Critical Section

TDF stage 4 / uphill sprint - Evans holds off Contador as Thor stays golden

Tuesday,  07/05/11  10:40 PM

Cadel Evans barely holds off Alberto Contador to win stage 4Excellent TDF stage today; a long rolling punishing ride in the fog and rain, followed by a surprisingly tough final 3km climb to a hilltop finish.  It made for some great racing; everyone thought perhaps Philippe Gilbert would win as he did on stage one, including his team and perhaps Philippe himself, but instead Cadel Evans marked him and out-powered him to the finish, holding off a last-second attack by Alberto Contador.  Thor Hushovd somehow hung with the leaders to get the same time and stay in yellow.  Great stuff.

Evans leads Contador and Gilbert on the final charge up the hillThe GC was largely unchanged with only small time gaps, but the psychological damage was done.  We now know that Evans is here for real, and Contador can be beaten uphill, and Gilbert is not invincible, and Hushovd is stronger than dirt.  And the Garmin and BMC teams are here to win.  And Radio Shack too, although Chris Horner flatted at just the wrong moment and missed his chance to mix it up on the final climb (would have been a good chance for him too).  And finally how great was it to see Alexander Vinokourov right there at the end.  It's gonna be a great Tour.

Tomorrow we have a field sprint - look for Farrar and Cavendish to do battle again...

[ Tour de France 2011: all postsindex ]

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