Wednesday, July 25, 2007

IT COMES DOWN TO THE TIME TRIAL

WHO'S THE BIGGEST THREAT? Let's suppose the Tour de France championship comes down to how the top four contenders do in the Individual Time Trial on Saturday. Levi Leipheimer is an above-average time trial rider, so is his Discovery Channel team member Alberto Contador. Both are better at ITT than race leader Michael Rasmussen. But Leipheimer is not better to the tune of six minutes and Contador is not better to the tune of three minutes--the deficits to Raz they must make up in order to overtake him. Unless they pull a rabbit out of that hat on Saturday (and I think I can safely say that NO ONE wants to see or think about any more rabbit tricks in this race!)...

AUSTRALIAN POSSIBILITIES. But Cadel Evans...that's another story. Checking the results of last year's results of the two TdF Individual Time Trials, Australian Cadel Evans (photo) finished about 5 minutes faster than Michael Rasmussen of Denmark in each. That's about the current time differential between 3rd-place Evans and Rasmussen with four stages remaining in the 2007 Tour de France. Hmmm...

TIGHTER THIS YEAR. However, this year Cadel finished just over 100 seconds ahead of Michael in the Albi ITT last week. That's enough to vault him into second place, but short of what's needed to take over the Yellow Jersey.

X-FACTORS. Take out the rainy weather factor, does Cadel ride better? Examine the terrain of Stage 19; which rider does it favor? It is 55.5 kilometers, a bit shorter than the Albi ITT. Will Cadel ride win, risking a crash for the sake of gaining the Yellow Jersey? Will Michael ride to preserve, hoping to protect his advantage? Will the doping cloud over Michael finally take an emotional/morale toll on him? Or will it just anger him to an inspired ride? I wonder...

2 comments:

Melissa said...

It might not matter. I found this link on www.tdfblog.com:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2007/tour07/news/?id=/news/2007/jul07/jul26news

Rasmussen has been pulled by Rabobank because he lied to them about his whereabouts during June (related to the story earlier in the week). There's no news of this on ESPN, just this link that i've found. tdfblog also has a link to an article saying Rabobank fired Rassmussen.

This tour is crazy.

bikehiker said...

Thanks, Melissa. So, my little exersise in speculation changes focus...from Rasmussen vs Evans to Evans vs Anybody else. Australians should be cheering about now...and Danes sorrowing.