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Jul 15 2011

Le Tour- Stage 13

Pau to Lourdes 95 miles

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Yesterday’s first Stage in the Pyrenees was not as dominant a day for Contador as might have been predicted on paper.  He was awfully lonely at the finish and gave up time to his main rivals in front of the home crowd.

Now 30 Seconds is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, a margin like that over a single rival can be easily made up by a bit of bad luck like a flat, but the truth is that Saxo Bank looked totally feckless in the face of a strong Leopard Trek effort from the first serious climb.

Contador’s problem is that it’s not just the :30 and it’s not just one rider he has to beat.

In the General Classification the standings look like this after the first High Mountain Stage-

Rank Name Team ET delta
1 Thomas Voeckler Europcar 51h 54′ 44″
2 Frank Schleck Leopard Trek 51h 56′ 33″ + 01′ 49″
3 Cadel Evans BMC 51h 56′ 50″ + 02′ 06″
4 Andy Schleck Leopard Trek 51h 57′ 01″ + 02′ 17″
5 Ivan Basso Cannondale 51h 58′ 00″ + 03′ 16″
6 Damiano Cunego Lampre 51h 58′ 06″ + 03′ 22″
7 Alberto Contador Saxo Bank 51h 58′ 44″ + 04′ 00″
8 Samuel Sanchez Euskaltel 51h 58′ 55″ + 04′ 11″
9 Tom Danielson Garmin 51h 59′ 19″ + 04′ 35″
10 Nicolas Roche AG2R 51h 59′ 41″ + 04′ 57″

Don’t be deceived by that even 4 Minutes, while it was a great thing for France to have a Frenchman lead Le Tour de France on Bastille Day, Voeckler is not expected to retain the maillot jaune past Saturday if he can hang onto it that long.

The people to watch are the two Schlecks, Evans, and Basso.  Sammy Sanchez is only 11 Seconds behind and could sneak up.

This Stage ramps up with a Category 3 and a category 4 climb before the Sprint checkpoint and then heads for the unclassified Col d’Aubisque and steeply down to the finish.  I think team management is going to be a real issue because it will be very difficult to stick together and help your contenders over the Col and after that a serious gap could develop as the back markers struggle up and the leaders zoom to the finish.

Coverage on Vs. starts at 8 am.

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