2011 Tour de France-Stage 16

19 Jul

Lots of excitement today, possibly the most exciting stage yet in terms of racing among the favorites.

Defending champion, Alberto Contador, decided to use the stage to gain time on Andy and Frank Schleck. It worked, he gained 1:06 on Andy Schleck and :18 on Frank (currently in 3rd at 1:49) and the Yellow Jersey wearer, Thomas Voeckler.

When Contador attacked Cadel Evans, currently in 2nd place, 1:45 behind Voeckler, Evans followed as did Sammy Sanchez (currently in 5th at 3:26). Evans overtook Contador and Sanchez in a nail-biting descent. He also showed his bike handling skill and nerves of steel when he bombed down towards the finish. He finished 3 seconds ahead of Contador and Sanchez.

When Voeckler crossed the finish line in the group with Frank Schleck you could see him look around for Andy. Andy Schleck wouldn’t come in for awhile, finishing 35th in the stage.

If you’ve been reading my posts, and I’m not sure anyone actually does, then you know I’ve had Andy pegged as not in good enough form to win the Tour this year. Further, his attacks are high in quantity and low in quality to separate him from the GC favorites. Or, at least that’s what we saw on Plateau de Beille.

Voeckler couldn’t keep up with Evans, Contador and Schleck but he minimized his losses to the two and maintained his time on the others. He raced within himself, knowing the toughest days are ahead. Just exactly what a smart bike rider does, especially when they are in Yellow.

Every stage my admiration and fondness for Voeckler grows. There is no one tougher in this year’s Tour. I will be a sad fan if and when he loses the Yellow, but I expect it will happen. My goal is to see him on the podium. I imagine it’s his goal too.

Last, but certainly not least, Thor Hushovd, truly the God of Thunder, won the stage!  His second this Tour! Excellent Tour for Garmin-Cervelo this year!

Can’t wait to see what unfolds in Stage 17. Vive le Tour!


Tour de France Fantasy Cycling Challenge

For the Love of Bikes team (4loveofbikes) had a decent day and scored 148 points in Stage 16 thanks to Ryder Hesjedal (82), Thomas Voeckler (50) and Phillippe Gilbert (16).

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