Saturday, July 21, 2007


KAZAKH CLAWS BACK. Alexandre Vinokourov clawed his way back into contention for the Tour de France with a blistering ride on a very wet Individual Time Trial that saw some contenders lose significant times. Vinokourov's been riding with nearly 60 stitches in his elbow and leg since a crash last week. But he showed no signs of pain as he unleashed his anger on the course with a time 1 minute and 14 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. He's now in 9th place overall, 5 minutes and 10 seconds out of the lead.

EVANS INTO SECOND. Australian Cadel Evans, placing second, moved his way up to second place in the overall standings and now sits just one minute behind Michael Rasmussen. Rasmussen rode the best time trial of his life to hang on to the Yellow Jersey for a little while longer.

AMERICAN INTO FIFTH. American Levi Leipheimer improved his overall position from 9th to 5th with a solid time trial. He benefitted from poor performances by Iban Mayo, Alejandro Valverde, and Carlos Sastre. Leipheimer is now just 3 minutes and 35 seconds out of first place.

DISCOVERY CHANNEL LOOKING GOOD. American-based Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team now has riders in 3rd and 5th place in the chase for the Yellow Jersey. Alberto Contador placed 7th and Levi Leipheimer finished 9th in today's time trial while other contenders turned in slower performances. Contador is 2'31" off the lead and Leipheimer is one minute behind him. Yaroslav Popovych, Vladimir Gusev and George Hincapie also finished well today.

NEXT TWO DAYS. The Individual Time Trial shook things up among the contenders but did not displace Michael Rasmussen as the Tour leader. He survived, but his lead is reduced to one minute. The mountain stages on Sunday and Monday now loom large for all the contenders. The Pyrenees will keep things very interesting at the top, which seems to me now to be a five-man hunt (Rasmussen, Evans, Contador, Kloden, and Leipheimer) with a few wild cards like Vinokourov, Valverde, and Mayo still able to crash the party.

No comments: