Tuesday, January 18, 2022
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2009, Stage 4: Montpellier > Montpellier, 39km TTT

Le Tour de France 2009, Stage 4: Montpellier > Montpellier, 39km TTT

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Montpellier

The team time trial here in Montpellier, it’s beautiful; speed, strength, skill, trust, unity, honour — everything that makes pro bike racing special.

As my tele kindled up, there was big Den Menchov picking himself up off the tar — it was Rome all over again.

But this time he wasn’t picking himself up to finish in triumph just around the corner — it was only to continue the nightmare that is his 2009 Tour.

Montpellier
Rabobank aren’t having the best of Tours so far.
Montpellier
Tour 09 Stage 4 Map.
Montpellier
Tour 09 Stage 4 Profile.

Just minutes later, BBox raised a dust cloud as they put four men in the scenery — it was a dangerous course.

Montpellier
Thomas Voeckler and a few teammates got caught out on one tricky corner.

And a tough one, as I watched Katyusha spat men out the back.

Montpellier
Katyusha, 6th at 1’23”.

AG2R got round in one piece in respectable fashion but Silence’s day wasn’t the best; Charly Wegelius’s face told a story about how tough it was.

Montpellier
Cadel drove the Silence team hard.

Liquigas were classy, Pellizotti, Kreuziger, Nibali — all good riders and don’t forget that it was the men in green who nabbed the TTT in the Giro last year.

Garmin are rampant; Tyler Farrar ‘blows’ — I was supposed to be talking to him tonight; maybe leave my questions ‘til tomorrow, that man is hurting.

Pate has gone too, so has Maaskant and Dean — they’re down to five already; it’s death or glory with Brad looking hugely impressive.

Montpellier
The Garmin strongmen went so fast from the start they lost four riders early dors.

Lance nods and waves to the crowds at the start, practising for those gubernatorial walkabouts, no doubt.

He’s a magnet for cameras, a sponsor’s dream — but maybe not Spanish products.

Time check two and Garmin go top, just five of them but they’re on fire.

Montpellier
Cancellara and his Saxo Bank train.

Cancellara is leading from the front, he really is a bear of a man; but despite his huge spells at the front, Saxo are only third fastest, 15 down — could Lance be heading for yellow?

No, please, I can hear Viktor already!

Wiggins puts in a huge spell with Hesjedal unable to come through — the big Canadian is unde