Monday, July 10, 2006

Stage 8 - Le tour - Calzati's day

At last a breakaway succeeds. Sylvain Calzati attacked his companions in the break and splintered the group. He had to do this as T-Mobile's Kessler was doing no work - and why should he, as he was just marking his man. And with Aerts in the break there was no reason for McEwen to catch his own teammate, leaving it to other teams to chase if they wanted. If Calzati waited Kessler could make the decisive move he has become known for, and with fresher legs he would be a real threat.

With such a dangerous move up the road it was likely that the peleton would chase, but it had to be driven by a team with no man in the break, like Quickstep. So Calzati went on a small hill 30km from the line. A brave move but a successful one. Amazingly Kessler didn't respond, so the break splintered into 3, dooming Aerts, Kessler and Zabriskie. Still the chase didn't get going, so Calzati kept up the pressure and held off his breakaway companions, leaving McEwen to gobble 4th place points.

All round a smart move by Calzati. If Quickstep had organised a chase then it could have been different but Boonen's fight seems to have left him... at times it looked like an early rest day. Tomorrow of course is the real rest day, then we recommence with the beginning of our journey into the mountains - and more upheaval. T-Mobile remains the best placed team but Landis threatens to take control in the mountains. However any of the mountain goats - including T-Mobile's Rogers and Kloden - could splinter the field and Landis will have to respond and control the attacks. It could get very interesting. Expect attack and counter attack from T-Mobile in an attempt to isolate Landis. If that happens Landis will have to hitch a ride with climbers like Evans, Garzelli or Cunego, or prove even stronger than he looks and do it on his own.

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