Sorry no email last night, but got back late and didn’t have time.

It’s pretty much cut and dried in the Fella’s tour. Barring a freak result, it’s unlikely that the order will change after the time trial stage. Franco has Armstrong placed first in his team, and the 3 extra bonus points which that represents made the difference today.

427(+46,-53) Simon White (France)
407(+33,-73) Joost Dantuma (UK)
377(+50,-103) Francis Lee (France)
357(+35,-123) Paul Evans (France)
92 (+0,-388) Keir Mitchell (UK)

Keir Mitchell is in trouble at the bottom, as Adios Mofo made a few points to make it to 91. If Vinokourov, Rasmussen or Mancebo get a top ten place today, then he’ll no doubt beat Keir down into wooden spoon place. As far as the rest of us are concerned, it’s a round and balanced 20-30-20 point gap : 20 separate the the members of the two groups, and there’s 30 points between the two groups themselves.

Francis Lee v. Paul Evans (20 point gap)

Paul Evans has made 20 points more than Franco in previous stages (+30 difference in Paul’s magnificent stage 7 win), but it had a lot to do with Boonen. If Basso and McEwen are well placed, that could be good for Paul, gaining him 16 points on Franco. He’d need someone like McGee to come in to make the difference, and he’ll have to hope that Leipheimer doesn’t come in a top ten place as Franco has him better placed.

Simon White vs. Joost Dantuma (also a 20 point gap)

I’m 20 ahead of Joost, and his top 6 riders are all in my team also albeit in a different permutation. In order to make up 20 points he’d have to do something pretty impossible. There has never been more than 14 points difference either way in stage results between us, with stage 13 being the best gap for Joost (+12) where O’Grady, McEwen and Hushovd were the only top ten finishers for either of us, and even then there were bonus points in Joost’s favour there.

Out in Saint Etienne yesterday, the time trial was excellent for Vinokourov, coming third overall (-1’16”). Ullrich took a very good second place (-0’23”). Lance “the machine” Armstrong took the time trial and likely his only stage win in the tour. Rasmussen had the worst day, dropping from 3rd to 7th in the GC after two falls and three bike changes. Since the riders leave 3 minutes apart, this meant he finished the day last behind Lance Armstrong even though he had a 6 minute head start.

There will be points on offer today as the top three sprinters all have a mathematical chance to finish with the green jersey. Hushovd is pretty much assured of the jersey if he stays in the top 3 at each sprint and/or just finishes ahead of O’Grady and McEwen, but they’ll be going for it in case of faltering from the other riders. It’s as academic for those sprinters as it is for the teams on the Fella’s tour…

P.S. Mild error in previous Excels

Please note the original stage 3 individual scores were incorrect. The Excel has always graphed the correct difference between riders, because the running total has always been correct (and this is checked with the TdF site every day), but the actual individual totals for stage 3 were wrong. I didn’t notice this until now, as I made comparisons for how the race might change around today. This means that I actually won that first stage, and the tie suggested between Joost Dantuma and Francis Lee on that stage was purely a formula pasting mistake.