I’m certain to have missed the time cut by now, but here’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? Discuss.
2. Seriously though, I thought I learned my lesson the first 3 times I bet against Fabian Cancellara. Mark my words: as soon as I pick him to win Worlds, Tony Martin will get his victory.
3. While David Zabriskie didn’t finish where I predicted he would (third), he did have a heck of a good day (fifth). Unfortunately, that seems to be about as good as it’s gonna get internationally for DZ. He just doesn’t seem to have it anymore—nor does he seem to care.
4. As for Denis Menchov, let’s give some credit where it’s due. He rode the first half of the season “his way”, placing all his eggs in the Tour’s basket—and it paid-off. For a rider often known for bad luck, crashes, and bad days, he “didn’t put a foot wrong,” as Phil and Paul liked to say. Now the big question: where does Menchov go from here? In my opinion, the Vuelta would be a good way to end his season on a high note. He’s won the race before and looks to be the cream of the crop given the other riders likely to start.
5. Menchov’s gain was Samuel Sanchez’s loss—despite the Spaniard’s best efforts, he dropped one spot from the podium’s final step. For Euskaltel, it’s their best Tour finish since, well—ever. And for a rider with two top-10’s in the Tour and four top-10’s (and two podiums) in the Vuelta, it’s time to give Sanchez the title of Best Euskaltel Rider—ever.
6. VDBeke/VDBTwee/VDB2 didn’t quite record the time I thought he would (Carlos Sastre beat him for cryin’ out loud), but he held his place, and will finish fifth in the 2010 Tour de France—the best Tour finish for a Belgian since—would someone please check that for me? (Seriously, I’m tired of implying he’s the next Eddy Merckx.) And let me know how you find out—because I’ve been looking.
7. And speaking of Carlos Sastre, how ‘bout his day? 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. Could we be reading a bit too much into it? Yes. But it’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 year’s Tour was ridden on bread and water alone. While I appreciate the efforts, I think there is a much simpler litmus test: today’s results. While 52 kilometers is by no means a short distance for an individual time trial, it’s by now means the longest in the last 10 years. In my opinion, today’s time gaps speak to 2 things: the difficulty of this year’s race and the “human” 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 race’s top-10 men on GC finishes in the first 30 in the penultimate day’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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