Sylvain Chavanel solos to victory after a major crash on the decent of the Aissomont slowed the charging peloton. Chavanel claimed the coveted yellow jersey from Fabian Cancellara and is likely to wear it until the riders hit the Alps this weekend.
Heavy rains pelted the riders as they hit the final three climbs of the day. The slick roads were the cause of the crash on the decent of the Aissomont which claimed several general classification contenders including: Christian Vande Velde, Frank Schleck, Andy Schleck, George Hincapie and several others.
Former race leader Fabian Cancellara flexed his influence over the peloton and essentially neutralized the finish with the majority of the riders finishing together. Armstrong, Contador, and most of the other GC favorites finished safely in the pack.
It remains to be seen whether race officials will agree to neutralize the times or eliminate riders for not finishing in the allotted time as riders continued to pour across the line some 20 minutes after the leader finished. Upon finishing, American Levi Leipheimer was interviewed by Versus and commented “that we were racing on goat paths – apparently the race organizers like to see us bleed.”
The race for the general classification was largely unchanged other than Chavanel moving into the top spot causing the others in the top 10 to slide down a spot.
Hopefully tomorrow’s race over the cobbles will provide the fireworks that are expected since today’s stage fizzled in the rain.
See you tomorrow…
For more great Tour analysis, visit my good friend Tim Liew @ The Armchair Sportsfan.