Tour de France: The Alps Are Behind Us…

And we still don’t have all that much clarity.

My podium right now looks like this:

  1. Evans
  2. Sastre
  3. Menchov

Sastre and CSC rode this race to perfection and Sastre had the legs to deliver the goods. Will it be enough time to hold off Evans? I don’t think so. But he’s definitely got a chance owing to their tactical perfection and to his excellent legs yesterday.

I feel bad for both Menchov and Christian Vandevelde. CVV fell on the descent the other day and lost a minute or two. He said he was only 35 seconds behind over the top of the climb. Otherwise, with the way he climbed on the Alpe yesterday he’d have a strong shot at landing on the podium.

As for Menchov, his fall during his attack on Sunday is the great “what if” from the race for me. That was his best day in the mountains and I think he might have been able to take some serious time out of Evans on that stage. He’d broken out to a big lead (costing energy), fell, had to catch back up (more energy) and still had the energy to attack later (even more energy.) If it had all been smooth sailing I think he might have been in much better shape coming into these last two alpine stages. Certainly his losing seconds on the descent on Tuesday is inexcusable, but it didn’t matter as much as it probably should have because of that missed opportunity on Sunday. As it stood Evans was the main “strong” time trial rider defending against the CSC climbers.

I know one thing, the Time Trial will be a lot of fun.

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