Baby faced youngster Linus Gerdemann, the anti-doping cheerleader, took an impressive win today. After being involved in a breakaway for much of the day, Lovely Linus attacked his group and soloed over the last kilometers of the Colombiere and battled bravely on for the solo win in his first ever Tour. At a mere 24 years old, he slips into the yellow jersey of race leader and also holds the white jersey of the best young rider.
The Banged-up Boys, Kloden and Vinokourov, soldiered on bravely through the obvious pain. Both finished safely in the pack with the main GC contenders. All in all, almost all of the GC contenders seemed to be biding their time and riding very conservatively. Though it was Bastille Day, none of the French riders seemed to be up for the fight today. National champion Moreau rode safely in the GC pack and kept out of trouble, rather than going for the win or flying the tri-color jersey for the French fans along the route. He's obviously planning to be in the fight when it really matters.
Tomorrow is a day where it really matters. The stage rolls through many painful climbs, concluding with three category 1 climbs in succession. The stage finishes on the tough slopes of the Monte de Tignes... and should prove to be a very decisive day for the GC contenders. Either a group of non-contenders will be allowed to spend the day out front, or the GC contedners feeling good will try to shatter the other riders. My prediction? Dang, I really don't know... but I'm gonna go way out on a limb and say that Leipheimer might take a stab at things- whether for the win or just to get time on the other GC riders. Outside of Levi, I'm gonna go with Haimar Zubeldia. Levi may want to show he's the same rider who won the Tour of California and Zubeldia could be the only hope that Euskaltel-Euskadi has of getting a stage win.
We'll see what the Squirrel and BK have to say about things...
The Tour said au revoir to Oscar Freire. The fragile Spanish sprinter had been very close to getting a stage win this year, but his butt was not in the mood... his subcutaneous cyst has returned and got him... in the end.
Tomorrow could be a very big day; we'll see what happens on the slopes of the Alps. (Maybe even Rasmussen will take a shot at things.)