The peloton was back in full-speed mode today with another crazed first hour flurry of attacks. Saxo Bank were put to hard work all day and it must have put smile to Alberto Contador's face to see them slave away in the intense heat.
On the attack
Joaquin Rodriguez. As most eyes were focused on the battle for seconds between Contador and Schleck it shouldn't be forgotten how the little Katusha climber added a second GT stagewin to his palmáres. No one else can claim to own these short super-steep climbs like Rodriguez, twice he has won on the Montelupone in Tirreno-Adriatico,which is very similar to the Mende climb. Surely it is only a matter of time before he adds a win on the Mur de Huy (Fleche Wallone) to the list as well. There are few better things in cycling than watching the pure specialists do what they do best. I don't think today's attack came as a surprise to anyone and yet the others are more or less helpless to do anything about it. Good stuff.
Off the back
Tyler Farrar. DNF-ing today just underlines that this whole Tour has basically been a nightmare for the american sprinter. Far from becoming the major breakthrough that he and his team hoped for, it has been instead become a string of disappointments. The Prologue was excellent but then it went downhill from there. Crash in the first sprint when he was in an excellent (Cav-Free) situation, followed by hitting the deck in a bad way on the road to Spa. When you spend time crying by the roadside that is usually not a good sign for the days to come so all credit to Farrar for sticking in there as far as this but quite obviously he wasn't getting much out of the race in the state he was in. Presumably he will now re-focus his season on the build-up to the World Championships. Unless he can pick up some wins on the way there he won't be going with as solid a confidence as he otherwise might though.
"Wasn't there talk of accidents being the result of karma? What have you done Monsieur Jonathan?"