Francis Lee wins another stage by a good margin, his team is looking decidedly mountain friendly…
244(+32,-49) Simon White (France)
235(+29,-58) Joost Dantuma (UK)
207(+45,-86) Francis Lee (France)
196(+14,-97) Paul Evans (France)
52 (+0,-241) Keir Mitchell (UK)
Another tough mountain stage, but Vinokourov’s legs held out this time and he kept going wiith enough energy to pull ahead and win the stage. Again I get some bonus points and keep my nose ahead of Joost. Lower down the order Franco storms ahead of Paul Evans, who’ll be off his seat and pushing hard on the pedals to stop being dropped by the peloton. He’ll be hoping that Boonen’s fall today is nothing too serious, and that Friday’s flatter stage allows his sprinters to pull him back ahead of Franco. Interestingly in the second ten finishers (places 11-20) a lot of riders featuring in the Fella’s tour are hanging around waiting to tip the balance : Basso, Ullrich, Kloden, Jaksche. Maybe they’ll be there tomorrow to the joy of many.
Joost Dantuma’s fetish rider Beloki (is he dead? nearly…) finished over half an hour behind the leaders; many other riders have dropped off and Jens Voigt was the notable abandon of the day, finishing outside the time limit. Keir hasn’t got on his bike since stage 7 last Friday, indeed I’m wondering if he’s got any handlebars left…