Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Le Tour 2010 - Stage 9 - There's only so much pain you can bear. Evans cracks in more ways than one

It was a hell of a stage. 2 cat 1 climbs and an HC to boot. And to attempt that ride plus a yellow jersey defence with a fractured elbow takes some doing. But in the end he just couldn't muster enough pain management to get over that last mountain with the leaders. Cadel's GC hopes have effectively ended, although like Lance Armstrong he wants to ride on.

I must admit I wasn't so surprised to see him crack, but the magnitude was way out of proportion. That blue tape on his left arm was a bit of a clue but otherwise it just looked like he'd absolutely had enough. The fact that Sastre and Wiggins were also in trouble made it more believable, but clearly there was more at play here - like a fractured elbow. Hopefully he can claw back some pride with a stage win from here.

Otherwise a nice show on the road with a great win by Casar. And Vino attacking, clearing the way for Contador; and Voigt doing everything to pace Schleck up to the summit. And Schleck himself doing almost everything possible to drop Alberto, to no avail. But what a chase by Samuel Sanchez. To be so close for so long, but so far...

So now it's the Schleck and Contador show with perhaps Sami Sanchez, Menchov - maybe even Leipheimer - the most likely intruders into the party. If they can keep up. Falls aside, Contador is looking good for the overall.

Fractured Elbow Shatters Tour Hopes For Evans |
"The team was just fantastic but I'm the one who had the crash two days ago. I'm the one that is wearing the jersey and I'm the one that is vulnerable. I'm not my normal self if I get dropped by a group like that. Normally today was a chance for the stage win and it wouldn't have an effect on the GC. Now I'm pretty sure it's all over for this year."

Evans apologized to his teammates and team owner.

"This year there's been two health problems: the Giro and now here things aren't at my normal level. I put in a lot of work and I suffer on my bike everyday and I do it with pleasure. For the guys who have supported me and been so good, the team and Andy Rihs, the owner of the team and everyone who has believed in this project, I'm just so sorry to let them all down."

Ochowicz explained that the fracture to Evans' elbow was discovered during the rest day on Monday, but the team did not want to reveal the problem before the stage today.
PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling
Evans was involved in a crash just six kilometers into Stage 8, where he apparently suffered the fracture. He nevertheless managed to stay with the leading group of yellow jersey contenders and moved into the overall lead after Sylvain Chavanel was dropped. According to the team, they kept Evans’ injury a secret during the rest day in order to see how Evans would fare today, and he did pretty well over the first few climbs of Stage 9. But the Madeleine is a brutal mountain and the pace set by Astana and Saxo Bank at the front of the yellow jersey group pushed Evans – and pretty much everyone else – over the limit. It’s a very unfortunate turn of events for Evans, as he appeared to have better overall form this year than he had at the Tour de France last year.
Cadel's Diary | Cadel Evans 2009-2010 - The Official Site of Cadel Evans - World Champion 2009, Tour de France runner-up in 2007,2008.
A HUGE thank you to all the BMC boys who showed what they're made of today. The staff here at the Tour, they didn't know their leader was starting with broken arm - I didn't want to demoralize them.
Tour De France: Stage 9, Route Maps & Results |
Shortly after the catch of Vinokourov, the inevitable happened and Andy Schleck hit out with about 40km to go, the attack followed only by Contador although soon the two were joined by Samuel Sanchez, who impressively rode past the pair and with a constant grimace continued on in an attempt to put time into the group behind.

But no sooner had Sanchez rode past and BOOM, it was time for Schleck to go again and again in an attempt to break the elastic between himself and his closest rival, who was content to follow the Luxembourger's wheel as Sanchez was quickly relegated. Ahead of them the leading quartet had opened the gap to 6:20 over the maillot jaune of Evans and 3:37 over the battling duo of Contador and Schleck.

The young pair, which is expected to fill the top places on the general classification, carried on its merry way as those behind, the other overall contenders such as Van Den Broeck, Menchov, Ivan Basso and Leipheimer - assisted ably by Lance Armstrong - maintained a steady rhythm and held the gap between themselves and the Saxo Bank-Astana alliance to 1:30 with about 35km to go.

And Robbie McEwen updates us all on his back injury....
Robbie McEwen (mcewenrobbie) on Twitter Btw, this is how my lower back is looking thanks to the tool at finish a few days ago. Hip & leg look similar