Cervelo: their Tour has been a good one, Haussler and Hushovd have won stages and Thor has made himself a whole load of new fans by the way he has ridden in pursuit of green.

Astana: their Tour has been marvellous – even better than that if you go on the “no such thing as bad publicity principle.”

It's the Tour - you gotta have a sunflower shot.
It’s the Tour – you gotta have a sunflower shot.

Saxo: have had a good Tour thru Fabian, Sorensen and the Schlecks – it could get better; in my memory, no brothers have ever shared a Tour podium – and that’s possible.

Garmin: haven’t won a stage, but they’ve made the headlines with Bradley; not to mention Farrar and Millar.

Liquigas: Pello in polka dots and Nibali top ten, enough said.

Euskaltel: a stage win and Astarloza in the top ten; probably more than they had hoped for.

Columbia = Cav.

Bert and Lance are never that far from each other - except on the team bus.
Bert and Lance are never that far from each other – except on the team bus.

Caisse, Sánchez’s stage win means it’s a good Tour.

Skil-Shimano: have won nothing – except admiration and column inches; Rudi Kemna says that it’s his squad that’s getting all the press back home.

AG2R: Nocentini’s tenure in yellow has made it an excellent Tour – I’m still not sure about the brown, though.

Agritubel: finish at the end of 2009 but Feillu’s stage win and a resurgent Moreau have made it a good Tour for them.

B Box: two stage wins – a big, big result for the boys in blue.

Katusha: Ivanov saved the day; (even though I think he may be an alien)

Who’s left?

Rabobank: a grim Tour for the orange men – no question that the Tour was too much for Menchov after his battle with Di Cera in the Giro.

Francaise de Jeux: disastrous, especially with AG2R, Agritubel and B box all doing the biz.

Fiellu was slightly off the back, suffering a mechanical.
Fiellu was slightly off the back, suffering a mechanical.

Cofidis: see F des J!

Lampre: dire, made worse by Liquigas’s good run.

Milram: Who? Were they here?

Quickstep: maybe their worst ever; even Chavanel couldn’t pull a rabbit out of the hat.

Silence: maybe even more disastrous than QuickStep’s – a Chernobyl of a Tour, in fact.

This was the year that Evans was to win!

With three stages left and being pragmatic; a Head will win on Ventoux and Cav will win on the Champs.

Therefore, if you want to win a stage; “today’s the day.”

Beautiful tree-lined avenues aplenty in this part of the world. It's lovely here.
Beautiful tree-lined avenues aplenty in this part of the world. It’s lovely here.

Not being wise after the event, but we could see that it might well be together at the foot of the last climb.

The first 50 or 60 K were perfect for a break to ‘stick’ but then there were long, open stretches where it could be hunted down.

Cav makes it five - an amazing young man.
Cav makes it five – an amazing young man.

Cav: there’s nothing else to say, except; “the best sprinter in the world.”

Baroudeur stage? But nobody told Cav!

Tour 09 Stage 19 Map.
Tour 09 Stage 19 Map.
Tour 09 Stage 19 Profile.
Tour 09 Stage 19 Profile.

Al Hamilton

There is only one story today and that is how Contador won the time trial and put more time between him and everyone else.

Alberto Contador had the whole of the front page of AS and took over the first eight pages, pushing football towards the back, something that doesn’t happen very often!

“GALÁCTICO CONTADOR wins the time trial in spite of the boycott of his team: Bruyneel followed Armstrong and his (Contador’s) radio was broken.”

Now this is a play on words in that Armstrong has a new team and sponsor (Radioshack) and Bruyneel will be going with him, but the team manager was in the following car of the American and not the race leader!

The front cover of AS today of course celebrates Bert's outstanding time trial.
The front cover of AS today of course celebrates Bert’s outstanding time trial.

Quotes from the riders:

Contador: “It’s an honour and I’m proud to be compared to Indurain. It’s disproportionate to compare me to Merckx, I don’t have his level of victories”.

Wiggins: “I gave all I had”.

Klöden: “I was near the podium”.

Frank Schleck: “On Ventoux there will be war”.

Andy Schleck: “I want my brother to be third”.

Astarloza: “I want to be in the top-ten”.

Cancellara: “I can’t win every time”.

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Bert doesn’t mind being compared to Indurain.

In Alberto’s village of Pinto the Town Hall had a special live showing of the time trial in the Cultural Centre. “Pinto animo al grito de “¡Armstrong, vete ya!” which translates to “Pinto (Home town of Contador) joins in with the cry “Armstrong, go now!”

Johan Bruyneel following Armstrong and not the yellow jersey in the time trial also did not go down well with the Spanish press. Contador had second in charge; Gallopin and Ekimov behind him in the team car. All this after talk of Bruyneel stopping the attack of Contador’s the other day on Le Colomiere. Armstrong and Bruyneel are off to Radioshack and Alberto isn’t in their plans.

Greg Lemond has been going on about Contador’s performance not being what it should be, watts out-put etc. This based on the calculations of an ex-doctor at Festina, I’ll say no more, as Armstrong said the other day “I’ll bite my tongue on the subject!”

So as the Tour organisers wanted, it looks like there will be action tomorrow on Mont Ventoux, my money is on Alberto!

Accion Mañana, Al.