It couldn’t go on like that. Men can only ‘death race’ for so long and then they need a ‘blaw.’ Today, on the stage out of Chambery, they took the chance to lean on their shovels and left the minnows to grab the glory. I really didn’t expect to see the finalé but when the box kindled up, there it was – with 12 K to go and a race average of 34 kph.

Paulinho; I remember him for his Olympic silver in the 2004, behind Bettini.

Chambery
Paulinho, Bettini and Merckx atop the Olympic Podium, six years ago.

But prior to that he had solid palmares; a bronze in the U23 Worlds TT and a Portuguese elite TT title as well as Volta a Portugal stages.

Since the Olympics he’s added a Vuelta stage (2006), another Portuguese TT title (2008) and was in the victorious Astana TTT squad in last year’s Tour – but he’s best known as being a rock solid domestique.

‘Lance don’t employ no cissies, boy!’

A move that caught my eye today was Nicolas Roche’s scarpering to snaffle back time and move up the GC – it matters to that laddie.

Ivan clued us in today on what Bruyneel is saying about the race; Alberto or Andy Schleck to win, no one else; Jurgen Van Den Broeck is good; Basso and Kreuziger are toiling; Menchov and Leipheimer are the other podium candidates; LA is better, Sanchez is good, Evans merits praise for his courage and Gesink is the future hope – no other names are mentioned.

‘Wiggins, bye-bye podium’ says the headline in Monday’s L’Equipe; and that was Sunday’s performance they were talking about, never mind Tuesday’s.

Chambery
Wiggins: Bye Bye Podium.

They don’t mince their words, or mess about when rating riders – Schleck’s Sunday performance got him 9/10, Cadel 7/10, Bert 5/10, Bradley 3/10 and Lance 1/10 – how are the mighty fallen.

Chambery
Armstrong: Mon Tour Est Fini.

The sprinters come back out of the wings tomorrow, albeit Cav did something unusual for him, today – he sprinted for a minor placing to nab points.

He’s still carrying that green jersey dream, then.

A demain.