Le Tour – To The Alps!

Stage 13 More Thor Roar!

Hushovd runs down Jérémy Roy after a 30 km pursuit at the end of a mountain stage. Incroyable.

Stage 14 Plateau de Beille: Match racing
Summary: Jelle Vanendert won his first profession race and becomes the first Belgium to win a mountain stage in 30 years.

On the way, Jens crashes twice:
“I was good until I crashed TWICE on the descent of the Col d’Agnes! Oh my God! The first time I misjudged the corner and braked too fast. My back wheel started sliding. But the road was rough like sandpaper and you can imagine what happens when you put sandpaper to rubber! Boom! My tired exploded.”

“Suddenly I found myself climbing out of the bushes. After that, I tried to actually take it easy. But then my front wheel slid out on another turn and I was down again! Oh man, I just felt so stupid and useless! I was mad! I was mad at myself. I was mad at the world. I was mad!”

Laurens Ten Dam had a more serious crash, a classic handlebar – flip – broken – nose – face – plant.

On the big climb at the end of the day, Andy attacks. Marked.

Cadel attacks. Marked.

Sanchez attacks. He can go, not in the club yet. But by the end of the day he gained too much time. He’s now in the club.

Voeckler attacks. Marked. Andy looks into his eyes.

Thomas Voeckler is the Tour’s revelation. Still in yellow and fighting all the way. Maybe he is destined for even greater greatness. Thomas (“Toe-Mass”) may become the new Jens.

Andy gets 2 seconds over the others in the days GC “race within the race within the race”.

Stage 16 The surprise stage
In the stage where nothing much was expected, and with the break safely miles away, Contador goes primal:

Pre-stage I had used the David Bowie song-writing technique to pick the stage winner:
The cat says: Evans

And note that you have to use a Bowie look-alike cat:

Cadel matches Contador’s move:

Cadel slips the Darth Vader mask back on and the GC club pulls away from the peloton:

Note that Cadel is clearly channelling the dark side, thumbing his nose at Euro-Pro conventions in having black socks AND black bar tape. No other rider has gone to such extreme limits and this more than anything says to me that Cadel is hungariest and prepared to do anything to win.

Cadel puts in a gutsy downhill display on the dangerous wet weather descent.

What of Fränk and Andy (or Frändy)?

The Schleck sisters had a bad day. Timid on the descent, losing 30 and 43 seconds. Andy lost the Tour today.

Cadel raged on to the line gaining 3 psychological seconds on Contador & Sanchez.

Meanwhile, who of the 10 man breakaway won the stage? The Norse God of Thunder again:

Stage 17 Norge Dominance Continues
Two Norwegian riders: 4 stage wins. 41 French riders: zero stage wins.
Edvald Boasson Hagen, heir to the Norwegian specialty ice-cream maufacturing dynasty, wins stage 17.

Cadel whittles another 27 seconds off Voeckler’s lead.

The adjusted GC top 10 after stage 17:

1

Thomas Voeckler

73:23:49

2

Cadel Evans

1:18

3

Fränk Schleck

1:22

1

4

Andy Schleck

2:36

5

Samuel Sanchez

2:59

6

Alberto Contador

3:15

3

7

Damiano Cunego

3:34

4

8

Ivan Basso

3:49

2

9

Thomas Danielson

6:04

10

Rigoberto Uran Uran

7:36

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