1) Sylvain Chavanel:
He never gives up. I don't know if it's good for him, but he keeps going. I keep expecting him to DNF at some point, or even DNS. But he doesn't. Instead, he just keeps going, attacking when he can. I love this about him, even as I worry. I hope he makes it to Paris.
2) Geraint Thomas:
I'm still annoyed at the whole Brad Wiggins debacle that lost Geraint the white jersey, but I'm happy to see him attacking and attacking. I also appreciate his attempts at a lead out for Ben and/or Edvald. It doesn't usually work, but the one time it did was nice. I just hope that he (and Sky) keep attacking, especially now that the white jersey's back on their shoulders.
3) Andre Greipel:
The day after the first rest day ended up being awesome because of this dude. With all the Lotto drama (which I find amusing) and the leftover Cav vs. Greipel war of words, it was nice to see Cav put in his place. What I didn't like were Cav's excuses. What I did like was Andre's win. I just wish he could do it again.
They've been good this year, even when they haven't lasted. I like to see guys attacking even when they haven't got a chance. I know that often drives people crazy, but I don't care. Effort is sometimes more important/interesting than a win.
Gotta give this team credit, they work their asses off in the breaks. They might not have any GC folks, they might not be as strong as they used to be, but they never give up, either. It was good to see two of their riders in jerseys, even if it was only briefly. Hopefully they'll get a few stage wins before the week is out.
There haven't been as many, but they don't seem to be stopping. The aftermath of the ones from the previous weeks have been what's really impacted the peloton. I can't believe that Hoogerland is still racing (and attacking). We've also seen some DNFs from guys who just couldn't keep going, like Kloden. It's always sad when a rider has to leave, even if they're on a team I don't like.
7) The Schlecks:
I don't know what's going through their minds and I don't want to know. It doesn't seem to make any sense. I don't know why they don't attack. I don't know why Frank can't just leave Andy behind, if he's stronger or the reverse. If the Schlecks never win a TDF it's because they can't grow up and leave the other behind. If they do win, it's not because of something they did.
8) Mark Cavendish/HTC:
I know people love him/them. And yes, I'll grant you that I like a few of their riders. But I am so over the HTC train. It's boring (stop me if you've heard this one before), boring, and more boring. It destroys whatever fun/interest a sprint finish might hold. I get it, he's faster and he wants the green jersey. Great. Now shut up and go away. It's much more interesting when there's an actual race at the end, instead of Cavendish walks to the finish.
9) The Mountains:
I expected better. A lot better. And, like last year, it was just a disappointment. It's really kind of embarrassing that this is supposed to showcase the best riders in the world and, er, it's not. Sitting around staring at each other isn't racing. It's being unable to attack. It's fine if you can't get away, but one or two attack doesn't constitute a competition. And if you're going to be jackassery about this not attack BS, then stop ruining the breaks. You could at least just quit racing properly altogether and then someone who's actually putting in some effort might win a stage or two.
10) The GC/Yellow Jersey:
See above. It's great that Thomas Voeckler (if I hear one more person call him Little Thomas Voeckler, I will punch someone) has the jersey through the rest day. It's ridiculous that he's able to stay (for whatever reason) with the real GC contenders. Aside from anything else, this means that no one's trying. I mean, for pete's sake, it's like no one wants to win the race and they're just content to let Voeckler take it to the ITT and then see how that plays out. Obviously Voeckler's not going to win the TDF, because these dudes are supposed to be better than him (in the mountains, the time trials, etc), but if the GC contenders can't be bothered to try, then why are we even having this race?
Supposedly we're supposed to have some proper racing over the next few days, because it's mountains and more mountains, but I'll be honest with you, I don't expect it. I hope to be surprised, but I don't really except anything exciting to happen. I guess we'll find out tomorrow, though.