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Le Tour de France 2010, Stage 16: Bagneres-de-Luchon – Pau; Bbox 2 In A Row

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Today was a good day, we took in all five cols of the stage, starting in Bagneres-de-Luchon – it only adds to your respect for the pros when you see what they have to deal with. The gruppo was travelling at funereal speed, 30 minutes down when it passed us near the top of the Aubisque.

Bagneres-de-Luchon
If Fab and Stuarty are on the front on a mountain pass, it’s pianissimo.

Cav was surrounded by ‘minders’ near the back whilst Ale Jet was just off the back, but he looked OK, probably just back at the car.

Big Thor however, was with the maillot jaune group and scooped the points for tenth at Pau – respect.

Bagneres-de-Luchon
Thor hung in over the high passes.

The paradox though, is that Thor’s ability to pull of a move like that means he can’t have the ultimate top end speed to see off Cav and Ale Jet.

We predict two more wins for Cav and the Maillot vert for Ale Jet.

There was obviously a GC truce, yesterday – endorsed by aforementioned chunky Norwegian’s presence.

Bagneres-de-Luchon
The heads take a day off.

It’s really all down to the day after tomorrow’s Rest Day for Schleck, if he can’t distance Contador – which we don’t think he can – then the Spaniard will beat him in the Bordeaux TT.

And it’s not inconceivable that Schleck will lose second place – Big Denis Menchov built his 2009 Giro win on his power against the watch.

As far as stage wins go, we like (Viktor won’t!) that there have been six French stage wins, it’s good for the race and means the Tour gets full front pages in L’Equipe – always a good thing.

Fédrigo isn’t a bad rider, pro since 2000, this is his third Tour stage (2006 & 2009), he’s been French champion (2005) and won the Four Days of Dunkirk the same year; he’s also won at Plouay in 2008 – not an easy race to win.

Bagneres-de-Luchon
Fedrigo is building a good record in the Tour.

This has been a good year for him; he took the Criterium International, this year – another race Vik hates.

L’Equipe doesn’t go much for Bert and Andy’s ‘réconciliation’, giving it 1/10 and likening the two of them to kids.

It’s the rest day tomorrow, and: we’ll be: passing through Lourdes, en route Pau and a meeting with Orbea about their new TT bike; then an interview with Brian Vandborg (Denmark & Liquigas) then Matt Lloyd (Australia & Lotto) then Michael Barry (Canada & Sky) – busy boys.

A demain.

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Bagneres-de-Luchon – Gallery

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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