Friday, July 23, 2010

The 2010 Tour de France: As expected....but not!

The 2010 Tour de France is winding down, and much is as one might have predicted, but this was to be an unpredictable Tour and there were plenty of surprises.

The expected:

-Fabian Cancellara won the prologue and put on the yellow jersey
-Alberto Contador currently wears the yellow jersey ahead of Andy Schleck with a long time trial ahead. Contador will have to fall off of his bike and not get up to lose this Tour.
-Mark Cavendish has four stage wins, but has seen the green jersey passed around over his head before being nabbed yet again by Thor Hushovd, then passed on to a resurgent Alessandro Petacchi. Cav is the best sprinter out there, but the points competition rewards the most consistant rider out on the road and Cavendish doesn't chase the intermediate sprint points.
-Radio Shack leads the team classification.
- Cadel Evans was effectively out of the race after stage 9. (see related below)

Some surprises:

-Cadel Evans gained the yellow jersey on stage 8.
-Lance Armstrong was effectively out of the race after stage 3.
-Team Astana was very strong, riding in effective support of Alberto. Vinokourov actually rode well as a super-domestique and also attacked like the madman that he is to take a stage. As the French would say, "chapeau".
-French Riders: the French have kicked ass, winning six stages, so far.
-Mark Renshaw was kicked out of the Tour.
-The best placed GC rider on the loaded Radio Shack team is Chris Horner at 10th.  And that's after riding most of the race in the service of Armstrong or Levi.
-Alessandro Petacchi has won two stages and wears the green jersey of the points leader.
-Cavendish dispels the notion that he can't win without his leadout train as he worked through traffic on the stage into Bordeaux a la Robbie McEwen, then found Petacchi's wheel as Petacchi accelerated out of the scrum. Cav then lit 'em up to put a few bike lengths between he and everyone else to win handily. The guy is in a class of his own, now having won 14 tour stages in three years. That's 2 more than Eric Zabel and Zabel rode the Tour 13 times, including an amazing 6 consecutive years as the winner of the green jersey.
-Team Sky, with its huge payroll and handpicked team of stars did ........well, nothing.

This thing still isn't over, but it's already been a wild ride!

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