Friday, July 10, 2009

TDF 2009: Stage 6: Push to the Base of Arcalis

Well the nine lead riders are still away from the main peleton by more than 12 minutes, but it's before the base of the Andorre Arcalis, the toughest climb of this stage which is hors categorie, that things will get interesting.

The big riders of the Tour will be fighting it out to be in front when they reach the base of the biggest climb at about 155.5 km into the race, with about 69.5 km to go.

Team Astana has been setting the pace at the front, and in many cases, that equates to doing most of the work, while Yellow Jersey Fabian Cancellara's Saxo Bank team has been sitting the stage out.

You can be sure when the peleton reaches the base, or even before, there will be an attempt by one of the big teams, possibly Astana to break from the peleton to start the climb ahead of the others.

At that point the nine leaders ahead of the peleton will be in a dangerous position as the followers step up the pace to the end.

The race is winding its way through some of the most beautiful scenery of Catalonia, with large, bare rocks topped with tufts of greenery, followed by large verdant squares of fields set amid red ceramic headed buildings.

Check out this webcam of the mountain with all the fans waiting for the riders to come up!

The Andorras were under the rule of a co-principality for 715 years, from 1278 to 1993, At once ruled by both the French chief of state and the Spanish bishop of Urgel, in 1993 the government was converted to a parliamentary democracy. Now the area thrives on tourism particularly in the winter when Andorra Arcalis provides skiing for many Europeans.

With 23 miles to go, experts predict that the breakaway is too far away --more than 12 minutes--for the peleton to catch up before the finish. So the Yellow Jersey may pass to one of the nine lead riders.

And now at 17 km to go, two riders have crashed, Levi Leipheimer and Mark Cavendish.

The experts are predicting that Nocentini (ALM) who is in the front of the breakaway, will win this stage, but it is still not totally clear, as the break has only 6 minutes over the peleton and they are catching up quickly, with only one half hour to go.

Auge (COF), Millar (GRM) and Hushovd (CTT) have been dropped by the peloton on the approach to the final climb.

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