More pointless race analysis from the South of France. Thanks to my recent contraction of Lyme disease, I have had to much time to start at my computer.
First stage of Route de Sud today. 4 stages in 4 days means a close race all the way til the end. From the looks of it a 15 man breakaway put most of the race out of contention. There are 11 riders within a minute of the leader Simon Gerrans. With and additional 5 riders with in 2 minutes. After that you've got a rider 8 minutes back and the rest of the peloton at about 37 minutes back. How do you make that time up in 2 stages and a 17K ITT??? Game over.
This could be Christophe Moreau's big win of the season after getting dissed by the dauphine! He will need to be super aggressive and hope everyone has a shitty time trial to make it happen though.
15 teams in the race and only 2 teams with no riders in the break. Not a good look for Bouygues Telecom (the other team that didn't make the break only has 2 of 7 riders left in the race!) -although it does explain why Nicolas Crosbie was all alone at 8:35 minutes back trying to do damage control. 3 teams had 2 rides in the break or breaks(haven't seen a race report)
So that leaves all the teams to race for an most likely unintended leader. Gerrans vs Moreau seems likely, but do Slipstream have the power to keep Dan Martin in contention?
Nicholas Hartmann from Cofidis is a 2nd year pro who was 9th in this race last year and has given himself some room to improve on that. same goes for last years number 7 , Pasquale Muto who finished 4th today.
A race of relative unknowns with probably razor thin margins of victory.
Past winners have included Oscar Sevilla(07), Thomas Vokeler(06),Bradley McGee(05).Michael Rogers(04), and LetLeviRide(03). Vaughters won it in 99, so he should have the Slipstream guys on the front all day. Over half the teams will not be at the TDF so his riders had better be ready to perform. I guess I have unrealistic expectations for Slipstream/chipotle/garmin, but couldn't they race a littel more like CSC (saxo-bank)?? And will Garmin GPS now come preloaded with all Chipolte locations?
For some reason this is more interesting to me right now than the Tour de Suisse although Kirchen, Lövkvist, and Cunegos performance today can't hurt their odds with the tour bookies.