After a tough mountains stage Sunday, the Tour took an official rest day Monday.
After a tough mountains stage Tuesday, the Tour took an unofficial rest day Wednesday.
Regrettably, the peloton’s leisurely sashay through the last Alps stage came on Bastille Day. French cycling fans will have to wait till this evening for any fireworks.
No significant changes in the leader board, with our man Andy Schleck holding onto the yellow jersey in a bunch finish.
We don’t mean to be harsh. It’s been a thrash of a Tour so far. The riders that haven’t crashed or aren’t hurt have to be riding on the edge of exhaustion.
But we call ’em like we see ’em. And we were hoping for a better show in the final Alps day.
The single saving grace may have been the first stage win for Team Radio Shack, although it wasn’t Lance Armstrong or Levi Leipheimer who pulled it off. In a two-man sprint after a long 7-rider breakaway, otherwise little-heralded Portuguese rider Sergio Paulinho bested Vasili Kiryienka (Caisse d’Epargne) to take the stage.
The pack rolled in some 14 minutes later, undoubtedly relieved at a lackluster day in the saddle.
Full results from CyclingNews.com.
Tomorrow’s stage returns to the flatlands with only an early Category 3 climb interrupting a laid-back profile. We hope at least the final sprint provides some drama.
Following the lead of the mountain-biking community, Tour riders are experimenting with tubeless tires.
Much has been made of Lance Armstrong’s misfortunes in this Tour, but he can’t hold a candle to the career bad-luck leader, Cadel Evans. Evans lost the yellow jersey Tuesday, then revealed he was riding with a broken elbow suffered on Stage 8. We’ve often observed that Evans can’t seem to get a break in the Grand Tours — maybe we should revise that to “positive break.”