Friday, July 27, 2007

Le Tour de France 2007 - Stage 17 - Bennati wins in a break

Daniele Bennati won easily, as you'd expect from a fast-twitch guy in a break laden with more your enduro-power guys. Voigt did his usual instigation and control act, forcing the pace when it needed forcing, leaving gaps that slackers had to fill and attacking when the odds needed improving. The only thing he couldn't do was get away from Benna, who knew what was on Voigt's seemingly transparent mind at every step. Voigt needed to gap Bennati enough that he couldn't close, but the sprinter of course knew this as well and fast-twitched his way back onto the wheel every time. It didn't help that the final selection included guys who were pretty similar in style and power to Voigt himself, making the match a bit too even. Even picking the weakest link and attacking up that hill at 4km didn't work... although it was close and a few cramps in the right legs would have sealed the escape. Alas, these guys don't cramp, or hide it well.

Which means one down, one to go. Before the all-resolving TT, I mean. Can Cadel make up 1m 53secs on Contador? I doubt it. The course is flat, which doesn't suit either of them, although Evans may have a little more gas left than Alberto. Leaping Levi could do better than both at this course and will be fired up to close the 53sec gap on Cadel. It's looking like a close thing all round. Perhaps Contador loses a minute to Cadel and Levi gains 30 secs, or more. Or variations on that theme, anyway. They'll end up soooo close together it'll come down to freshest legs and most luck on the day.