Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tour de France - Stage 16 Wrap-up

What an exciting finish to today’s stage! Congratulations to Mikel Astarloza for winning Euskaltel it’s first stage since Iban Mayo won on Alpe D’Huez in 2003.

Big loser today: Cadel Evans. Does anyone else think Silence should start riding for Jurgen Van Den Broeck? The former World Junior Time Trial Champion has finished 7th in the Giro and currently sits in 22nd overall, 11:11 behind the yellow jersey. However, the more significant gap is the less 4 minutes he sits behind Cadel Evans. Is it fair to expect Silence to completely abandon Evans’ hopes in exchange for his teammate’s chances?

Probably not, but the 26 year-old’s moving in the more favorable direction right now, and he’s certainly ridden a more aggressive race up to this point (albeit in support of Cadel). Could Silence pander to its Belgian sponsor and fan base by positioning Van Den Broeck for a stage win or higher GC position at the expense of Evans? At the very least, expect to see Van Den Broeck's leash loosened even more over the next few days, especially tomorrow and Saturday. At some point it will be time for Silence to see if the kid’s for real.

For tomorrow, expect more from Saxo Bank as it tries to create one last shake-up before Thursday’s time trial. Garmin would do well to try and gain some time as well, hopefully setting-up Wiggins for further gains around Lake Annecy.

In closing, our thoughts are with Jens Voigt. His crash coming-off the Petit-Saint-Bernard is perhaps the scariest I’ve seen since Joseba Beloki. At the end of the coverage today, it was said that there’s no threat of serious injury, but it’s safe to say he faces some tough days ahead.

What about you? Any thoughts on today's action?

Share your comments below.


  1. Still unsure myself of the Saxo Bank strategy. The fast pace they are setting at the beginning of the climb burns off some contendors, but not all (especially not the contendor Contador). Also did not understand why Andy went to the front before Frank (although the last 5k of the climb showed Frank to be lacking). One would think Frank should be the last Saxo to the front before Andy, but methinks he (Frank) wants in on the GC hunt as well. Perhaps Saxo has given up on victory this year, and want to ensure Andy is on the podium, thus they only want to shell Wiggins, Armstrong, and Nibali (plus a little Riis glee when Sastre is unhitched)? The tactics of this year's Tour (both the GC and the bunch sprints) has had me perplexed.

  2. I was pretty impressed by Armstrong's crossing the gap at the top of the mountain. He might not have the acceleration, but he sure is strong.

  3. Agreed Matt, Armstrong was nearly a minute and a half down and came out of nowhere by himself to close that gap, it was definitely the most exciting part of today's stage (previous highlights for me include Contador having to punch that dude hassling him).

  4. Voigt's crash was absolutely brutal to watch. Here's to hoping he can ride tomorrow.

  5. A French director's saying Lance purposely got dropped so he wouldn't have to help Contador should he fall into difficulty. Interesting how many conspiracy theories there are.


Thanks for your comment! We'll take a look and add it to the site shortly.