Jul 03 2011

Le Tour 2011- Stage 2

Les Essarts to Les Essarts (14 miles)

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Some exciting eh?

Actually I missed the significant part live, but it is clear that people have a hard time keeping their wheels underneath them on the slippery cobbles of that sunken road even when parading and not racing.

Other than that not much of note until the crash at 5.8 miles out which had the effect of spliting the Peloton with Contador caught in the wrong part of it.  The second crash a mere 1.5 miles before the finish under Le Tour’s Turn Left Racing rules was of no consequence since all the riders in that group get the same time as the first finisher under the 3 km exception.

Still there’s no denying that Contador is now 82nd in the General Classification behind by about twice last year’s margin of victory and real competitors like Evans, Hushovd, and Schleck.

Today are Team Time Trials which are like Team Pursuit on a road course instead of a Velodrome.  These are the events Armstrong used to dominate to the extent that they eliminated them just to reduce his margin of victory and were it U.S. Postal and not Saxo Bank what you could expect would be a soul crushing display that didn’t just erase the time deficit, but put the championship effectively out of reach.

Can Contador do that?  I suppose we shall see.

Since the course is only slightly longer than 14 miles and elevation changes minimal most teams will be turning in sub 17 minute times so today’s action will be quick.  Because of the Armstrong induced rule changes which include the reduction of the duration of this event it’s highly unlikely tonight’s holder of the maillot jaune will not come from yesterday’s first finishing group, there’s just not enough racing to change things much.

There will be 22 teams contending today.  Saxo Bank is ranked right at the bottom, 4:58 in arrears.  Coverage starts at 8 am on Vs., 3 pm on NBC.

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