Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stage 10: Limoges - Issoudun 194.5km

I saw the start of the coverage of Stage 10 on Versus and then the end of it. I missed basically everything in the middle. And, from what I can tell, I didn't miss a damn thing. I have to say, that's not really a good endorsement of the Tour. Up until today, it's been pretty fun. But to hear that people are describing this stage is kind of ridiculous. I don't think I would have minded it too much, if only because I don't mind just watching riding. It's fun and soothing and I enjoy that. But I had an appointment I couldn't miss.

I got home just in time for the good stuff, which was the sprint. What I'd missed was the breakaway: Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano), Benoit Vaurengard (Francaise des Jeux), Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) and Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha). They wanted to win, three of them especially since it was Bastille Day. It was odd that there wasn't much drama, because the dreaded radios didn't do much except piss off the riders before and after the race. They kept the break within a reasonable distance and when the time came to step up the chase, it worked perfectly. Well, the capture was perfect. The real problem was the sprint finish.

It was a lot steeper than most of the teams realized, except for Columbia. This turned out to be because Columbia decided to do their homework. From what I can tell, Cav is apparently the kind of guy who likes to research his finishes and therefore, Columbia sent Zabel to scout it out. He reported back and said that the finish was more uphill than the race bible (as it's called) stated. Thus, Columbia knew was was coming and was able to propel Cav to the finish, while everyone else struggled. Happily for me, Cav won and he came within two points of Thor's green jersey. It was kind of obvious that Cav wants green again, and I'll be honest, I want him in green again.

The most interesting thing that happened was that there was some sort of 15 difference between two groups of finishers and Bradley Wiggins apparently lost 15 seconds and moved from 5 to something like 7th or 8th. It was odd, because if you watch a replay of the sprint finish, you can barely see the separation and it seems kind of odd that the Tour with indicate that as a 15 second difference (between the time Cav crosses the line and the time the 'leader' of the second group cross the line, not the front of the second group and the back of the first). I thought it was ridiculous and apparently so did the Tour jury, because they overturned the 15 seconds and Wiggins and LL are back where they were when the stage started.

It was kind of a wild stage and I'm glad things were sorted out in the end. Tomorrow is yet another sprinter's stage and hopefully another win by Cavendish -- with him picking up the green jersey, maybe?

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