We've all heard about the battle for the yellow jersey and the third step on the podium, but another race that is very interesting to me right now is the race for the last 2 spots in the top ten. Garmin showed yesterday that they are very serious about defending Ryders 10th place (how else are they going to sell these shirts?). But the difference between 9th and 15th is 1:50, and all of these guys have something to fight for.
Details on the flip...
|9||Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana||0:07:12|
|10||Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Transitions||0:07:51|
|11||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo||0:07:58|
|12||Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne||0:08:02|
|13||Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne||0:08:19|
|14||Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack||0:08:52|
|15||Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team||0:09:02
I'll go through them in order:
Vino: duh, he always has something to fight for, but if he has to work for Bert tomorrow, then he could loose some time.
Ryder: H'es shown this year that he is the CVV/Wiggo of this year. Powerful TT and knows his limits on the climbs. Those limits are well below those of Schleck/Bert, but he's been finishing aronud the same time if not above the others in this list.
Kreuziger: Now that Basso is ill, Liquigas have exactly one hope for a strong GC finish...and he hasn't been impressing many this year with his climbing...but has a strong TT
Plaza/LuLu/Horner: All of these guys are fighting for the team classifications. So expect them to be very motivated.
Sastre: last I checked, tomorrows stage has a bit of climbing in it, and this guy loves to climb. And according to him, he has his eye on tomorrows stage win. I for one refuse to write him off till the climbing ends.
So who do you pick for the last two top-10 places? My picks...Ryder and Vino...but reverse their places..Vino is going to loose some time tomorrow.
Edit after stage 17
Well that clear things up a bit.
|6||Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank||0:06:41|
|7||Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha||0:07:03|
|8||Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Transitions||0:09:18|
|9||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo||0:10:12|
|10||Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack||0:10:37|
The top 10 now seem like a lock unless someone seriously explodes chicken style on Saturday (Lulu is 11th and over 2' back on Horner). The order of places 5-10 could change up a bit thought. We've got some decent, some great and some rather poor TTers in that list.
Will this list stay the same in Paris? The only one that I ould see dropping would be Gesink (sorry Chris). I don't see J-Rod getting passed by Ryder, and I don't think that Kreuz can pull out a minute on the Canadian. I guess Kreuz has been all over the place this year, and Horner is riding better than ever...btu Horner into 9th is a bit of a stretch.