Saturday, July 08, 2006
STAGE 7: SERGUEI WHAT? HUH? WHO?
Surprise...Serguei Gonchar of Ukraine won the ITT and now wears the Maillot Jaune. I did not recongize his name as a contender for this stage win, but those who know cycling well were less surprised. Gonchar is a former world time trial champion. Now the Urkrainian not only has a stage win, but the Yellow Jersey on his back for the time being.
Surprise...Floyd Landis is no fluke, no also-ran, no mere former Lance Armstrong teammate, no joke. His second-place finish in this stage confirms his intentions and capability to win this year's Tour de France.
Surprise...George Hincapie was 24th. George!? Come on, man. Help us here!
Surprise...Levi Leipheimer came in over six minutes down. His hopes for standing on the podium in Paris are in jeopardy. It will take a very surprising stage, which Levi is not known for, to get back in contention. Levi is a good climber, so he's not completely out of it. But this is not what he expected, certainly.
Surprise...T-Mobile riders showed themselves to be monsters in the time trial. Three in the top ten places. But which of them is the team leader?
BYE BYE, BOBBY. Bobby Julich crashed out today. The American once finished third in the Tour de France and was riding in strong support for his team this year. He's out with a broken wrist in a fall during the Individual Time Trial. Keep coming back, Bobby!
NO DOMINATORS. The ITT today demonstrated, if anything, that no one is dominating. It may also prove the Lemond and Armstrong strategy true: the balance of solid time trialing, mountain climbing, and team strategy will be needed to make the podium.