2011 Tour de France-Stage 4

5 Jul

Today’s stage was initially billed as a stage for the sprinters – not hardly – except for one that is.

Yellow jersey wearer, Thor Hushovd, managed to stay with the likes of Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, Alexander Vinokourav and other great climbers, up a short but steep climb at the finish to defend and keep the maillot jaune.

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Hushovd rides with such grit and determination!  He is a good climber in his own right, especially for the type of climb at the conclusion of Stage 4.  And, as is often noted, when you wear the yellow jersey you’re able to dig just a little deeper to keep it. Hushovd certainly proved that today. What a ride!

Congratulations to Evans, narrowly beating Contador at the line and taking his first ever stage win (his other stage win was a result of a disqualification of a rider).

It’s also good he didn’t take the yellow jersey (he is still just 1 second away).  It’s too soon, too much pressure (and he doesn’t do well under pressure) and would require too many team resources being used to defend it.

With Hushovd of Garmin-Cervelo keeping the yellow jersey, it actually is a good thing for the contenders for overall top standing in the GC. Hushovd isn’t a contender for the Tour championship, no one else on Garmin-Cervelo is in position to contend so the yellow jersey is safe with them. It reminds me a little of 2004 when Thomas Voeckler, known then as “little Tommy Voeckler” kept the yellow jersey for 10 days, while Lance Armstrong waited until the time was right to take it and keep it. 

Getting the yellow jersey is hard, but keeping it is harder.

With a team like Garmin-Cervelo having the yellow jersey, it allows the true contenders to bide their time until after week one when we start to get in to the serious mountain stages.  That’s when the real hunt for the yellow will begin in earnest.

No shortage of action or excitement in these early stages though, that’s for sure.


Tour de France Fantasy Challenge 

I am one lousy team director, or sportif, as they are called in France. Today the 4loveofbikes team picked up 66 points (from Phillippe Gilbert, thought he would get me 200 as the stage winner) but left (she said with profound embarrassment) 82 (Vino) and 30 (Bradley Wiggins) points on the bench. Didn’t realize the stage would finish with a Category 3 climb (read the Primer if you don’t know what that means) since it was billed as a sprinter’s stage I had my sprinters on the start team and my GC guys on the bench. Fail.

I need a primer for the Fantasy Challenge evidently.

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