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The Big Mini-Shakeup

If anyone is shocked by CSC's stage win today, they haven't been following the sport too closely in the last few months/years. Discovery were comfortable favorites after nearly owning the event the last few July's, but CSC have been on the brink (including a two-second loss to Disco last July when Zabriskie touched the floor), and in a short, flat course, victory was well within reach.

If anyone was shocked by T-Mobile's near-win, perhaps they've been following the sport a little too closely in recent days. Sure, their season has been chaotic and their leader predictably behind schedule, but this too is a squad that's been hot on Discovery's heels in the Tour TTTs (3rd and 4th the last two), and has added world time trial champion Michael Rogers to the fold. And if Ullrich is a few pounds away from being who he's been -- the most decorated time trialler in attendance -- well, take it from me, on short, flat courses those pounds don't matter too much.

What was shocking was Discovery's demise. Given the nature of the course, 39 seconds speaks loud. They had accomplished time triallers in attendance, as well as vets of the tour TTT squads... not Lance and Hincapie, but no slouches either. Ultimately, they -- not the lesser teams -- are the biggest beneficiaries of this easy course. Had this been a hard 55km, they might really have something to cry about.

As it stands, Savoldelli is still in position to regain the maglia rosa in the ITT next week, if Rogers loses time to Lanciano -- not a certainty. Before then, perhaps we'll see Olaf Pollack in pink, if there are sprint bonuses to be had worth more than ten seconds. The time differentials from today all pale in comparison to what can happen in a 50km ITT or any one of the infinite super-steep climbs the following week. Still, Discovery's only hope for Savoldelli surviving this murderous parcours in pink depended on taking time wherever he can, and losing nearly 40 seconds to Basso today is a blow.