Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stage 9: Saint-Gaudens - Tarbes 160.5km

I spent much of this stage wondering what the hell was going on and why no one was attacking. Which meant that as awesome as these mountains were (are), the stage was just like yesterday. No change, no attack, no excitement. Well, there was a few bits of excitement, especially when they got to the Col du Tourmalet and the crowds went crazy and for a bit I was worried that they'd get in the way. Luckily that didn't happen and all the riders made it through all right. The descent was kind of crazy, no guard rails ends up being dangerous. There was only one crash that I know of, Laurens ten Dam (Rabobank) went down, scraped himself up, but made it back to the peloton and finished.

The stage itself didn't get really interesting until about 70k to go (give or take). There were two breaks by the time the riders got to the flat part of the stage. There was a small group of seven or so and then two riders ahead of them. Versus has a camera that spends some days in Columbia's car and some days in Garmin. Today was a Columbia day, and so we had an interesting look into the car when Columbia was told to attack and drive the peloton to capture the break. For a bit, everyone was wondering if Cav was in the main group, but it turned out he wasn't. I'm not really sure what Columbia were going for, but whatever it was (aside from a bunch sprint for ... someone, I don't know who). In the end, it was Caisse d'Epargne who did most of the effort and still couldn't pull the break in.

By the time the cyclists got to about 5 k left, I was rooting really hard for the break to work. The more French riders who win stages, the better it is. And the more the GC doesn't change, the better. Unless it's to put Brad Wiggins in yellow, that I could totally support. But back to the point, I was cheering Pierrick Fedrigo (BBox) on so hard. He's not a favorite of mine or anything, but I really wanted more French rides to win, and more glory for BBox and that's exactly what I got! How awesome. And then we had a decent non-sprinters sprint for the remaining places (oh, right Franco Pellizotti came in second. Take that, Pellizotti, who did NO work and Fedrigo gave him what he deserved).

Oh, and there's great news for the Basque team (one of my mother's favorites). Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Euskaltel - Euskadi) is now the new KOM! How lovely! Otherwise, there was no change in any of the other categories. Including Tony Martin, which on further reflection, might have been the reason why Columbia were attacking. A surprise Tony win? I was hoping Sylvain would come out of nowhere to take the stage, but he finished 13th, which wasn't bad at all.

Monday's a rest day, then Tuesday's the first of the no-radio stages (which I'll not be watching as I have yet another doctor's appointment in the morning). I am curious as to how people will do tomorrow. Anyway, today's stage was a waste of mountains, but gave us a fun finish, so there's not too much to complain about. Hopefully there'll be more excitement this coming week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog. I am sooo sick of Versus licking Lance Armstrong's shoes. I've been a Levi fan for years, but this year he has to take a backseat to Armstrong. Bummer. Would the TDF be better without Lance? I think so. Bruyneel maybe a "brilliant stratgist" as Versus says, but his iron fist takes the fun out of the tour.