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Jul 08 2010

Le Tour: Stage 5

Whether yesterday could be called a good day depends I guess on if you are rooting for Lance and how hard.

It is easy, as Lance himself suggests, to look at the 17 riders ahead of him in the GC (General Classification or overall standings) and say- that’s a lot of people to get past, but it’s not really as bad as all that.

First he’s only 2:30 behind the race leader, Cancellara, at all; which makes up about 30 seconds of yesterday’s 3:+ deficit.  Secondly, not all of those 17 are contenders in the overall race.  A majority of them are sprinters who have been helped out by the fact that 2 of the 4 stages so far (including yesterday) have had dead classic ‘Sprinter’ finishes where the Peloton has caught up any break aways and teams have used drafting and team tactics to position their sprinters for a mile or less dash to the line.

The winners of these stages rarely gain more than :30 to :45 over the main body which all get the same time because of the ‘neighborhood of second base’ NASCAR scoring.

Today’s 116.5 mile ride from Epernay to Montargis is fairly flat with 2 climbs rated at 4.  It is one of the last 2 Stages before the Alps, where Tours are won and lost.

In related subjects, accusations of doping continue to dog Armstrong (who has never, ever tested positive).  He was heckled by a protester at the finish, evidently for the second day in a a row, and the Landis accusations have been taken up by the World Anti Doping Agency.

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