The Fella’s tour started the PyrÃƒÂ©nees with relish, with everyone looking like making points (even Keir Mitchell who had Da Cruz and Moos in the initial breakaway) from the off. With five top ten riders apiece in their lineups, Paul Evans and Francis Lee shone and got closer to the race leader by ten and thirteen points respectively. Most bonus points of the day goes to Paul for correctly “predicting” 3rd and 4th place for 5 extra points. At this stage he must be wishing he’d stuck Leipheimer higher up the order. Had he put Leipheimer at number 9 in his team (nobody else has scored points for his team after 8th placed Cooke) he’d be ahead of Franco right now. I fear I could be pushing for more unsweet vinefruit so I will say no more.
344(+41,-50) Joost Dantuma (UK)
339(+45,-55) Simon White (France)
294(+54,-100) Francis Lee (France)
283(+51,-111) Paul Evans (France)
52 (+0,-342) Keir Mitchell (UK)
A fourth stage win to Franco, and it’s worth noting the few extra points for me over Joost Dantuma to help keep me within comfortable range of the flying Dutchc@#t. Keir could still be the man to watch as he is really in the running for the overall wooden spoon. There is only one team below him now – “Adios Mofo” – who actually have some riders likely to get points, and who banked 14 of them today. His lineup includes the likes of Mancebo, Rasmussen and Vinokourov. He’s now on 38, just 14 behind Keir and surely ready to pass him before the rest of the riders get anywhere close to Paris.
In the real tour, there were two groups riding ahead of the peloton (if you can call it that) most of the day : the remains of an initial breakaway were whittled down to one Georg Totschnig (I saw only brief highlights but he was taking the downhills like a right nutter). He managed to hold on and finish about a minute ahead of the second group which had pulled away after a lot of attacking riding : Armstrong, Basso and Ullrich. The American six times tour winning machine showed his strength and never looked like losing the race for second place. Rather annoyingly, and especially for me, Vinokourov came in 11th. However he was 46″ behind 10th place, so there was no hope for him to make a late boost to gain a place and get me 15 extra points.
Enjoy your weekend everyone, and thanks for the nostalgia in the old Excel file you dug out Joost. Clearly you had a lot more time than me to perfect that little scorekeeping fella there Fella.