Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tour De France: Stage 8

The first mountain top finish is always a critical stage.  It won't tell us who will win, but it will tell us who won't win.  What makes this year's first big stage so interesting is that it only closed the door on one rider Lance Armstrong.

I'm not an Armstrong fan, never have been, but it was still a bit sad to see him knocked out so easily and so early.  All season you could tell that Lance was struggling, but I guess like everyone I kept thinking he would find his legs. He did crash today, but it wasn't the crash that finished Lance off.  He just doesn't have the legs this year.  I remember Jonathan Vaughters talking about always crashing in the Tour.  He said it was because he was always pushing his limits and so he was always exhausted and so more vulnerable to crashes.  I believe that's where Armstrong was today.

The big winner of the day was Andy Schleck because he won the stage and made a statement about his strength, but like I said the guys I was really curious about were Evans, Vinokurov, and Menchov.  Vino was also knocked out today after working hard for Contador.  Obviously he's living up to his agreement to support his team leader.  Evans now sits in yellow after hanging on to only lose 10 seconds to Schleck.  Schleck will have to take a lot more than that off of Evans if he hopes to beat him in the overall.  Menchov also finished only 10 seconds back.  In stage races like this, where there is no clear favorite I believe Denis Menchov is the most dangerous rider.  

This is looking like it will be one of the closes Tours in history.

General classification after stage 8
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 37:57:09
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:20
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:01:01
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:03
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:01:10
6 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Transitions 0:01:11
7 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 0:01:45
8 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:02:14
9 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:02:15
10 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia 0:02:31