Running In Circles
Monday, July 6th
It's always a bit of grind getting back to work after a holiday weekend. Good thing I had the Tour to look forward to!
Well, the crosswinds hit, and the peloton splintered, but since it was Columbia driving at the front, Cavendish sailed to victory again. This time he only had one other sprinter to contend with, as Thor Hushovd was the only other fast man to make the break.
Things should be interesting in the Astana bus now. Lance Armstrong made the break, but Alberto Contador missed it. Now, Armstrong sits in third on GC, 19 seconds ahead of Contador. That means that if Astana wins by a big enough margin tomorrow, Armstrong will pull on the Yellow Jersey and take home another stuffed lion.
Tomorrow — Stage 4: Montpellier to Montpellier (TTT) – 39km
This is a tough one to call. I really like Garmin's chances--they have a number of good time trialists, and they train hard to ride as a cohesive unit. Team unity wasn't enough to pull off the win at the Giro, however, and winning that TTT was a major goal.
Columbia may not take as much pride in the Team Time Trial discipline, but they have such a depth of strong riders, including the reigning World Time Trial Champion, that it's hard to count them out. Drilling it in today's stage might have left them a little tired, though.
Astana showed they are full of potential by placing four riders in the top ten of the opening time trial. You can't overlook that. I think they'll ride hard and ignore any internal strife for this stage at least, since the time gaps will remain the same between Armstrong and Contador whether they win or lose.
I think it will go Columbia, Astana, Garmin, with less than 30 seconds separating them. If Columbia beats Saxo Bank by enough, that would put Tony Martin into the Yellow Jersey as well, giving Columbia three of the major classifications (Martin already has the White Jersey for Best Young Rider, and Cavendish is in the Green Jersey).
If Astana does something special tomorrow, Armstrong will wear the Yellow Jersey for the 76th time. It's a definite possibility. Twitter would explode.