Sore knees in the Pyrenees
Wiggins, VDB, Horner, Brajkovic, and Vino – Big names all out. Add to this other GC men such as Leipheimer, Kloden and Gesink who have been badly compromised and we are faced with an attritional, confusing Tour. Contador himself is complaining of sore knees and looking distinctly off colour when he has made the effort. So Evans is emerging as the strongman and perhaps the Schlecks can simply cruise onto the podium at this rate? In terms of challenging these three we must look to someone like Nico Roche stepping up or Sammy Sanchez proving to be in top form in the mountains. Maybe we should look a little under the radar? Cunego has quietly impressed me with his strong riding off the back off a very good Tour De Suisse. Peter Velits from HTC is another who has shown early glimpses of form. Also what of Basso? Woeful at the lead up and frequently off the back in the early days, he could be riding himself in steadily. Two of these men have won grand tours, all have been on the podium.
Amidst the chaos and crashes the green jersey continues to enthral. Gilbert is determined to take it but Rojas and Cavendish will push him all the way in very different ways. The weekend did provide some good racing with the French Fancies providing value in the form of Riblon (Super Besse) and Casar/Voeckler (St Flour).
A heartfelt “chapeau” to Juan Antonio Flecha (Norman Stanley) and Johnny Hoogerland after the crazy incident they found themselves part of. Hoogerland, already popular, will now have entered tour folklore.
For the Pyrennees. Back Sammy Sanchez. Consider David Moncoutie (Thursday is Bastille day after all) he has done nothing so far which makes me think he will try soon. Also a sneaking suspicion for Rigoberto Uran of Sky – he is trading about 50/1 for the mountain stages.
1pt e/w Sammy Sanchez 16/1 to win stage 12
1pt e/w David Moncoutie 25/1 to win stage 12