Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Lance is back!!
Didn’t take all that long to put the team leader issue for Astana up on the front burner. Although laid out as a flat, not particularly exciting route, Stage 3 proved to be anything but. 121 miles along the southern coast of France (cowboy country), the expectation was that the field would bunch up and finish as a group, with the only drama being which sprinter would prevail at the end (just as an fyi, all riders that cross in a group get the same time regardless of actual position – limits calamity). The winds changed all that. Very strong gusty conditions, along with strong pressure from Team Columbia Highroad, forced a big break in the peloton with some 6-7 miles to go. Lance was astute enough to see the possibility beforehand and position himself in the front of the group on the leeward side. When the break happened, Contador and Double L were caught sleeping in the middle, unable to stay up. Very surprising. Bruyneel also anticipated well, leaving a couple of support riders alongside Lance, giving him what he needed to stay in the lead group. By the end of the day, Lance claimed 3rd position, 40 seconds behind Cancellara and Martin. Which really means that Lance is now in the yellow jersey, as both of these riders are done once the mountains appear. Smart and cagy – that’s what wins events like this. This is just great.
By the way, that Cavendish guy is pretty damn fast. Wow.