Jul 15, 2007

tdf - stage 8

Tough stage today. Cat 4 followed by Cat 3, Cat 2, Cat 1, Cat 1, Cat1. That type of ride is also known as a weight loss plan. There wasn’t much of a peloton. It was shattered early on. It was hard to keep track of all the different groups of riders. Rabobank controlled the ‘main’ peloton for a lot of the climb. This would prove important as this was a nice setup for Rasmussen. The main breakaway group early on contained some decent riders but nothing that threatening. Hincapie, Rogers, Voigt, etc. About 15 in all.

Rasmussen eventually attacks off the front of the peloton and reaches the breakaway group. He then just whittles away everyone. One by one they drop off the back. A second breakaway of Mayo, Evans, Moreau, Schleck, Popo, and Valverde (among others) also peels off from the peloton.

The peloton, if you can call it that, had a lot of contenders – Vino, Kloden, Karpets, Leip, Menchov, Sastre.

So Rasmussen takes the stage easily. Then Mayo, Valverde, Moreau, Schleck, Evans…

So the big question is, “who’s the favorite to win GC?” I’ll be honest. I don’t have a clue. Leip, Vino, Kloden, etc. don’t look like contenders on a day like today. They didn’t do poorly but they didn’t ride like leaders. But they could be saving themselves. They didn’t look particularly strained. Valverde looks pretty good here.

Mountains on Tuesday but a downhill finish. Expect the time trial and Pyrenees to decide this one.

Oh and McEwen failed to make the max time on Stage 8. He is eliminated. Bad day for the aussies. O'Grady and Rogers also out.


Anonymous said...

You've got me... I don't know who is going to win either. But with around 110 miles of individual time trials to come, its not going to be "Chicken" Rasmussen (remember his 2005 debacle?)

I'm disappointed in the strategies and tactics in the post-Armstrong era. Last year left us with 30 minute breakways unchallenged by the yellow jersey team or peloton. Also the lack of organized response to Landis' 'decisive' break. Today T-Mobile didn't respond with a Plan B to keep Gerdemann in yellow after Rogers abandoned. Vino kept Kloden defending him when he probably could have gotten away to the leaders. And the chases kept fighting themselves instead of getting together. And the chaos of the break of 15 early in the day - crazy.

But it makes for a wide open race as you say. Can't wait for Tuesday and some HCs. And we'll get fun again in the Pyrenees next Sunday.

C. Fuzzbang said...

I'm keeping my eye on Rasmussen. Afterwards he said he felt great. Stranger things have happened.

I think the tactics are disappointing because no one has a clue how to race in this new era. No one knows who are the real contenders. Do I go after this guy? Is he important? I think many believe Vino to be the primary contender and since he didn't go, no one expended much energy on the breakaway. Well apart from the breakaway guys.

I think many will look back at some point in this race, when the GC makes himself known, and think, 'crap, I never should have let him go'.