Critical Section


TDF stage 16 / climb - Astarloza attacks to win / jerseys unchanged after battle

Tuesday,  07/21/09  10:51 PM

(refraining from descriptive titles until a couple of days later, for you Tivoers out there...)

TDF 09 stage 16 - Bradley Wiggins leads Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, and Lance ArmstrongAnd so after a rest day we had a day of fireworks in the Tour, with two massive climbs between Martigny and Bourg-Saint-Maurice that resulted in a further selection.  Mikel Astarloza won with a daring last minute break, but the real battle took place among the GC men behind him.  The Schleck brothers attacked, Contador and Kloden followed, and for a while there was a split between the contenders, with Lance Armstrong powering across the gap.  Ultimately the leaders came back together but some of the pretenders gave up more time, like poor Cadel Evans.  You could really see who was "on the rivet" and who wasn't; Bradley Wiggins looked really strong (pic at left), as did Contador, Andy Schleck, and Kloden, Lance showed a flash of his old power crossing the gap, and Frank Schleck, Vincenzo Nibali, and Christian Vande Velde were able to match the pace.  Also up there today was Kim Kirchen, who looks to be getting stronger.

Tomorrow is a maniacal stage with five massive climbs (the "queen" stage), but I don't look for any further selections until the TT on Thursday.  That's really the only and best chance for Lance or Bradley Wiggins to take time from Contador.  And/or for Kloden to move up into a podium spot.  There will be more attacking tomorrow because the Schlecks really can only gain on a climb, and perhaps one or more of the leaders will fall by the wayside; we'll see.

On a sad note poor Jens Voigt pulled out in the early break, fell back to power Saxo up the first climb, and then crashed heavily on the descent.  I sure hope he's okay, and it is sad to see him out of the tour.

TDF 09 stage 7 - Fabian Cancellara descends madly through the motorcadeOne more note: check out this video of Fabian Cancellara descending on stage 7; this was while he was still in yellow, after he'd flatted, and with the peloton charging down the hill.  Wild bike handling skills on display as he weaves through the motorcycles and team cars at 60+kph :)

[ Tour de France 2009: all postsindex ]

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