I can't very well picture in my mind places I haven't been to, but for anyone who lives in Seattle the fact that Mt. Ventoux is nicknamed "le geant de Provence" helps form a nice mental image. Here we are ringed in mountains, more or less, but scan the skyline on a clear day and you'll realize in about two seconds why Mt. Rainier is The Mountain.
Fortunately, there are no roads to the summit of Rainier.
Anyway, however intermediate the Dauphine Libere may be in the Cycling calendar, there's no way to have a stage to Mt. Ventoux without a real race ensuing, and that's exactly what we had. It will be interesting to see if we can divine from the post-race comments whether guys who finished, say, nine minutes down were really testing their form or not... at this point people are getting pretty squirrelly about discussing their real condition, plans, etc. What we can say is that the leading quartet were going for it, and made for a spectacular stage.
Leipheimer's last km makes me think he's not in his peak yet, which is good for him, while Menchov and Moreau both looked terrific... a month before things get busy in the Tour. Ah well, they gave us a great finish, with biggest ups to Moreau for digging waaaay deep to come back and nearly nab the stage. Leipheimer clearly used the day to test his legs, and by relative standards I suppose they passed. But it's still too early to read much into that, given the possum games of some of the favorites and the absence of at least two others.
As of this writing Pez is first out of the gate with anything resembling analysis. CN just has results, while VN doesn't say anything you didn't already know. Eurosport hears from a chiagrined Dr. Moreau.