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TDF stage 15 / sprint - Cavendish wins another (yawn) as GC start rest day early

Sunday,  07/17/11  11:45 PM

Today's stage 15 of the Tour was pretty predictable; the last flat stage of this tour yielded a bunch sprint, and Mark Cavandish won.  I guess we have to salute HTC-Highroad and Cavandish for having absolutely the best leadout and sprint train in the world, but it doesn't make for great theater.  If Tyler Farrar or Andre Greipel or Alessandro Petacchi weren't in the race, it wouldn't be interesting at all, but I guess their presence does make for a little drama.  But only a little.  Now the main suspense will be to see whether Cavandish can make the time limit on the alpine stages ahead, because if he does he's bound to win in Paris, and he's bound to win the green jersey.  So be it.

By the way, in case you're wondering about intermediate sprints, in Tuesday's stage 16 to Gap the intermediate sprint comes before the main climb but it is uphill, so perhaps Gilbert or Hushovd can get points.  In Wednesday's stage 17 the sprint comes before the main climbing but again it is in the hills, so again maybe it won't be a field sprint.  In Thursday's stage 18 the sprint point is way early, long before the climbs, and in Friday's stage 19 the sprint point is right near the end but after a long descent.  So there is some chance for others to take points from Cavandish.  I rate Gilbert as the biggest threat, since he's a much better climber, but he's 71 points behind.

Meanwhile tomorrow is a rest day - boo! - and then we have four alpine stages in a row - yay! - followed by the time trial.  Those should be maximally great.  Onward...

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