Sunday, July 11, 2010

Le Tour 2010 - Stage 7 - Redemption, confirmation. Whatever. Chavanel proves something, anyway

No so surprisingly Sylvain Chavanel had something to prove after that slightly hollow win a few days ago. And equally fittingly the main agitator for that earlier non-race - Cancellara - was spat out he back.

For the rest it was a bit of a sorting out, a prelude for tougher days ahead, but told us nothing really. We expected Cancellara and Saxo Bank to rest up, there was no need to defend the yellow on Stage 7 - but every reason to prepare to launch Andy Schleck in the mountains to come. Evans equally didn't want yellow just yet. And the domestiques of the GC leaders had a quiet day in expectation of the real battle to come in Stage 8.

A small surprise was Kloden's failure to match the GC leaders, but he hasn't lived up to expectations for some years, has he? He will be back - rehydrated - and up to the task of helping launch Armstrong's attack. It's just up to the others to match Armstrong, to keep him in check and leverage any opportunity that subsequently comes along. Basso and Sastre will also want to join in, even if it's too early in the tour to commit everything they, like Armstrong, will be keen to reduce the gap to everyone else. 

Contador will also look to gain time on Schleck and Evans if that chance comes up. He may well launch Vino as a distraction... with Vino up the road Contador and Astana will hope to draw out the real GC favorites. It will put Menchov, Rogers and Wiggins to the test as well. 

And then there could be the odd surprise... Hesjedal? Roche? Van Den Broeck?

Tour De France: Stage 7, Route Maps & Results |
Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) won his second stage of this year's Tour de France at Station des Rousses on Saturday, and completed another double, taking over the yellow jersey, just as he also did in Spa at the end of stage 2.

Unlike in Spa, however, the history books will show no asterisk against Chavanel's name after this victory - which, again, he achieved alone.
Tour De France: Stage 7, Route Maps & Results |
But while the Croix de la Serra acted as the launchpad to Chavanel's victory, and effectively ended Fabian Cancellara's (Saxo Bank) spell in yellow, it told us very little about the climbing form of Alberto Contador (Astana), Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) or Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), with last year's top four all present, correct and looking comfortable.
Armstrong Keeps His Cool Despite Heat, Saddle Sore |
"I suffered," said Armstrong. "I think about everybody did. It was so incredibly hard. It was just the heat. Everybody really paid. Everybody would say it was much harder than we'd think because of the temperature. If you get a little behind on hydration and nutrition - that's what happened to Klödi (Andreas Klöden) - the man with the hammer comes and you're done."
Leipheimer Keeps An Eye On Vinokourov |
Levi Leipheimer's task during stage 7 of the Tour de France was to mark Alexander Vinokourov (Astana). The RadioShack rider, who finished alongside Vinokourov in the lead group of GC contenders, said that the Astana rider was too dangerous to escape without company from someone on Lance Armstrong's Radioshack squad.
Van Den Broeck Ready For Battle In The Alps |
"Today went well," he told Cyclingnews as he warmed down on the team bus. "It was an easy day with no problems but tomorrow will be all out war."
Van Den Broeck Ready For Battle In The Alps |
In Matthew Lloyd, Van Den Broeck has a strong mountain domestique and the Australian is sure that his teammate can make a serious impression on the race over the coming two weeks. "Today we made sure Jurgen was fresh all day, especially when the speed was relatively high."
Roche Passes First Mountain Test |
"I passed the test but I'm exhausted," Roche told Cyclingnews as he ground to a halt after the finish line.

After downing a bottle of water, the 26-year-old looked up and gave his impression on day that saw all the yellow jersey contenders finish together.

"I was feeling good but I guess there was a big group at the finish. It just proves that it's going to be pretty tough to stay with these guys," Roche told Cyclingnews.
PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling
when BBox Telecom missed the breakaway today, their team manager sent them to the front to chase. That brought the breakaway close enough to the peloton for French National Champion Thomas Voeckler to attack for a possible stage win.

- By Chris Carmichael -

Not to be outdone by his countryman, Sylvain Chavanel (winner of Stage 2) set off in pursuit. Chavanel had a great ride and won the stage, and took the yellow jersey for the second time in this year’s race, but the Battle of the Frenchmen – along with the heat - also made the stage much more difficult than many riders had anticipated.
PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling
If the lead group of yellow jersey contenders is all together at the bottom of the final climb, I fully expect Alberto Contador to attack on the final climb of Stage 8. Right now there are too many riders who are close to him on the overall classification and he’ll take the opportunity to ‘thin the herd’. The big question is how well the others will respond. Cadel Evans is better than he was in 2009, and so is Lance Armstrong. Andy Schleck was the only man capable of accelerating with Contador last year, but his pre-Tour preparation wasn’t as perfect as in 2009. And what of the dark horse in the periphery, Ivan Basso. He’s looking to make up some serious time in the overall race for yellow, and the mountains are where he overcame a big deficit to win the Giro d’Italia earlier this year.
Robbie McEwen (mcewenrobbie) on Twitter
@bdlancaster i was swearing at you for going so quick but thanks mate. expected bigger time cut. was too delerious to work it out

really had to battle thru tday, world of hurt as they say, but made it. v sorry 4 my team+roommate StijnVdb, outside time limit.
Cadel's Diary | Cadel Evans 2009-2010 - The Official Site of Cadel Evans - World Champion 2009, Tour de France runner-up in 2007,2008.
Why is it the roads always melt in Europe? More hot-mix less blue-metal?...feels like riding on underinflated tyres. So much so, that the GC teams did not want to lay it on the line today. Allowing break away specialist Chavanel to win the stage and reclaim the yellow jersey. It's been a great start to the Tour for Quick-Step so far, they were not in the greatest moods with the omission if Tom Boonen. Carlos Barredo gave them all a moral boost yesterday, you have all seen the post stage 'fight' on YouTube? Our dinner table was entertained.... How he got away with only 400CHF in fines mystifies me.