The Major Players
The Boss. After the first mountain range, a time trial and some tactical smarts Lance has confirmed that he is up for the challenge and will tackle Contador. The question is whether he can keep up with the young guns on Ventoux and limit his losses in the time trial.
Alberto Contador. On amazing form if not for a tactical error on stage three would be in yellow and dominating. His attack on the road to Arcalis clawed back some valuable time for the Spainard over Lance and silenced the doubters. He will try to gain yellow in the Alps if not expect a showdown in the time trial and on Ventoux.
Andy Schleck. As expected has lost time in the individual and team time trials. Will attack on stage 17 in the alps with three category 1 climbs or leave it all till Ventoux. If he can attack on Ventoux there will be a huge battle.
Cadel Evans. Out of contention in my books. Lost to much time from Astana in the TTT. In reality he can't drop Contador nor Schleck in the mountains. Is likely to lose time in the stage 18 time trial.
Carlos Sastre has stayed quiet and with Astana around he wouldn't be able to achieve the victory like last year.
Stage by Stage
Stage 1 ITT
Stage 1 saw Fabian Cancellara annihilate everybody in the time trial managing to inflict 20 seconds into Alberto Contador. Contador was amazing on the first uphill part of the course beating Fabian by five seconds in an impressive however he couldn't maintain his advantage. Although an improved time trialler he can't do what Lance used to do in the time trials.
Today was always going to be a sprint finish and we saw Cav and the Columbia team achieve sprint perfection. They managed to break away from the peleton in the final lead out. Cavendish proved who is the fastest man in the world in an impressive manner and Columbia team showed that their team meant business.
In a stage with huge crosswinds we saw the Columbia team ride off the front in a group of thirty leaving most of the main favourites behind. Of the GC riders only Lance managed to make the break. Cavendish and team Columbia again proved the goods with their second consecutive stage victory. The group ended up finishing thirty seconds ahead rearranging the GC with Lance moving to third ahead of his teammate Alberto Contador.
Stage 4 TTT
This stage saw Fabian Cancellara hold onto his jersey with only .22 of a second to spare. The Astana team proved the goods with an impressive performance dominating all their rivals. Cadel Evans fell out of the race losing two and a half minutes to team Astana.
Today we saw a breakaway go clear and Thomas Vockler added a stage win to his yellow jersey. Thomas Vockler couldn't contain himself and in the end only winning by seven seconds.
In a stage into Barcelona Thor Hushovd was the good in a uphill finish not suiting Mark Cavendish. The peleton only regrouped in the last kilometre after an attack by David Millar. The roads were wet and Micheal Roger's tour was ended after losing 14 minutes after a crash.
In the first mountain stage up to Arcalis a break got clear and Brice Feillu claimed the victory on top Arcalis. Behind however Contador attacked his rivals to gain 20 seconds and show who's boss. He moved up past Lance on GC and showed he was going to fight for this tour.
In a high mountain stage we saw Cadel Evans attack from the gun in attempt to regain some lost time. The bid was unsuccessful but it was great he had a go. The winner was Luis Leon Sanchez who had attacked from the gun and had held on to win the stage.
In another high mountain stage with the Tourmalet 70km from the finish it looked like another break would succeed this time a two man break held off the pack with the Frenchman Fredrigo oust sprinting Pellizotti at the end of a long day.
Next week we mainly have transition stages so expect to see a lot of Cav. We will have to wait until stage 15 for more action in the alps.