Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti
The performance of Sylvain Chavanel to re-take the yellow jersey on Saturday’s stage to Station des Rousses was quite brilliant. A man who fractured his skull after crashing into a team car during Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Frenchman is showing that panache is alive and Gallic. The fight between Portugal’s Rui Alberto Costa and Spanish racer Carlos Barredo after this stage, which involved a carbon wheel, also showed us that the heat is really getting to some of the riders.
Now that Lance Armstrong is out of the running, perhaps the media can focus on who might actually win the Tour. Will the Texan now become a super domestique for the remainder of the race? It’s hard to imagine. One TV commentator asserted in Sunday’s coverage that Armstrong was a great descender and may be able to claw back time on the way down the Col de la Ramaz. The descent is long, straight and very, very fast. Armstrong was never going to make up ground without corners. If you are ever in the Morzine area tick off the Ramaz as well as its more famous neighbour, the Joux Plane (where Armstrong had another disastrous day in 2000).
Stage 8 belonged to others, particularly Andy Schleck who made his mark with some very cool climbing. With the world champ in yellow and several talented riders breathing down his neck, we are in for another fortnight of drama with the thrills, spills and attacking racing look set to continue. Vive Le Tour!
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