Jul 13, 2006

gc after stage 11

First off. What's up with the goatse-like home page at Le Tour?

So Landis is sitting pretty right now. Here's the GC standings.

DESSEL Cyril 00' 08"
MENCHOV Denis 01' 01"
EVANS Cadel 01' 17"
SASTRE Carlos 01' 52"
KLÖDEN Andréas 02' 29"
ROGERS Michael 03' 22"
MERCADO Juan Miguel 03' 33"
MOREAU Christophe 03' 44"
FOTHEN Marcus 04' 17"
ZUBELDIA Haimar 04' 26"
SINKEWITZ Patrik 05' 38"
LEIPHEIMER Levi 05' 39"

On a very simple level, Landis is in first place, he is one of the fastest in the mountains, and only one person who isn't in contention is faster than him in the time trials. His chances are very good. Menchov and Evans are probably the biggest threats. They do well on the mountains and the time trials (just not as well as Landis).

And he is clearly in the strongest spot strategically. Today he had to pull the other two guys up the last part of the hill. They refused to help. From here on out he doesn't need to do that. Everyone below him needs to avoid losing time to people behind them while trying to move up the standings. For example it's easier for Landis to work together with Menchov than it is for Menchov to work with Evans. Evans wants to fuck Menchov any chance he can. He's wants that second spot. Landis is perfectly happy to not take time on Menchov. He doesn't need to attack. He doesn't need to gain any more time on any rider (he would like to but he is not ever forced to do that). He just has to get behind whoever is threatening him or work with whoever wants to work with him. And at the end of the day he can tack on another 30 seconds to 1 minute in the time trials.

The only issue he has is that Phonak has to lead the peloton now as a matter of expectation. They don't really need to but they probably will. This will tire his team.

I said before that I didn't think Landis would win because he isn't tough enough. I do feel like the hip replacement news is actually good for his chances. If he's been riding with bone grating on bone there's no way he's a wuss. He might just do it. I think we need to see if he rides smart like Lance. Today, I think, suggests he can. He didn't need to attack so he didn't. He kept a nice pace and ground the rest of the riders down. It's just like Lance did later in his career.


Chupathingy said...

Hey Chooky,
What's your feeling on Team Rabobank? After his one-man breakaway last year, I really like Rasmussen, and I think having him in the mountains is a huge advantage for Menchov. There was another Rabobank rider in the mountains supporting Menchov as well. Is it possible that Menchov's team will drive the pace such that Menchov can take advantage over Landis?

I always love your coverage. Keep up the good work.


C. Fuzzbang said...

Rasmussen and Boogerd did well to lead Menchov up that last climb in stage 11. It's entirely possible that if Menchov is stronger they can lose Landis on a climb. I think that's really why Landis lost the yellow shirt yesterday. He knows he needs a strong team. Luckily he just needs to stay with Mencov because he can take him in the time trials. But we'll see. In 11 Menchov, Rasmussen, and Boogerd couldn't shake Landis even when he didn't have his team.