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Stage 16 Open Thread!

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I finally managed to watch the Alpe... at a bar the next town over. No OLN on at the house, alas, though at least I got someone to tivo it for me for the weekend. Could be worse. Almost was.

Anyway, the conservative nature of today's stage gets again to my point about the backloaded Tour. Didn't we all sit around last year imagining the next tour, finally freed from Lance's iron grip, as a wide-open shootout on the roads of France? And still, more chess.

Yet you can't blame the riders. Not with today's stage looming: a 42km climb (not a typo) over the Galibier, then another 22km over the Croix de Fer at 7% -- both hors categoire monsters. The col du Mollard is a relative speed bump, and finally the ride up to La Toussuire, 6% but for another 18km.

This is a hard, hard day in the saddle, and it will be interesting to see if the gaps really open among the contenders early on. Not typical, but not out of the question on this day. OLN kicks off at 3:30am Pacific. See you soon.