Second, the final top 10:
1. Valverde 2. Evans 16"
3. Contador 1' 18" 4. Gesink 2'41"
5.Astarloza 3'40" 6. Fuglsang 4'08"
7. Nibali 4'21" 8.Zubeldia 5'05"
9. Millar 5'28" 10. Le Mevel 6' 19"
So, in the end, what do we leave this race with?
1) Alejandro Valverde. If this is his last race then he leaves as a champion. His attack on Mt Ventoux was classic. He then defended against repeated Cadel Evans' attacks. Chapeau Alejandro!
2. Cadel Evans: Physical abilities 10 out of 10. Mental abilities 6 out of 10. Cadel's physical form looked better than any other rider in this race. That of course begs a couple of questions. First, and we'll be hearing this for a few weeks now, is he peaking too soon? My guess is no: he's shown the last two years that he can put in a hard Dauphine and follow it up with a hard TdF.
The next question is has he learned how to beat the other best riders in the world? The answer looks equally clear: no. Yeah, I know that folks loved how he attacked Valverde the last two days. I agree it was fun to watch. But it was ineffective and in the end that's what matters. First he worried about the wrong riders up Mt Ventoux- not only Contador but also Gesink and Fuglsang-and lost his lead. Second he just could not figure out how to shake Valverde and Contador on any climbs. Considering that Contador didn't look in top form, that's got to be concerning for Cadel.
On the plus side, Cadel has a possibly decent team with him now. No they aren't Saxo or Astana or Rabobank or Liquigas but one can imagine Cadel getting a little help in the upcoming Tour.
3. Alberto Contador: politician? First lets all realize that Contador did what he said he was gonna do: not ride for the GC. No sandbagging. He was here to ride into shape, and that he did. But second, and maybe just as important, he did crucial domestique work for Valverde, and Al appreciated it; I'm sure Valverde's teammates appreciated it too. Come Tour time, with Caisse d'Epargne no longer having a real GC threat, Contador will feel good about asking them for occasional and possibly crucial help. Nice to have two teams working for you.
4. Jakob Fuglsang- newest relevation. Yet another kid who looks to have serious GC hopes over the next few years. Saxo is reloading. Hopefully this kid will lead them in the Vuelta if Andy Schleck doesn't race there?
5. Great course this year, no?
Now on the Suisse.. Ster Elektrotoer... national champiuonships,, and the Tour. And remember... Savant! loves you!