Today’s stage from Tournus – Station des Rousses 165.5km saw something unexpected: Sylvain Chavanel retake the Maillot Jaune from Fabu. I knew Fabu would probably lose it today, but not to Chavanel. Today the GC shuffled. It was really an herioc ride by the frenchman. He and Pineau have two jerseys for the Belgian Team Quick-Step (and I remember when they were Mapei-Quick Step). Pineau also had a master stroke today by getting into a break and being the first to go over the climbs on today’s stage in search of solidifying his King of the Mountains points.
The real race was behind Chavanel and Pineau. When the peloton hit the slopes of the last climb, Astana picked up the pace and rode a hi-temp pace. Those who could not hold on (Fabu) lost huge chunks of time. It was another hot day, and it stressed the riders. This stage was a test really to see how everyone was feeling, and the GC contenders were watching each other for any sign of fatigue. However, all the favorites were there. Above, Armstrong, Contador, and Schleck performed well. Who else looks strong? Cadel Evans. He is now in 2nd overall. History tells us Evans will fade, but he looks stronger this year. Who knows. Tomorrow is going to be a blister of a day. The GC will reshuffle again. There will be carnage all over the mountains. Evans looks poised to take yellow, but Contador may decide to stamp his authority on the Tour. Look for Armstrong to be dropped either tomorrow or on Tuesday (or both…at least that’s my prediction). I think he’ll be dropped on the Morzine tomorrow.
The Fight: So what happened? Each were fined € 200. Not a lot for such a serious fight and altercation on the road.
Doping: The WSJ is keeping the Armstrong doping story alive. See here.
To the video: