MAGIC NUMBER FOR EVANS. Cadel Evans' magic number: 1 minute, 16 seconds. That's how much faster he was than Carlos Sastre in the first Individual Time Trial (Stage 4). After Sastre's scamper up fabled L'Alpe d'Huez to a Stage 17 win today, Cadel now trails Sastre 1.34. Barring unexpected and unforeseen shake-ups on Thursday's Stage 18 and Friday's Stage 19, the championship of the 2008 Tour de France looks to come down to Saturday's Stage 20 ITT.
EVANS VS SASTRE ON SATURDAY. After Sastre's CSC-Saxo teammates helped launch him to a powerful attack and win on L'Alpe d'Huez today, the Spaniard took over the Yellow Jersey and a 1 minute, 34 second lead over Evans. Frank Schleck of Luxemburg and Bernhard Kohl of Austria are also ahead of Evans, but neither of them have proven that they can time trial well enough to maintain their advantage over him. Cadel Evans is, by far, the best time trialer of all the contenders. Evans is substantially faster in a time trial than Sastre. But is he THAT much faster than Sastre?
EPIC FINISH. So, it will come down to whether or not Evans can overcome the 1.34 he's behind Sastre on Saturday. This looks to be an epic finish. Don't count out American Christian VandeVelde as a possible podium finisher. It will be either he or Russian Denis Menchov in 3rd place.