Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Stage 6 > Day 6 > 182km Today the Tour de France takes place in Spain – don’t ask. We are starting in Girona and ending in Barcelona. This is another somewhat flat stage but it does have a few climbs to that could break things up. Its also raining today in Spain so that might limit the sprinters a bit at the end.

A small group did manage to stay away (barely) all day. At the end it was Norway's Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam)

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s stage, the tour enters the Pyrenees and the fun will be starting in earnest. Here is the description of the stage:
“The Tour’s early entrance into the mountains will be sudden, with a Level 1 mountain pass and one of the highest finishes in its history, at 2,200m elevation. And yet this will not the time of great manœuvres. The fact that difficulties will be spread out throughout the race, as well as the length of the first Pyrenees stage, should enable a bold, sturdy climber who breaks away from the pack early to seize his chance at Arcalis.”

The overall Top 5

1. Fabian Cancellara - Team Saxo Bank
2. Lance Armstrong - Astana at 00:00
3. Alberto Contador - Astana at 00:19
4. Andréas Kloden - Astana at 00:23
5. Levi Leipheimer- Astana at 00:31

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow (overall leader) – Fabian Cancellara – Team Saxo Bank
Green (Sprinting points leader – Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia
Polka Dot (King of the Mountain) – Stéphane Auge – Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne
White (best young rider) – Tony Martin - Team Columbia

Tour Fun Fact

How are mountain climbs categorized?

There are no set rules on how the organizer can categorize hills or mountains. This is how the Tour de France climbs are defined:

- The easiest is a Category 4, which is typically less than 2km long and about 5 percent grade, or up to 5km at a 2-3 percent grade.

- A Category 3 can be as short as one mile with a very steep grade, perhaps 10 percent; or as long as six miles with a grade less than 5 percent.

- A Category 2 can be as short as 5km at 8 percent, or as long as 15km at 4 percent

- A Category 1, once the highest category, can be anything from 8km at 8 percent to 20km at 5 percent.

- An hors catégorie (“above category”) rating is given to exceptionally tough climbs. This could either be a Category 1 whose summit is also the finish of the stage, or one that is more than 10km long with an average grade of at least 7.5 percent, or up to 25km miles long at 6 percent or steeper.

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