how to lead off....
....Don't call it a comeback/stick a fork in Vino/Astana asplode?
....and then there were 2?
The first stage of the Pyrenees definitely offered some excitement and I am kicking myself that I couldn't get somewhere to watch it but was instead stuck with the audio and text feeds (better than nothing I suppose).
The Plateau de Beille has played kingmaker or at least king confirmer in it's previous appearances in the tour with Armstrong and Pantani the only rides to win atop it, but today it looked like a break populated by spanish riders hoping for a win close to home would provide the winner as Astana's Antonio Colom held on until on 6.8km to the finish.
Meanwhile the race to replace continued today-the race to replace Levi that is. Once again Contador was the man to watch as he was part of the game of cat and mouse that went on in the final group that was eventually whittled down to only Rasmussen, Evans, Sastre, Contador, Leipheimer and Soler. This group was itself whittled down to just the men in white and yellow with Contador accelerating away in the final 300m for the stage win.
Will this stage continue as kingmaker? Did Contador or Rasmussen push too hard today? We may find out tomorrow with another brutal day of climbing ahead.
the updated GC looks something like this:
General Classification After Stage 14
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 64.12.15
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.23
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 3.04
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 4.29
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 4.38
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 5.50
7 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana 6.58
8 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 8.25
9 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 9.45
10 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 10.55