The 2010 Tour de France reached the halfway point today, and after a grueling couple of days in the Alps, things calmed down somewhat, allowing the sprinters to take center stage once again. The 179 km (111 mile) route ran from Chambéry to Gap and featured a single Category 1, 2, and 3 climb, along with some fast descents to keep the riders on their toes.
At the end of the day, Radioshack rider Sergio Paulinho edged out Vasil Kiryienka at the line to claim the stage victory, the first of his career. It was a nice lift for Team Radioshack who had its expectations lowered on Sunday when their leader, Lance Armstrong, went down in a crash and never recovered. Armstrong, who was one of the GC contenders, lost more than 11 minutes on the leaders, and hasn’t raced the same sense.
The overall standing remain largely unchanged today with Andy Schleck still in the Yellow Jersey and likely to stay there at least until the Pyrenees. Alberto Contador is in second place, 41 seconds back, and will try to test Schleck on the mountains beginning this weekend. Thor Hushovd is wearing the Green Jersey representing the top sprinter while Jérôme Pineau climbed back into the Polka Dot Jersey after earning some King of the Mountain points today. Robert Gesink is in the White Jersey, on loan from Andy Schleck, as the best young rider in the Tour.
Tomorrow the peloton will face another fast stage, with it mostly being a flat run from Sisteron to Bourg-lès-Valence covering 184.5 km (114.6 miles). The stage will once again let the big sprinters, like Thor, Cavendish, and Harrar duke it out for the stage win, and those all important points for the Green Jersey.
Finally, hats off to Cadel Evans, who I mentioned yesterday might have been having a mid-Tour meltdown yesterday. Turns out Cadel broke his elbow in a crash on Sunday, and that was causing him all kinds of problems while trying to defend the Yellow Jersey. Cadel will continue to ride in this year’s race as long as he can, but he definitely was suffering yesterday. Hopefully he’ll be on the mend soon. Hang in there mate!
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