Dauphine Wrap, Suisse Surprises

Jun 18 2007

Ok, I’m back from what should be my last weekend departure for some time. I missed talking about a “surprise” overall win from Christophe Moreau at the Dauphine – though it’s not all that surprising, since he was right up there last year, too. I suppose I could also talk about the “surprise” performances of Alexandre Vinokourov, who dominated the TT, ushered a teammate to a win, and secured another for himself, all while still dropping bucketloads of time in the high mountains.

So what’s the cause of this roller-coaster performance? Out of form? Dogging it to save legs for the Tour? Mind games with the rivals? Just froze some blood? Vino says nothing’s wrong, but the sudden alteration to his post-Dauphine plan says otherwise. At any rate, the Dauphine’s always been a bluffer’s game, and with teammate Tom Danielson officially out for this year’s TdF, I’m not surprised that Levi Leipheimer’s alleged “stomach problems” were less apparent than you might expect.

No, if you really want TdF tune-up surprises, just head across the alps to Switzerland. First surprise – Team Lampre’s sprinter Daniele Bennati taking second in the Stage 1 time trial. Second surprise – Stage 1 winner and World Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara battling through for 3rd in the group sprint in Stage 2. That’s Robbie-freaking-McEwen sitting at least a bike length back and looking despondent. I suppose for today’s stage, we should expect Rocket Robbie to tear away in the final, stagger inducing pitches before just getting pipped on the line by stage favorite Damiano Cunego.

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