A bit of late drama in today’s Stage 13 of the 2010 Tour de France from Rodez to Revel in the southern end of the Massif Central gave an otherwise routine sprinter’s stage some spice. A few small climbs put baby teeth on the race profile, but in general it was accepted as a bunch-sprint finish, until …
Italian Alessandro Ballan jumped off the front in the final uphill riser, then Kazakhstan’s Alexander Vinokourov caught and passed him with 7 kilometers still remaining, speeding 14 and then 18 seconds ahead of the peloton. It was justice served for Vino, who nearly won yesterday’s Stage 12 before being passed by two Spaniards, Astana teammate Alberto Contador and stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez a few hundred yards before the finish.
This time, Vino was all alone.
We were happy for Vino, who has put his dope-clouded past behind him and, perhaps more significantly, seems to have adopted a “no-whine rule.” We once joked that “vino” is a synonym for “whine,” but he kept the lip zipped yesterday.
Brit Mark Cavendish took the ensuing bunch sprint, edging out Italian two-time stage winner (in this Tour) Alessandro Petacchi (our crack research team is calculating exactly how many “Alexes” there are in this year’s Tour). We’re still majorly bummed that Tyler Farrar had to pull out yesterday; this would have been the perfect stage for a head-to-head between Tyler and Mark the Mouth, both having lost their main leadout men. Make no mistake, Cavendish proved that he deserves the title of fastest man on two wheels. But that’s only as good as the next sprint, and we hope to see Tyler and Cav square off many times again in the future.
For now we’re looking forward to the next four days in the Pyrenees, starting with tomorrow’s Stage 14 ending in Ax-3 Domaines. Go Andy!
Full results from Cyclingnews.com.