July 23, 2008


The Tour hits the Alps again today for the 3rd and final day in the brutal mountains. The Alps are sure to shake up the field and bring the true contenders to the top of the standings. Team CSC has dominated these climbs by usually having 3 -4 riders in the yellow jersey peloton and has carried Frank Schleck to the overall lead. All of the favorites have pretty much been sticking together in the mountains but during yesterday's stage there were a few guys who fell back a little. Christian Vandevelde lost some time yesterday due to a minor crash and now sits in 6th place, 03' 15" back. Today's stage is brutal- there are 3 HC (uncategorized) climbs, with the finish at the top of the infamous L'Alpe-d'Huez. I can see the climbing studs from CSC (Sastre, the Schleck brothers, Voigt maybe...) shaking up the favorites with some attacks today. If Cadel Evans can minimize the damage today he will stay in good shape for the overall title because there is still a time trial in stage 20. Cadel can seriously get his TT on! Alejandro Valverde needs a 2006 Floyd Landis type breakaway today to get back into contention. The same can be said for Vendevelde and Russian Denis Menchov.

The scene from yesterday's stage 16. The stage began down in the valley...DAMN!

One exciting thing about yesterday's stage was the incredible ride by the youngest rider in the Tour, 21 year old South African John Lee Augustyn from defunct Team Barloworld, who was first to the highest point ever in the Tour (Col de la Bonnette-Restefond elev- 9192 ft) and then proceeded to ride off the side of the mountian on the descent and lost his bike. The dude could've won the stage!

The profile of today's stage 17...

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