More Questions. Ahh the first mountain stage! You’ve just got to love the first chance to have a look at how everyone’s legs are going.
Last night showed that Frank has very good legs, Andy may not have legs that are quite so good, Cadel is in very good form, and crucially, Contador is currently not showing great form at all.
Of the bit-players, Robert Gesink, Christian Vandevelde, Andreas Kloden and Ryder Hesjedal are out of the running for the GC; Sammy Sanchez and Ivan Basso have — if not shot themselves up the likely podium finisher rankings — at the very least kept themselves in contention with strong showings.
The Frank and Andy show was in full swing late last night, with the standard one-two attack process happening. For the first time in a while, Cadel wasn’t just the mule dragging everyone else back to the various attacks made by the more explosive riders.
He held his nerve and let others cover some of the moves, and has minimised the damage that could have been inflicted. The interesting thing will be to see how he copes with similar shenanigans later in the race when there’s a lot more fatigue in his legs.
He needs to be relatively close to Frank to be able to overhaul him in the TT, and the Schlecks are well aware of this, and will throw everything at him on the coming big stages.
The questions that have arisen are:
- The Schlecks Black Bike
- More money for their bike company
- Superlight bikes
- Stealth paint so their opposition can’t see when they attack
- An engine.
Was Contador’s inability to respond even to the group that couldn’t respond to Frank due to his turbulent first week, or to a lack of steak in his diet? I think probably the tough first week is the issue there.
Will the Schlecks continue to push Frank’s cart, or will Andy (the better time trialler) still be the man to watch?
What is Contador’s next move? No-one (including Contador) is used to Alberto not being able to dictate what happens in the major races, so it will be interesting to see how both he, and his main competition move.
What’s going on with the black bikes for the Schlecks and white for the rest of Leopard Trek?
Two more Pyreneean stages (one of which will probably not stir up the gc) await, as well as a bunch of Alpine stages mean there’s plenty to still wait for. Very exciting!