Saturday, July 22, 2006

Stage 18 - Le Tour 2006 - Status Quo

Matteo Tosatto won, but behind only Levi Leipheimer profited significantly to lift himself up to 13th overall. Otherwise status quo.

Looking at what could happen tomorrow in the TT is more interesting.

Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears leads Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC by 12secs and Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak by 30s. Only if Floyd has a truly bad day, falls once and and punctures twice could he not expect to beat Pereiro and Sastre. Pereiro and Sastre instead will do their best - probably better than they have ever done, and limit losses. Since Landis was about 1m 40s quicker than Pereiro in the shorter TT in stage 7, let's assume at least that sort of result again, even though the longer distance probably favours Landis. Which would put Floyd in yellow, Pereiro 2nd.

Sastre, however, was 30seconds faster than Pereiro. So now we have Landis first, Sastre 2nd and Pereiro 3rd. However we must factor in Andreas Kloden (Ger) T-Mobile at 2m29s and Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto at 3m08s on GC. Using our previous 'same time gap as for stage 7' assumption, Kloden would make up just 25 secs on Sastre and 54 secs on Pereiro. As the gap to Kloden is minutes, 2nd and 3rd is safe. Cadel was just 5secs behind Kloden in that TT so pretty much nothing changes their either. We thus have Landis 1st, Sastre 2nd, Pereiro 3rd, Kloden 4th and Evans 5th after tomorrow's (or today's now!) TT, if our assumption is correct.

The remainder of the top 10 are not a threat to the podium, but possibly threaten 4th and 5th place. Menchov is best placed to do that, but at 4m 14s back our assumption would rule out his success. He'll take 6th.

Of course it's the last roll of the dice, so all of this theory will come to nought. We have tired legs and a longer distance. We have a tougher course that may suit Evans over Kloden, for example. And may suit Kloden, Evans and Menchov over Sastre and Pereiro. Whilst it's unlikely, it's conceivable that 2nd and 3rd may be up for grabs to the freshest, fastest, hungriest TTer. And we could have punctures and crashes to contend with as well.

We shall soon find out.

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