Saturday, July 10, 2010


True grit gets Frenchman his second chance to lead

Apparently the taste and feel of the Yellow Jersey he wore on Stage 3 motivated him.  Though two punctures on Stage 3 doomed his hopes of wearing the Maillot Jaune for more than a day, Sylvan Chavanel stayed within striking distance of the race lead over the next few stages.

Today, with the Tour moving into the Alps' first categorized climbs (not the monsters the riders will face in coming days), Chavanel took off on a breakaway on the last climb and propelled himself to the stage win.

With multiple-stage Yellow Jersey wearer Fabian Cancellara (no mountain climber) suffering off the back of the peloton, Chavanel's gritty stage win also earned him the coveted Yellow Jersey.  How good it must feel for the Frenchman.

The heat seemed like it was unbearable, taking a toll on the peloton.  Riders were spread all over the last mountain, trickling in for 30 minutes after Chavanel triumphantly crossed the line.  Hope all these get a good night's rest and are ready for what greets them in the morning.

No significant changes in the General Classification competition.

Though Chavanel wears Yellow, he is not a threat for the overall Tour victory.  Behind him, all the race favorites finished Stage 7 together: Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck, Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong, Denis Menchov, Bradley Wiggins, Aleksandr Vinokourov.

Sunday is the first chance for a shake-up in this group of elite contenders.  Five mountain climbs, including two Category 1 (next to highest category) monsters await.  I look for at least one among these cyclists to make a run to the top to try to put some time on his rivals.  Fireworks on Sunday!

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