Tour 2008: Stage 4 – Time Trial #1

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Today in the Tour de France riders competed in the first individual time trial of the year, with German Stefan Schumacher coming out on top and taking the Yellow Jersey away from Frenchman Romain Feillu, who wore it for just one day. (Imagine that! A german named Schumacher who goes really fast!)

The 29.5km (18 mile) time trial wound it’s way through the village of Cholet with the top riders finishing the course in just over 35 minutes. Kim Kirchen, of Luxembourg finished in second and David Miller of the U.K. was third. Kirchen added more points to his total to increase his lead in that category, keeping the Green Jersey on his back for the foreseeable future.

Tomorrow is another fast and flat stage, running 232 km (144 miles) from Cholet to Châteauroux. That stage will be the last big day for the sprinters to gain points, as the sixth stage moves into the first mountain regions, giving way to the climbers and the battle for the Polka Dot Jersey.

Stage Six will likely give us the first indications of who will be hanging around in the General Classification and which riders are the real threat to win this year’s race. At this point, it’s still very wide open, and there are a number of good young riders who have a shot at winning the Tour.

On a side note, as usual, I’ve been enjoying the coverage from Versus, although Al Trautwig is missed. They’ve been running a series of promos for the race with the focus on the sport getting back on track and putting the doping scandals of the past two years behind them. They’re excellent spots if you haven’t seen them, and they do a great job of conveying the message.

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