The overall standings in the General Classification remained unchanged today at the Tour de France with Luxembourg’s Frank Schleck holding on to the Yellow Jersey and a 7 second lead over second place Bernhard Kohl of Austria and an 8 second lead over Cadel Evans of Australia who holds down the third spot.
Today’s course was another challenging mountain stage running from Cuneo, Italy back to Jausiers in France. It was a 157 km (98 mile) ride up and over the Col de la Lombarde and Col de la Bonnette in the Alps, two uncategorized climbs that managed to test event the best climbers in the peloton. The ending was a fast and furious descent however, that had Cyril Dessel of France claiming the stage win, with Sandy Casar, also of France, and David Arroyo of Spain close behind in second and third place respectively.
Tomorrow brings yet another day in the Alps, and one that is expected to be the hardest day of the Tour in general. The 210.5 km (131 mile) 17th stage will have the riders racing from Embrun and ending up the famed L’Alpe-d’Huez, which has crushed many Tour dreams in the past. The man who comes out in front tomorrow will have just an individual time trial on Saturday standing between him and a victory cruise down the Champs Elysee on Sunday. Watch for the top GC riders to make their move tomorrow.
As far as the other jerseys go, the Green Jersey for the top sprinter currently belongs to Oscar Freire of Spain, who has a commanding lead in points, but will be pushed with two more flat, sprint stages to go. The Polka Dot Jersey belonging to the King of the Mountains sits on the shoulders of Bernard Kohl who will be in the thick of things once again tomorrow and isn’t likely to give up that jersey unless he’s putting on one that is yellow in color, in which case his teammate Sebastian Lang would gain that honor. Finally, the White Jersey for the top young rider belongs to Andy Schleck, the younger brother of the man in yellow.
Tomorrow should be especially exciting to watch. I think I can feel a sick day coming on so I can stay home to catch it live. Perhaps a bit of the “Tour Flu” or “Yellow Fever”. 😉
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