well being out of town I fell a little behind in my Tour updates but today's a perfect time to catch up and recap.
so on to stage 5:
well first I may be done trying to predict as I was completely off. I really thought that Valverde might flex a little even if he didn't try to win, but no. In the end it was typical of the previous stages this year and a break got away and was pulled back in time for another unorganized sprint finish with Filippo Pozzato taking the stage win. The big news however had to be Vino crashing hard AND Kloden crashing.
Well what more can I say except I finally was able to watch a stage of the tour and who wins? That's right Tornado Tom. I only caught about the last hour, but Bradley Wiggins had an awesome solo break that went for almost all of the stage. IN the end it didn't look like Boonen had a chance as the Quickstep train seemed to be having problems getting together but Boonen didn't let that stop him. The man who has been criticized for not being able to produce in the more chaotic sprints did just that. It looked like 100m or so he was cut off and had to break but he cut back inside and took the win and the green jersey back. Awesome.
I was also able to watch the first mountain stage of the tour and it was another great day to watch some cycling. Linus Gerdeman held his own in a break that you expected him to be dropped from and instead after bridging up to an attack from the leading group he took off like it was nothing on the final climb of the day. After getting to the top in front of a fast pursuing LAndaluze, Gerdeman just bombed down the descent and took the stage and the yellow jersey. Awesome stuff. In other news all the favorites kept pretty much together making it look like most are waiting for the Pyrenees.
One word Rasmussen or do you prefer Chicken. Once again proving his mettle in the mountains, Michael Rasmussen owned this stage taking over both the climbing and the yellow jersey. Gerdeman gave a respectable ride to try and keep the yellow but to no avail. In other parts of the peloton, Christophe Moreau was attack after attack out of a small gruppo with Cadel Evans, Valverde, Iban Mayo, and Fränk Schleck but he couldn't seem to get away. Meanwhile Iban Mayo was able to escape and finish second ahead on the stage. Perhaps the biggest news was Michael Rogers crashing out of the tour from the breakaway. the way he was riding he wouldn't have caught chicken but probably would have gotten the yellow jersey.
Also Stuart O'Grady had a frightening crash with reports he broke several ribs, punchered a lung, broke his collarbone and shoulder blade as well as several vertebrae. Sounds like he is doing ok in the hospital and is in good spirits. Hopefully he will have a quick recovery.
I have to say it was surprising that Levi didn't do more to distance himself from Vino but instead is "waiting" for the Pyrenees. He should be attacking while Vino is hurt but maybe he really couldn't. In other Vino news, Kloden should have left him behind but apparently is loyal enough not to. too bad for him.
Finally, I have to say massive props go out to Robbie McEwen. I have felt that despite being incredibly talented he is also incredibly cocky, and thus haven't been a big fan of his. However I have a whole new respect for him after this tour. First he crashes on stage 1 and then just destroys the rest of the sprinters to win the stage and then in stage 8 even though he knew he couldn't finish the stage in the time limit, he still refused to abandon.
The tour is really starting to seem wide open and more exciting than it has been for years, so I will make a prediciton for Tuesday. I see Moreau attacking again and maybe holding out for the win, but Rasmussen will hold the jersey for another day.
So there you have it.
General classification after stage 8
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 39.37.42
2 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) T-Mobile Team 0.43
3 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 2.39
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 2.51
5 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana 2.52
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 2.53
7 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 3.06
8 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.10
9 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 3.14
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 147 pts
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 134
3 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld 103
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 101
5 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 97