It seems things are taking a turn in my favour, so Joost Dantuma could have his work cut out from now on. Allan Davis, something of a a wildcard selection in my team, 10th in my lineup came in 10th to give me the stage with just 8 points (lucky extra bonus points in there as well). I’ve pulled ahead of the flying Dutchc@#t… get in!
378 (+8,-48) Simon White (France)
372 (+0,-54) Joost Dantuma (UK)
327 (+0,-99) Francis Lee (France)
318 (+0,-108) Paul Evans (France)
74 (+0,-352) Keir Mitchell (UK)
Some of the riders in the top ten weren’t in any teams in the TDF game, and others figure in very few teams. Clearly the top riders are taking it easy and letting breaks, when formed of riders well out of GC contention, get away. Scoring 8 points today was sufficient for me to come equal 41st overall for the stage. But I’ll take the points where I can – Davis is a previous top ten finisher and has scored twice for me previously. It’s not a bolt from the blue.
Bad news preceded the result for everyone as all teams bar Keir Mitchell’s selection lose a key rider. Kloden fractured his wrist in his fall yesterday. This hurts Joost the most, Kloden is his number one rider. Three teams have now lost their lead man.
Today’s ride started with that bad news that Kloden, after just a few km, was unable to continue. After riding most of the stage yesterday with what was diagnosed as a broken wrist that evening, he couldn’t hack it today. Goes to show that the day after is always worse. From there on, a breakaway of seventeen riders gradually got over 25 minutes ahead, a bad omen for competitivity in the Fella’s tour. Paolo Savoldelli became the second member of the Discovery team to win a stage while the peloton was still over 20 minutes up the road. Vinokourov and Ullrich again tried to attack, at least to distance Rasmussen, but were soon held on to by Armstrong, Basso, Rasmussen and others. Vinokourov was the day’s winner in the GC, jumping from 10th to 7th after gaining 20 seconds by holding on in the main peloton group, which had started to crank up the pace near the end to pull a little ahead of the following pack which included Landis and Evans.
It’s looking a bit shit if the top riders stay in the peloton and let breakaways get so far ahead and in such big numbers. The Fella’s tour is being stamped out to a slightly smoking (but definitely schmokin’… perhaps too much) damp squib. It’s possible that there will be more battling for places in the GC, especially if a well placed rider or two gets going with a breakaway. Maybe Vinokourov will be mad enough to go for it with Ullrich. Given Discovery tactics it hasn’t even threated to happen yet, but here’s hoping…