Jul 13 2011

Le Tour- Stage 11

Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur 105 miles

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

The 11th Stage is the halfway mark time wise with 10 race days remaining after today including the Individual Time Trial and the Champs Elysees parade on the penultimate and final days.

This Stage is flatter than yesterday with only one category 4 and one category 3 climb.  It’s the last flat Stage until after the Pyrenees and 1 of 3 (including the Champs Elysees at the very end of Le Tour) left at all.

So you can expect the sprinters to put on a show.

Supposedly the Mad Manx is all pissed that former team mate Greipel beat him out by a wheel to score his first Stage victory ever yesterday (as opposed to Cavendish’s 17), but were I him I’d be far more concerned that I was 64 points behind Gilbert in the points competition.  Not that you can’t make up a lot of ground with a 45 point Stage victory, just that there aren’t a lot of opportunities left that suit his style.

Our first High Mountains start tomorrow and I’m not sure if despite all his bad luck Contador can be stopped.  He is 4:07 behind the leader Voeckler but Voeckler isn’t considered a marquee climber and Contador is reputed to be the best in the world.  The deltas to top contenders like Evans and the Schlecks are less than half that and margins in the mountains tend to magnify.

And he’s the home town favorite in the Pyrenees so it’s like Scuderia Marlboro UPC at Monza.

Despite their woes (3 riders down, Horner out, and Leipheimer mired in 36th) Radio Shack is a respectable 3rd in the team competition, only 1:02 behind Europcar and a mere 30 Seconds behind Leopard Trek.

So if there is going to be change it will be happening soon and then there are always surprises.

Coverage on Vs. starts at 8 am.

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