Monday, July 20, 2009

Rest Day Wrap-up

Apologies for the lack of results over the weekend. We were out at West Hawk Lake for the WhitesHELL Enduro, about which more will follow soon. But today is the second rest day, which is good timing as it allows us to get caught up on all the excitement that went down this weekend.

Saturday was an opportunity for the stage hunters and wild cards to strut their stuff. In the real race, all the tongues were wagging about George Hincapie, who missed out on the yellow jersey by just 5 seconds and launched a polemica amongst the American teams, including his own, who chased down the breakaway. Meanwhile, Cavendish won the field sprint but was later relegated for "irregular sprinting." This gives Hushovd a nice cushion in the points race. In the vicarious race, Rachel and Ramon were the biggest beneficiaries of all that drama. They tied for first place with 150 points each. Rachel got all of her points from the stage winner, Sergei Ivanov, while Ramon's came from Bennati and Maaskant. John Wa finished in third place, with 140 points via Maaskant and Timmer.

On Sunday, we finally got the excitement we've been waiting for. Contador took the race by the horns and it doesn't look like there's much of a chance that he will to let go. Andy Schleck was the best of the rest, soloing in to take second place and move up to 5th overall. Brad the Impaler will no doubt be smiling after LA was unable to keep pace with his teammate. There will surely be more excitement to come. Even if Contador stays in yellow through to Paris, the rest of the podium is far from clear. In the FGBC Tour de France Pool, my team finally came out on top. With Schleck and Nibali in the top three and Kreuzinger finishing just outside the top 10, it added up to 275 points and a stage win. Keith took second place with 260 points while Chris D's 255 points were good enough for the final podium step.

In the overall race, Greg the Lunchbucket kid continues to cling to his lead. But it is rapidly shrinking. It was up to almost 200 points a couple of days ago. But King Andy has narrowed the gap to just 28 points. And Melissa is only another 30 points back. With Greg's two contenders, Armstrong and Vandevelde, seemingly fading from the overall battle, the door to the top podium step seems to have blown open once again. Both Andy and Melissa are better placed to cash in on the final bonus points for the overall classifications. And it is still possible that someone can scoop all three of them by moving up from below. Beyond the podium is a sizable group of chasers who are all very close. They continue to shuffle around daily. But they are all a long way back right now. The distance between 3rd and 4th place is 234 points. After his second place showing yesterday, Keith is currently the leader of that group. In 14th place just two days ago, he's moved up to 4th after stage 15. At the bottom of the pack, the Fraggle has reclaimed the lanterne rouge. At this point it looks to be a two person battle between her and Mark S. They are separated by just 20 points.

Results and overall standings here.

Pez will be happy to get you caught up on the real race. One thing worth highlighting is the growing list of departures. The list of abandonments is now up to 18. And the last few stages have seen some high profile riders quit the Tour. Levi Leipheimer overshot a corner and broke his wrist. Tom Boonen has evidently decided that the Belgian party scene is more fun that the 2009 Tour. And Vladimir Efimkin wasn't able to recover from a nasty crash on stage 11. See the full list of departed riders here.


co2cycle said...

The numbers for Stage 15 appear to be off.

The Dark Lord said...

Thanks Chris. I had stages 14 & 15 reversed. It's fixed now.

co2cycle said...

Aha! Now the problem is that I'm getting destroyed in the Battle of the Chris'.

The Dark Lord said...

Destroyed? I don't know if I'd say "destroyed." The way things have been going, Chris D is still within reach. Besides I'm the lowest Chris on the GC, not you.