We’re knee deep in the Tour de France and as expected the first week is revealing cracks in some teams’ armor. Defending champion* Alberto Contador, through a run of bad luck and/or bad karma, is already 1:30 minutes behind his main rival Andy Schleck of Leopard-Trek. The Spaniard isn’t the only one behind the eight-ball. Ivan Basso, Italy’s Golden Boy, is also 1:03 minutes behind race leader Thor Hushovd. His form has been suspect since his lackluster result in the Criterium Dauphine, finishing in 26th place. For those keeping score at home, Bradley Wiggins won the overall, with Cadel Evans in second.
While a few of the top favorites are already scratching their heads wondering how and why they ended up in this predicament at least they didn’t have the kind of crash that dark-horse favorite Jani Brajkovic suffered. He crashed out in stage 4 with a concussion and a broken collarbone. It’s always terrible to see a contender, or anyone for that matter, end their race in an ambulance.
The flat stages are almost behind us and we are finally looking at the first real indicator of who are the true contenders in this year’s Tour de France. Andy Schleck is still nicely positioned on the general classification. For Contador the upcoming mountains are now a place where he needs to grab back time. He cannot wait for the final week to pounce. His return to the top end of the GC must start this weekend. The peloton will have one eye on Contador. That was evident in stage 5 when in the last three kilometers his surge for the line was nullified by his rivals who don’t want him to gain back a single second. Contador has his work cut out for him this weekend to get back to equal footing with the rest of the top GC contenders.
Stretch your typing fingers, our TourChats start back up on Saturday at 8AM EDT and continue every stage for the rest of the Tour. Join our online roadside parties for every stage or pop in whenever you can.
- Sat July 9 – Stage 8 – Sponsored by @JulieHarden
- Sun July 10 – Stage 9 – Sponsored by @Cyclismas
- Tue July 12 – Stage 10 – Sponsored by TotalCyclist and Carolina Cycling News
- Wed July 13 – Stage 11 – Sponsored by Cycling Fans
- Thu July 14 – Stage 12 – Sponsored by Athlete’s Audio
- Fri July 15 – Stage 13 – Sponsored by @J_Tubb
- Sat July 16 – Stage 14 – Sponsored by @BGreene1
Week 3 – Sponsored by The Sufferfest
- Sun July 17 – Stage 15
- Tue July 19 – Stage 16
- Wed July 20 – Stage 17
- Thu July 21 – Stage 18 – Sponsored by Warpia
- Fri July 22 – Stage 19 – Sponsored by Carrie Cheadle, M.A., Sport & Exercise Mental Skills Coach
- Sat July 23 – Stage 20 – Sponsored by @J_Tubb
- Sun July 24 – Stage 21 – Sponsored by Pedal Chic