Tuesday, July 11, 2006



CHARGE TO THE BASE OF THE MOUNTAINS. It was 170 kilometers of flatland--the perfect set-up for a bunch sprint finish. Chasing a mild breakaway, the peloton charged harder than some of the Yellow Jersey candidates would have liked. With two heart-breaking mountain stages looming on Wednesday and Thursday, the contenders might have preferred taking it slower. But challengers must be challenged, and so they were. The three were readily caught within the last 10 k and a ferocious bunch sprint ensued. Outcome: Oscar Freire barely edged Robbie McEwen. Once again, Tom Boonen was beaten; he finished fourth.


FREIRE'S SECOND STAGE WIN. This is Oscar Freire's second stage win of this year's Tour. Freire gained points on Tom Boonen, but is still in third place for the sprinting contest.

REAL RACE BEGINS TOMORROW. The Yellow Jersey standings remain the same. They could be shaken up tomorrow. In any case, the real race begins tomorrow. It's been years since there's been this much suspense about the outcome of the Tour de France. There are simply no foregone conclusions in the General Classification.

McEWEN IN CONTROL. McEwen increased his points lead over Boonen for the Green Jersey. Maybe this is one conclusion that can begin to be drawn: the Aussie is in charge of the sprint competition. It's his to lose.

FAST PACE. The pace of the peloton averaged over 47 kilometers per hour for this stage. Try that sometime...not for four hours, but for five minutes.

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