Tour de France '07 – Chablis Stage Bad for Vino'

Jul 12 2007

Another new day, another unique finish, and another unquantifiable sensation that this is shaping up to be one heck of a Tour. Stage 5 (which stared in Chablis) wrapped up with an uphill kick coming off a Cat 3 descent, that still managed a staggering 49mph burst at the line. Even in 53×11, that’s 130rpm, so I’m guessing stage winner Pozzato, who seems to have thought ahead, had equipped something a little bigger. Still, at those speeds, is it any wonder the autobus managed to lose ten minutes over the final 12k?

Yes, it’s amazing how hard 8 teams can power le Tour when there is suddenly a GC shake-up underway. Though it certainly wasn’t Alex Zulle on Passage du Gois, Vino’ probably ain’t so happy about his little tumble today; I think he should have seen it coming. These “taste of the mountains” stages have a way of utterly reshaping the race. The Kazakh should be more surprised that neither Kloden nor Kashechkin was sent back to help him – are seeds of doubt planted by wily rival Directeurs Sportif taking root in the Astana team car?

In other Tour news, numbers of sunburnt, Lance-Fan Americans (the cancer stick is really a nice touch) are apparently way down at this year’s race. While I’m hesitant to take the word of anyone who calls the drib-drab ’05 Tour the “ride of a lifetime”, I think the relative dearth of gawking Yankee Doodles could be a very good thing for the American image abroad. Why? Well, here’s an American wire story on yesterday’s tour stage. And then here’s an actual news story on the same. Who would you rather hike up Alpe d’Huez with – someone who’s read the first article, or someone who’s read the second?

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