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TDF stage 19 / flatish - Cavendish wins sprint after Rabo chases down break; jerseys unchanged

Friday,  07/24/09  11:09 AM

Well today was kind of a weird day in the Tour de France, wasn't it?  Everyone expected a break to succeed on the mostly flat stage between Bourgoi-Jallieu and Aubenas, but someone forgot to tell Rabobank, who kept the peloton close all afternoon, even when there was a twenty-man break.  Of course the break did not include a Rabo, and they fancied perhaps Oscar Freire could win an uphill sprint to the finish.

So what happened?  The field came together for a bunch sprint, and Mark Cavendish won his fifth stage of this year's tour, barely beating arch-rivals Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar.  Freire was never in the mix.  You start a bike race, you just never know what will happen.  Anyway it did make what would otherwise have been a rather routine transitional stage more interesting.  At one point we had Cadel Evans in the break - that would have been cool - and at another point world champion Alessandro Bellan attacked, so everyone got to show their colors.

A side note: your may remember Lance ruffled feathers when he called the 2008 Tour de France a "joke".  Later he apologized, saying that was "not correct".  But Andrew Hood looked at last year's Tour top ten, and where they are now, and really Lance was correct.  None of last year's top ten are contending, and only Christian Vande Velde (4th) and Frank Schleck (5th) are in the top ten this year.

Tomorrow is of course the BIG day, the mountaintop finish on Mont Ventoux that we've all been waiting for... you'd have to say Alberto Contador has the yellow jersey safely bagged, but Andy Schleck is less secure in second, and Lance Armstrong will really have to work to defend third.  It should be excellent, please stay tuned...

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