Saturday’s Stage 7 proved to be anticlimactic as Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, and the other General Classification contenders played their cards close to their vest’s in anticipation of the drama that is sure to unfold on the slopes of Morzine tomorrow. The select group of favorites finished 1:47 down on Sylvain Chavanel who attacked out of the group and soloed to victory taking his second stage of this year’s Tour.
Chavanel moves back into yellow as race leader Fabian Cancellara finished more than 14 minutes in arrears. The overall GC began to sort itself out as Cadel Evans moves into second, and a suprising Ryder Hesjedal riding for Garmin Transition finds himself in third.
Tomorrow’s stage 8 should provide further clarity to the General Classification with five categorized climbs. The fireworks are sure to begin on the slopes of the Col de la Ramaz which is 20 kilometers of suffering, followed by the Les Gets, and culminating with Morzine.
Look for Alberto Contador to throw down the gauntlet aided by his teammate and super domestique Alexander Vinokourov. It will certainly be exciting to see how Andy Schleck responds without his brother Frank’s aid, and if Cadel Evans is ready to respond to the challenge. Moreover, how will Armstrong, who is sure to be protected by his own super domestiques, Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer respond? The Armstrong of old would have had those to ride themselves into oblivion and then put in a devastating attack himself. Does he have any of that magic left in his legs?
We’ll know in less than 24 hours…
The GC after stage 7:
|1||Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step||33:01:23|
|2||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||0:01:25|
|3||Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Transitions||0:01:32|
|4||Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank||0:01:55|
|5||Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana||0:02:17|
|6||Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana||0:02:26|
|7||Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto||0:02:28|
|8||Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale|
|9||Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin – Transitions||0:02:33|
|10||Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank||0:02:35|
|11||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team|
|12||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo||0:03:10|
|13||Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne||0:03:11|
|14||Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack||0:03:16|
|15||Thomas Löfkvist (Swe) Sky Professional Cycling Team||0:03:20|
|16||Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Footon-Servetto||0:03:39|
|17||Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack|
|18||Juan Manuel Gárate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank||0:03:44|
|19||Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team Radioshack||0:03:46|
|20||Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC – Columbia|
For more great Tour analysis, visit my good friend Tim Liew @ The Armchair Sportsfan.