Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tour de France 2008

Stage 16 - Tuesday, July 22: Cuneo - Jausiers, 157km

After an Italian rest day, the Tour heads back over the Alps to France. After a fairly flat, but gradually rising 50 kilometres, the course tackles the first of the day's two hors catégorie climbs: the Col de la Lombarde, which marks the border crossing. After a long descent, the roads begin to rise again to the second of the day's massive climbs: the Cime de la Bonnette-Restefond, the highest point of this year's Tour, which at 2802 metres is also the highest paved road in the Alps.

There then follows a 23.5-kilometre descent to the finish in Jausiers, the smallest town to host a stage finish at just over 1000 in population. Once again, the high mountains should provide plenty of opportunity for the favourites to attack one another, but that long descent will allow any dropped riders a chance to make up some ground, keeping the gaps relatively small.

Unsurprisingly, it is the first time that either town has hosted the Tour – although Cuneo was the venue for yesterday's rest day. One of the Cuneo's most famous sons is Michele Ferrero, whose eponymous company has given the world Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and Tic Tacs.

A big couple of days in Alps. Today and tomorrow could decide this thing. The next 2 days should pretty much trash already tired legs.

The stage winner was Cyril Dessel of France.

Christian Vande Velde had a rough day and dropped back to 6th which doesn’t sound too bad but he is now 3:15 back and in big trouble for the overall race.

Only the top 5 have realistic shot of winning the whole thing. But we will know more tomorrow.
The top 5 are and their times are:

1 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC - Saxo Bank 68.30.16
2 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner 0.07
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto 0.08
4 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa)Team CSC - Saxo Bank 0.49
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.13

It’s been a good tour so far for the Schleck brothers. Older brother, Frank, holds the yellow and Andy wears the white.

The Jersey statuses

Maillot Jaune (yellow jersey - overall leader) – Frank Schleck of Luxumborg who rides for CSC

Maillot Vert (green jersey - points leader for sprinting) – Oscar Freire of Spain who rides for Rabobank.

Maillot à pois (red and white polka-dot jersey - best in the mountains) РBernhard Kohl of Austria who rides for Gerolsteiner

Maillot Blanc (white jersey - best young rider - under 25) – Andy Schleck of luxumborg who rides for CSC

Tour Tidbits –

Feeding. What are the rules or etiquette for feed zones/stations? For example, do all the riders hold their position while everyone eats, or is permissible to attack?
Just as with taking a comfort break of the urinal variety, the same level of etiquette applies to a comfort break of the gastronomic kind. It is considered very bad form to attack in a feed zone, and you will normally hear about it further down the road if you're brave enough to try. Once the peloton has collected their musette bags (cloth bags that contain water bottles and various items of food) in the feed zone, the race is back on; there's no requirement to ask the whole peloton if they've finished their meal before attacking. In general, feeding is permitted at any time starting from the 50 km marker up to the distance marker indicating "end of feeding", which is 20 km from the finish.

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