Montpellier

As Jean Rene Bernadeau kissed Pierrick Fedrigo after the sharp featured former French champion took the second Bbox stage of the 2009 Tour, from Saint-Gaudens to Tarbes. I think what he said was; “well done son, we’ve all got a job, next year!”

Again, I only saw the finale; maybe not a bad thing, I have a tendency to nod off during long, uninteresting breakaway stages.

I caught the last 20k or so, and it was uncertain as to whether they would stay away; if it had been a flat stage and Columbia had been in full effect, then Fedrigo and Pellizotti would have been swamped.

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Pierrick Fedrigo takes Bbox’s second stage of the Tour.

But despite the best efforts of Caisse D’Epargne — with a little help from Rabobank — the two fugitives held out.

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Oscar easily wins the sprint for third.

Oscar Freire must have been frustrated, he took third easily; it could perhaps have been the win if Denis Menchov had set the cruise control a little earlier — he has all day tomorrow to recover, after all — and Oscar is certainly the Orangemen’s best chance for Tour glory.

The last 10k was good bike racing, a frantic bunch, in a long, long line against the two foxes — and like Charly Wegelius says; “it’s good for the dogs not to catch them, sometimes.”

Pello did all he could, he’s no sprinter but he made the right move, diving into the right hander first and making the Frenchman come the long way round — he could have done little more.

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Pello took the Combativity award as small compensation for second place.

It’s not been a bad Tour at all for the Motherland; but what I’m really hoping for is a Moncoutie win in the Alps — Viktor will just love that!

And there’s the email from Brandt, who sponsor the combativity (le coureur qui a anime la course avec panache) prize; Pello today; that’s fair and he’ll be a boy to watch on the Ventoux.

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Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) is rising to the challenge of riding in yellow.

Nocentini takes the yellow jersey into the rest day — shows you what I know!

Ciao, ciao!

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Tour 09 Stage 9 Map.
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Tour 09 Stage 9 Profile.

* * *

Al Hamilton

El león del Tour“.

The lion of the Tour is the headline today in AS and Luis León Sánchez makes (as you might expect) the front and the back pages.

Luis León won the stage in to Aurillac in last year’s Tour, now a year later he made the assault on Saint Girons for his home: “Va por mi hermano, mis padres y los compañeros” – For my brother, my parents and my friends, and he adds “for Alejandro Valverde”.

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El león del Tour.

His brother was a famous footballer, Pedro Leon; he played for Valladolid, but tragically died in 2005 in a fatal quad bike accident. Who does he think will win the Tour? “Contador!”

Contador has been selected for more attention than just by the fans; he has been tested three times in two days. “Análisis ‘selectivos’ para el madrileño (Contador) y Armstrong.” First on Friday, then in the morning at the Novotel of Andorra la Vella and then at the finish line there was a Chaperon from the UCI.

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Contador goes about the parts of his profession that are less pleasant quietly and with dignity. Lance twitters.

Armstrong sent a message on twitter saying he was at another anti-doping test too.

After 90 kilometres on the stage to Saint Girons, 2006 Tour winner, Oscar Pereiro called a halt and abandoned.

The Galician said his body had had enough; his pulse would not go over 160 when normally it would be 185 bpm. Most of last year he was recovering from his crash in the 2008 Tour and had raced 52 days before reappearing in this Tour.

El Tourmalet es la gran esperanza ‘anti-Astana’” – Andy Schleck predicts attacks as does Evans.

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AS’ front page today.

The problem is that the Tourmalet comes a long way from the finish in Tarbes, 60 kilometres to be exact, so this will make it very difficult to stay away from a chasing Astana team. Should be exciting stuff anyway!

Nos vemus mañana! Al.