Iâ€™m certain to have missed the time cut by now, but hereâ€™s my two cents anyway:
1. Is Fabian Cancellara to Tony Martin and time trials what Alberto Contador is to Andy Schleck and the Tour de France?Â Discuss.
2. Seriously though, I thought I learned my lesson the first 3 times I bet against Fabian Cancellara.Â Mark my words: as soon as I pick him to win Worlds, Tony Martin will get his victory.
3. While David Zabriskie didnâ€™t finish where I predicted he would (third), he did have a heck of a good day (fifth).Â Unfortunately, that seems to be about as good as itâ€™s gonna get internationally for DZ.Â He just doesnâ€™t seem to have it anymoreâ€”nor does he seem to care.
4. As for Denis Menchov, letâ€™s give some credit where itâ€™s due. He rode the first half of the season â€œhis wayâ€, placing all his eggs in the Tourâ€™s basketâ€”and it paid-off.Â For a rider often known for bad luck, crashes, and bad days, he â€œdidnâ€™t put a foot wrong,â€ as Phil and Paul liked to say.Â Now the big question: where does Menchov go from here?Â In my opinion, the Vuelta would be a good way to end his season on a high note.Â Heâ€™s won the race before and looks to be the cream of the crop given the other riders likely to start.
5. Menchovâ€™s gain was Samuel Sanchezâ€™s lossâ€”despite the Spaniardâ€™s best efforts, he dropped one spot from the podiumâ€™s final step.Â For Euskaltel, itâ€™s their best Tour finish since, wellâ€”ever.Â And for a rider with two top-10â€™s in the Tour and four top-10â€™s (and two podiums) in the Vuelta, itâ€™s time to give Sanchez the title of Best Euskaltel Riderâ€”ever.
6. VDBeke/VDBTwee/VDB2 didnâ€™t quite record the time I thought he would (Carlos Sastre beat him for cryinâ€™ out loud), but he held his place, and will finish fifth in the 2010 Tour de Franceâ€”the best Tour finish for a Belgian sinceâ€”would someone please check that for me?Â (Seriously, Iâ€™m tired of implying heâ€™s the next Eddy Merckx.) And let me know how you find outâ€”because Iâ€™ve been looking.
7. And speaking of Carlos Sastre, how â€˜bout his day?Â Sure, he only finished 48th, but look at some of the riders he bettered: Ryder Hesjedal, Nicolas Roche, Lance Armstrong, Chris Horner, Janez Brajkovic, and Jurgen Van den Broeck to name a few.Â Could we be reading a bit too much into it?Â Yes.Â But itâ€™s interesting to note nonetheless.
8. And finally, there are a lot of statistical analyses floating around attempting use data to prove whether or not this yearâ€™s Tour was ridden on bread and water alone.Â While I appreciate the efforts, I think there is a much simpler litmus test: todayâ€™s results.Â While 52 kilometers is by no means a short distance for an individual time trial, itâ€™s by now means the longest in the last 10 years.Â In my opinion, todayâ€™s time gaps speak to 2 things: the difficulty of this yearâ€™s race and the â€œhumanâ€ performances of its competitors.
Yes, the wind changed, a contributing factor in the gaps between the specialists and the contenders, but when only one of the raceâ€™s top-10 men on GC finishes in the first 30 in the penultimate dayâ€™s time trial, that tells me something.
9. Oh, and for those of you who feel there’s no justice in the world anymore, there’s always John Gadret.
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