Thursday, July 09, 2009

TDF 2009 Stage 6: Girona to Barcelona

Today's stage moves the Tour de France to Spain, starting in Girona and on to Barcelona, for a total of 181.5 km or 112 miles.

The riders will face numerous challenges today, not only the course which although largely flat in the first half has several category 4 and 5 climbs, and one category 3 climb in the second half, with a small climb at the finish in Barcelona.

But the weather has thrown in a curveball in the form of a driving rain. That will not only slow the field, but it will also cause numerous crashes, and possible splits. An early breakaway,
especially with some climbers could definitely succeed today.

Experts predict that the peleton will arrive together for this stage, but they were fooled yesterday, and the wild card was again, the weather--strong winds on the course.

So who could do well today? A rider who is both a sprinter and a climber could come through the mess, while the favored leaders, like Cancellara and Armstrong are likely to try and stay safe in the pack.

My bet is one of the riders who has fallen behind or not won a stage will look for a wild card possibility and take the win for today--so my bet is on one of the unknown riders--or one of the favored riders who has lost time so far in this Tour.

About Girona, it is a cycling mecca for many of the pros including Armstrong who used to live here.

Check out Armstrong's video with Ben Stiller before the Team Time trial in Stage 4--as well as the comments that follow.

Barcelona is one of the most exciting cities of the world, and certain to be a great place for teams and fans to spend a couple of days. It's the home to many of Antonio Gaudi's architecture and beautifully decorated benches, stairways, and buildings.

Three riders have dropped out of the tour due to accidents and bone breaks.

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