Jul 12, 2006

tdf - stage 8-10

Stage 8
Flat stage. Calzati wins. Move along, nothing to see here.

Stage 9
A flat stage for the sprinters. Boonen is again unsuccessful in the stage. Freire takes it. His second stage win. McEwen takes second and most likely locks up the green jersey race. Race pace is 47km per hour. For four hours!

Stage 10
Okay this was a little more interesting. Lots of nasty hills but a flat finish. That means we can see who the weak climbers are. An escape group mounted a huge lead on the peloton early on and basically kept it the whole way through. A lead upwards of 10-11 minutes at times. And it wasn't until late in the stage that the peloton tried to reel them in at all. 10-11 minutes is way too much to give escapees like Dessel and Mercado even though they are really not long term contenders for the GC. It was unclear how this stage was going to finish between these two. Dessel was the stronger of the two but he ended up doing most of the work at the end. Mercado eventually pips him at the end but Dessler takes the yellow and polka dot jersey. Oh yea, Dessel's also French. The gap with the peloton comes down to 7 minutes by the end of the stage.

Meanwhile this was a good stage to see who has their shit together. It's got some killer climbs (1 HC). And who is weak? The interesting names include Mayo (put a fork in him, he's done), Leipheimer (ouch), Cunego, Gonchar (maillot jaune but expected to do poorly), Voeckler (he does his usual 'getting dropped and making it back to the peloton' thingy), Voigt (yikes), Rubiera, Zabriskie, Moncutie, and Fothen (maillot blanc but expected to do poorly). They didn't all lose time in the stage but they were struggling at points on the big climbs (some made it back up on the descents). So really the hard core contenders still look okay apart from Leipheimer. It's still wide open.

Also Phonak and Discovery let T-Mobile do all the work today.

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