An excellent race this morning, at least in the last 20km. It's a bit odd that there was so little effort at a serious early break... maybe that's just too much work with Liege coming up. Anyway...
- Davide Rebellin won a nervy, smart race today. You could argue he got lucky when the race came back together in the last 3km, through no real effort of his or his team. Fair enough. But he also knew he himself had to limit his aggressiveness with the White Jersey on his back making him a/the prime target. He did so, and was in ideal shape for a truly easy win. Well, as easy as anything involving patches of 19% grade can be.
- Alejandro Valverde was the big loser today, though I really don't blame him. Had the pack failed to chase, he would have had all the tactics playing in his favor. But in retrospect, he couldn't hold Rebellin's wheel in the last 700 meters of the Mur, so maybe bridging the gap to the DiLuca escape wasted precious energy. Or maybe not -- given Tintin's form, second may have been Valverde's best bet regardless.
- Danilo DiLuca won the most fans with his animated racing today, and it seems less likely he lost out through his aggressiveness. He was exceptionally strong today, or maybe just determined... at times it seemed like he was suffering, before launching another attack. Anyway, I guess there's an argument that he was so good he could have won in a pack race, but IMHO if he sat around watching his rivals, he wouldn't have likely beaten Rebellin or Valverde. So he gambled, didn't win, but didn't likely lose anything either.
- Nice attack by Matty Kessler, who has some history here. Kessler forced the final selection on the Mur, presumably going too early because he didn't fancy his chances in the final sprint. Also good work from two kids, Thomas Dekker and Andy Schleck, with nice turns at the front. It's hard to say what happened to the other big names, Bettini, Sanchez, etc., presumably they had issues, or are saving it for Sunday.
Thoughts?? Any other awards to hand out today??