Whatever it is, it’s good. Franco storms ahead in the stage with a 41 point haul, leaving Keir in the dust. Mitchell must rue the fact that he shared that fella with Franco : his lead rider (S. Gonchar) blew a whitey and leaves the tour. Just 13 riders left in the Mitchell team.
The website doesn’t appear to be updating this weekend, but with my Excel I’ve done some manual calculation. It all looks OK to me, but these results are only provisional.
165(+39) Simon White (France)
154(+25) Joost Dantuma (UK)
137(+21) Paul Evans (France)
102(+41) Francis Lee (France)
52 (+0) Keir Mitchell (UK)
In the actual race Vinokourov just sneaked tenth, and other favourites Kloden and Ullrich finished well. These three are key members of all teams except Keir’s. It could have been even more high scoring : Kloden – Joost Dantuma’s lead rider – caught up with the breakaway rider Pieter Weening, leaving behind a disorganised peloton who should have easily caught up. The latter incredibly managed to hold on and then edge out the final sprint by a tyre. Weening’s heroics denied Joost 3 bonus points and to add insult to injury (you probably guessed it), Weening is a fellow dutch c#@t. Franco also missed out on bonus points in two places, which might have been enough to bring him within site of the lead pack on straight stretches.
It’s the first tough mountain stage tomorrow and given that the Cat 2 climb today already seems to have started sorting the men from the boys, it’s going to be an interesting day with the first Cat 1 climb of the tour preceeded by a Cat 2 climb.