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Le Tour de France 2009 – First Rest Day

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Montpellier

‘Armstrong admits “there is tension at Astana’s table” – says The Guardian headline today in it’s coverage of the Le Tour de France 2009; I’d never have believed that!

I bought L’Équipe today – it was Friday’s, but what the heck?

The front page ignored the then yellow jersey, Cancellara, and concentrated on the favourites: Armstrong on the same second as Fabian; Contador at 00:19; A Schleck at 1:41; Sastre at 2:44 and Evans at 2:59.

Le Tour de France 2009
Bert goes “against the plan” according to LA.

It just goes to show – apart from Bert stretching his legs to gain time up Arcalis on Friday – how little happened over those three days in the Pyrenees.

Albeit we had good stage winners and exciting finales.

The gaps are now: Contador at 00:06 on Nocentini; Armstrong at 00:08; Schleck at 1:49; Sastre at 2:52 and Evans at 3:07.

Like Lance said before the start and Brian Smith said to me when I interviewed him for Pez the other day; “it’s all about that last week!”

Le Tour de France 2009
Charley knows the score.
Le Tour de France 2009
Friday’s edition.

I was fortunate enough to get a chat with Charly Wegelius tonight and he described the Pyrenees as “shadow boxing,” and endorsed that it is indeed, ‘all about the last week.’

I guess on the one hand that the organisers want to build suspense to the finale on the Ventoux; but if that means days of negative racing in the meantime, well…

Charly also said that this week has a lot of stages which according to the press and the stage guides are “sprinters stages” but which are actually very tough.

I remember at the Giro, on Sardinia, two years ago, Dave and I drove a “sprinters stage” – eventually won by McEwen.

The thing that amazed us was that there was a damned big mountain in the middle of the thing!

Anyway, time for bed – only three sleeps ’till Martin and I are at le Tour!

Ed Hood and Martin Williamson
Ed and Martin, our top team! They try to do the local Time Trials, the Grand Tours and the Classics together to get the great stories written, the quality photos taken, the driving done and the wifi wrestled with.

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