Tour de France -2007 - Update #1
One week of the Tour is over now and it’s a good place to stop and see if we’ve learned anything from the results thus far and if any riders are obviously in form or out of form. Tomorrow’s stage has the first real climb of the Tour and after tomorrow we will know if who is just bluffing.
For the GC (yellow jersey) contenders the first week of the Tour consisted of the prologue, lots of opportunities to crash and one opportunity to lose time (Stage 5). The prologue ran pretty much to form with none of the contenders losing a significant amount of time, although I suspect Levi Leipheimer would have liked a much better time in this short stage.
Crashing were Sastre, Kloden and Vinokourov. Sastre’s crash appeared insignificant. The Kloden crash has supposedly resulted in a tailbone fracture. It is difficult to see him winning with this injury. It has to hurt to be in the saddle so long and he will have no opportunity to stay off the bone and let it heal. Expect him to be in difficulty in the coming week. The extent of Vinokourov’s injuries are unknown, but he had a major case of road rash, and the peloton had little difficulty holding him at bay as he tried to get back on after being dropped. Saturday and Sunday’s mountains should reveal the extent to which he has been injured and if he can still compete.
The only GC contender to lose significant time in the first week was Vinokourov who lost 1:20 after crashing. Of note here is that in the predictably frantic finish of stage five several important riders did not lose time. Euskaltel’s trio of Iban Mayo, Inigo Landaluze and Haimar Zubeldia all hung on (editor - isn't Mayo with Cofidis now?), as did Michael Rogers, Michael Rasmussen, Juan Manuel Garate, Markus Fothen and Vladimir Karpets. Expect these riders and their teams to keep them in the hunt for the overall, along with the obvious contenders, during the next week.
Tomorrow’s mountains will bring an end to Fabian Cancellara’s run in the yellow jersey. As the road goes uphill, he should be going backwards. Expect him to take with him George Hincapie, Fillipo Pozzato and all the other non-climbers near the top of the GC standings. Look for Cristophe Moreau to try to get the first mountain stage and bring home a French win for Bastille Day.
After that, Sunday’s stage should establish a favorite, and then Tuesday’s brutal stage will likely see a counterattack by someone to try and test the new favorite. Finally the next week will conclude with the first long time trial, either cementing someone’s lead, or leaving us with a free for all for the last week (I’m hoping free for all).
For the green jersey (these are the sprinters) contenders, the first week has been one of inconsistency. Boonen, McEwen and Hushovd all got their stage wins, but none appeared dominant. Oscar Freire, Eric Zabel and Robbie hunter got enough high places to leave us with the possibility of a green jersey winner with no stage wins (I don’t think it will happen.)
Finally, the pace at this year’s Tour has been well below average through the first week. This could be due to less dope in the peloton. Alternately, CSC has been leading the way and they may be conserving energy to actually try and support Carlos Sastre in his quest for the overall for once. Either way, something has drastically changed.
For the coming week, look for Moreau, Evans, Valverde, Sastre, Menchov or Vinokourov to establish themselves as the favorite, and then be repeatedly tested in the back to back mountain stages and time trial. Keep an eye on Markus Fothen to emerge as the young rider of note (although he will not be wearing the white jersey for best young rider). Finally, look to see which of the green jersey contenders can make it over the Alps and still have something left to contend the final flat stages (I’m betting on Zabel or Hunter – their teams will not contest the GC and thus will be more willing to help them through the mountains.)
That’s all for now. The Tour has thus far avoided drug scandals and controversy. For that alone it has been a good week for the Tour. If the following week can be equally clean, and if the mountains and time trial can deliver us a close race, then the Tour may recover from scandal quicker than I thought and we may yet see smiles and not despair in Paris.
Posted by BVBigBro at July 13, 2007 02:40 PM
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|# July 14th, 2007 10:40 AM BVBigBro|
|Mayo is with Saunier Duval as I noted in the preview. He raced in orange so long it's hard to imagine otherwise.
Rabobank and Caisse looked very strong today. I expect their teams will turn in a big effort tomorrow. Moreau looked comfortable in the peloton. Tomorrow's stage looks like it will set a pecking order. Tuesday will be elimination day for a lot of people.
|# July 14th, 2007 2:01 PM kris|
|You'd think I would have rooted for Landaluze today, but how could anyone root against Linus? |
|# July 15th, 2007 2:17 PM kris|
runnin' all day