Another TDF is over and unlike last year it wasn’t as scandal hit, sure we said goodbye to Riccardo Ricco, Manual Beltran and Duenas Nevado (plus the entire Saunier Duval team) but we saw some good racing from the likes of Mark Cavendish (pity he couldn’t stick it out), Stefan Schumacher, Kim Kirchen and the Schleck brothers. In the end it all came down to 58 seconds and Carlos Sastre made it another Spanish win for the Tour de France, and I think he deserved it although I was very disappointed with Valverde and Menchov… I would have put Pereiro high as well but that awful crash put the end to his tour, same with Damiano Cunego.
A great tour for CSC who came away with the team prize and Slyvian Chavanel got most aggressive rider.
King of the Mountains
|1. Carlos Sastre 87h 52′ 52″||1. Oscar Freire 270pts||1. Bernhard Kohl 128pts||1. Andy Schleck 88h 04′ 24″|
|2. Cadel Evans +00′ 58″||2. Thor Hushovd 220pts||2. Carlos Sastre 80pts||2. Roman Kreuizger +01′ 27″|
|3. Bernhard Kohl +01′ 13″||3. Erik Zabel 217pts||3. Frank Schleck 80pts||3. Vincenzo Nibali +17′ 01″|
|4. Denis Menchov +02′ 10″||4. Leonardo Duque 181pts||4. Thomas Voeckler 65pts||4. Maxime Monfort +24′ 09″|
|5. Christian Vandvelde +03′ 05″||5. Kim Kirchen 155pts||5. Sebastian Lang 62pts||5. Eduardo Ramirez Gonzalo +1h 08′ 24″|
I’m afraid none of my predictions came true, I had Valverde down for overall win with Soler KoM and Hushovd for Green. I did have Sastre on the podium in second with Evans in third.
Highs & Lows?
Highs: Mark Cavendish’s stage wins (I wish he’d decided to stick it out) and Carlos Sastre’s mountain destroying technique to get the yellow jersey off Cadel Evans.
Lows: Riccardo Ricco’s positive drugs test, Valverde breaking in the mountains, Soler & Pereiro crashing out.
Predictions for Next Year?
We have another 12months to go and anything could happen but I think that Astana will be back, Contador and Kloden will prove to be big threats to Carlos Sastre’s defensive of the yellow jersey and Cadel Evans will have to attack to get a look in. I think that Valverde will be back in form and will finish in the top 5, I don’t think he could win next year but if Astana continue to be barred then he stands a good chance. Frank and Andy Schleck will be difficult to beat and Mark Cavendish will win a few stages before going home for a nice rest. Geraint Thomas (might not be as fast as Cavendish but a very good young rider) and Bradley Wiggins will be back and give us Brits something to cheer when Cavendish goes home.