Friday, July 10, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Stage 7 > Day 7 > 224km today’s stage goes from the seaside city of Barcelona to the ski resort of Arcalis in the independent principality of Andorre. I have never heard of the country of Andorre, guess I should have paid more attention in 10th grade Geography.

The riders head into the Pyrenees today – let the racing begin. The final climb is roughly 20km and should separate the wheat from the chaff.

A group of 9 busted out to a large early lead of over 10 minutes. Over the last long climb those 9 will split up and more than likely get caught by the huge pack that will be hunting them.

Astana is doing most of the work on the front of the Peloton – maybe planning to try and get the Yellow for Lance, Contador or Levi. No one in the front 9 is a threat to lead the race so they might not get hunted down. With 30 miles to go the lead 9 are 12+ minutes ahead of the Peloton. But we could see a race leader try and break out of the main pack on the final ascent and put some time-distance between themselves and the other contenders.

I take that back, if the lead doesn’t come down there are a few in the front 9 that could take the yellow jersey, they would not be able to keep it long but they could get it for a day or two.

Cancellara has blown up on the final climb and is slipping off the back of the main pack, there will be a new yellow jersey holder tonight.

Contadar took off like crazy at the end and finished about 20 seconds ahead of Lance…so who will be in yellow? Its gonna be all bunched up near the top of the standings. Best stage yet of this year’s tour.

Let’s not forget Brice Feillu (Agritubel), who takes the win for his native France and also puts himself in the Polka Dot jersey.

And its Rinaldo Nocentini (let’s hear it for the Italians) in yellow by 6 seconds then Contador and Lance is 2 seconds behind him.

The overall Top 5

1. Rinaldo Nocentini- AG2R-La Mondiale at 00:00
2. Alberto Contador - Astana at 00:06
3. Lance Armstrong - Astana at 00:08
4. Levi Leipheimer- Astana at 00:39
5. Bradley Wiggins- Garmmin Slipstream at 00:46

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow (overall leader) – Rinaldo Nocentini – Team AG2R-La Mondiale
Green (Sprinting points leader – Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia
Polka Dot (King of the Mountain) – BriceFeillu – Team Agritubel
White (best young rider) – Tony Martin - Team Columbia

Tour Fun Fact

How does a team worker help his leader?
Although an individual wins the Tour de France, he could not do so without the help of his eight teammates. The duties of a team rider (or “domestique”) include:

Riding “tempo” at the front of the pack to control the pace and prevent riders from rival teams from advancing up the road

Riding in front or to the side of the leader to protect him from the wind

Slowing down or dropping behind the field of riders to fetch fresh water bottles or food from the team car and taking them up to the leader

Stopping when the leader has a puncture, crash or mechanical problem, and helping pace him back to the peloton

Giving the leader one of his wheels (or his entire bike!) if the team car doesn’t arrive quickly enough to help

Pacing the leader up to a threatening breakaway

Pulling the leader up a mountain climb as long (and fast) as he can, to split up the group, to protect the leader from the wind and to discourage attacks by his rivals

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