. |
|# July 20th, 2006 8:35 AM kris|
|Agreed. He's nearly the virtual maillot jaune now. I don't know if any of the contenders are going to have the legs after yesterday to reel him in.
I hope he does it or at least gets close. It'll make Saturday unbelievably exciting.
|# July 20th, 2006 8:43 AM BVBigBro|
|Sinkewitz is with him and he rides for T Mobile. He will do no work and get the stage if he can hang on, but I have a feeling he's there because T Mobile knows Kloden might not be able to chase. |
|# July 20th, 2006 8:51 AM BVBigBro|
|Less than 30 miles to go. That will help him mentally. He will be thinking to himself how he can suffer for 30 miles in a TT and how this is no different. |
|# July 20th, 2006 9:32 AM BVBigBro|
|Best Tour ride of my lifetime. Doesn't matter how it ends. |
|# July 20th, 2006 9:48 AM kris|
|Wow--I guess the French can't say Landis lacks panache anymore. |