Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Up mountain and down dale

Those of you who watched yesterday's stage in the Tour de France will have seen the gruelling climb up to the top of the Saint Bernard pass. You will have seen Mikel Astarloza of the Spa/Euskaltel team go on to win the stage, Alberto Contador retain the yellow jersey and Lance Armstrong being first dropped by the yellow jersey group and then fighting back on the climb to join them. Yesterday’s stage was far from dull.

There was a nasty fall on the descent of the Petit St Bernard which has forced the retirement of Jens Voigt of Saxobank. He was taken to hospital immediately after his crash having lost consciousness. I hope he is alright.


Today promises to be even more exciting on what has been described as the toughest day in this year’s Tour. Four category 1 climbs with a category 2 climb in the middle should see plenty of action from the mountain goats. Armstrong won’t attack his team leader’s position but, at the same time he won’t want to loose any time to him. We can also watch out for Bradley Wiggins who is on a mission. He is in third spot and intends to at least stay there. Then there is Andy Schleck - Contador said it was hard to keep up with him yestreday.

I hope the spectators show a little more restraint today. It is easy to understand their enthusiasm but leaping out, waving your arms in front of a rider whilst he is struggling uphill is a recipe for disaster. I don’t think the riders appreciate being patted on the back either.

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