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TdF 2008 - The Alps

23 Jul 2008

Climbing up Prato Nevoso (11.4 km at 6.9%) the most brilliant seemed to be Denis Menchov, who tried to attack several times, crashed down in a wet corner, caught up with the leaders too quickly, attacked again 3-4 times, but in the end had to pay the price for the adrenaline rush, losing 20" in the final 500m, evidently in a hypoglycemic black-out.  

The quickest on the climb are the amazing young austrian Kohl and Carlos Sastre: 1640 m/h was their VAM.

The following day Stefan Schumacher showed an impressive athletic performance, with a long solitary breakaway, climbing the Col de la Lombarde (21 km at 7%) at 1545 m/h, and being able to resist until 2 km from the top of the successive Col de la Bonnette (26km at 6.2%).

Team CSC dominated the race with a clear superiority over the other teams: both Evans and Manchov are always too lonely in the crucial moments, while Rijs' team is always present with at least 3 riders, Sastre and the two Schleck brothers.

In today's stage Fabian Cancellara made the selection on the Croix de Fer (29 km at 5.2%): when finally he moved from the lead at 5km from the top, there were only 20 riders left in the main group.
He would eventually get back in that group in the following descent in order to fiercely pull until the beginning of the Alpe d' Huez.

After just 1km of the legendary climb, Carlos Sastre waves goodbye to everyone, impressively winning with over 2 minutes on the group of the best riders. 
39'40" was his time on the ascent, equal to 1720m/h.

A very open match still for the podium in Paris; the time trial will be decisive, but watch out for tomorrow's stage. In St. Etienne, Claudio Chiappucci lost the Tour back in 1990. 

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