20 July 2007

Time (trial) to start focusing on Top Ten!!

With the time trial ahead, the Tour has now become a race that Rasmussen can only lose. Some great names (and great climbers) are in the top ten right now. All Rasmussen has to do is hang on.

You realize that I hope he stops to sign autographs during tomorrow's stage and lets Levi up into second place. C'est la vie.

Here's the top ten after Stage 12...

1 058 RASMUSSEN, Michael
2 018 VALVERDE, Alejandro 00:02:35.000
3 207 MAYO, Iban ESP 00:02:39.000
4 041 EVANS, Cadel AUS 00:02:41.000
5 112 CONTADOR, Alberto 00:03:08.000
6 031 SASTRE, Carlos ESP 00:03:39.000
7 196 KLÖDEN, Andréas 00:03:50.000
8 111 LEIPHEIMER, Levi 00:03:53.000
9 027 KIRCHEN, Kim 00:05:06.000

Of these guys, I can see any of the top eight spots winning this race. Smart money might go with Cadel Evans or Levi Leipheimer. Cagey money would pick Kloden or Mayo. And it will probably just be Valverde by two minutes in Paris on July 29.

Riders Remaining

According to a race fan, one of her favorite riders (David Zabriskie) hasn't been seen or heard from recently. She wanted to know why.

Well, ma'am, that's because Zabriskie is now OUT of the Tour. He finished outside of the time allowance in stage 11 and therefore cannot continue.

I don't know what the exact formula is, but if the leaders in a stage finish at XX, then you must finish within XX% of that finishing time or you're out.

For example, if the stage took riders five hours to finish, then you might get a 10% time allotment. That would mean that anyone who finishes at 05:50:01 and later is OUT OUT OUT.

By the way, here's the list of countries with riders remaining. The count is down to 167 (this was current as of the start of today's Stage 12.

The 167 riders remaining in the 2007 Tour de France represent 26 countries.
The breakdown is:
36 – Spain. Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (AGR) abandoned during stage one after a crash; Xabier Zandio (GCE) abandoned during stage four because of injuries sustained in a crash in stage one. Oscar Freire (RAB) and Rubens Lobato (SDV) didn’t start stage seven. Igor Anton (EUS) abandoned during stage 11.
31 – France. Remy Di Gregorio (FDJ) didn’t start stage five after fracturing his elbow in a fall early in stage four. Geoffroy Lequartre (COF) didn’t start stage six after being caught up in a crash in stage five. Romain Feillu (AGR) abandoned during stage eight. Cedric Herve (AGR) finished outside the time limit in stage eight. Sylvain Calzati (A2R) abandoned during stage 11.
18 – Germany. Patrick Sinkewitz (TMO) didn’t start stage nine.
15 – Italy. Enrico Degano (BAR) abandoned during stage seven. Danilo Napolitano (LAM) finished outside the time limit in stage eight. Alberto Ongarato (MRM) crashed at the stage of stage 12 and abandoned shortly afterwards.
13 – Belgium
7 – The Netherlands
6 –Russia
5 – Switzerland and USA. Dave Zabriskie (CSC) finished outside the time limit in stage 11.
4 – Kazakhstan, Great Britain. Mark Cavendish (TMO) abandoned during stage eight.
3 – Austria.
2 – Belarus, Luxembourg, Norway, Ukraine, Australia and Colombia. Brett Lancaster (MRM) abandoned during the fifth stage. Michael Rogers (TMO) abandoned during stage eight after crashing and dislocating his right shoulder. Stuart O’Grady (CSC) abandoned during stage eight after crashing and breaking five ribs, dislocating his AC joint and sustaining numerous other injuries. Robbie McEwen (PRL) finished outside the time limit in stage eight. Ivan Parra (COF) abandoned during stage eight.
1 – South Africa, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden
Lithuania had one representative but Thomas Vaitkus didn’t start stage three because of a broken thumb sustained in a crash at the end of stage two.

Speed during the sprint

Tom Boonen got his bike going 65.21KMH during the final sprint today. Not too shabby!

SPOILER - Stage 12

More to come later, but as I sit in my Paris apartment watching Eurosport's coverage of the Tour de France, I wanted to impart my excitement and absolute chills after watching the end of Stage 12.

Tom Boonen = Superman, wins the stage and brings to six the number of wins he's got in the TDF.

Erik Zabel took second and Robbie Hunter - winner of Stage 11 - took third.

Rasmussen is still in the lead, Levi Leipheimer is in 8th position.