Thursday, July 15, 2010

TDF 2010: Stage 11 Preview: Sisteron to Bourg les Valence

This will be a varied stage with a 3 category climb about one third of the way in followed by a mostly downhill profile to Bourg les Valence. Spanning 184.5 km and starting in Sisteron, and traveling through a white wine producing region, this stage promises a very fast finish.

Several sprinters will be looking to win this stage. Thor Hushovd will be looking to cinch his title as Green Jersey winner. Currently he is only 7 points ahead of Alessandro Petacchi with 138 points, while the winner of stages one and four Petacchi has 131points. McEwen has 116 points while Rojas (GCE) has 98 and Cavendish has 97.

But who can discount Mark Cavendish of HTC Columbia? He has held on till now through the Alps, and he will want more points and the glory of the win. Because of the rivalry among the sprinters, and the lack of good sprinter stages in this tour, you can be sure the general classification leaders Schleck, Contador et al, will be taking it easy and trying to avoid crashes.

Robbie Hunter, sprinter for Garmin Transitions crashed yesterday and is out of the race with a fractured radial head of his right arm, according to Letour.fr. 

Versus is pumping Levi Leipheimer as a possible podium finisher at the Tour. Yesterday they had several re-runs of Jens Voight's epic crash last year on the descent to Bourg Saint Maurice in last year's Tour. It was one of the scariest crashes in racing that didn't end in a fatality, and one very short video shot shows Voight in the hospital with stitches all over his body. A sobering wake-up to the dangers inherent in bike racing.

The town of Bourg les Valence is home to a cartoon making facility, Rhône-Alpes region Image Centre, and is bordered by the Rhone River.

They are also the first town in the Drome area to make electric bicycles available to its residents.

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