Your Paul Sherwen Quote of the Day: On Astana’s plans for Andreas Klöden: “Over the last couple of days, it appears they’ve been keeping him in reserve as if they’ve been trying to keep him maybe as a protective dark-horse joker.”
‘Paging Cadel Evans’: He trailed from the very start, dangled off the end of the peloton at the top of the first climb, and finished 29:43 behind the leaders. It’s a performance reminiscent of Greg LeMond’s 1992 Tour campaign, which he abandoned. LeMond announced soon afterward that he was suffering from mitochondrial myopathy, possibly related to his 1987 hunting accident. Evans started raising questions about his own health after losing more than 3 minutes on Stage 16. He reported via Twitter, “I don’t know what is the matter with me at this #tdf, obviously I’m not at my usual level. I’m going to a Doc now :o(.” (Yes, with emoticon.) No word on what the doctor might have told him. On his finish today, Evans writes: “My first gruppetto in the #tdf ever. It was… fun actually. Strange talking to Aussie’s while riding, normally have everything to loose!”
The Ox from Grimstad: Thor Hushovd turned in a stunning ride today. The massive, Norwegian, annoyingly nicknamed “God of Thunder” hauled himself across today’s climbs with enough alacrity to beat Evans across the line. Early on, he stayed close enough to dominated the front to win two intermediate sprints and pick up 12 points in the green jersey sprint competition. His nemesis, Mark Cavendish, was nowhere near the front and took zip today; he now trails Hushovd by 30 points — 230 to 200. While being no match for Cavendish in a two-up sprint, Hushovd looks like he’s locked up the green by having a more effective all-around game.
Liggett & Sherwen, Stained Jerseys, and Biscuits: Watching Thor Hushovd go over the second col of the day ahead of all the climbers:
Phil: This rider is still stinging from the words of Mark Cavendish, saying ‘there will always been a stain on your green jersey because you took if from me on a protest down in Besancon, and I wonder if that’s inspired Thor Hushovd today to go out, beat the climbers, win six points, and probably the green jersey with it.
Paul: You could probably say that he’s taking that green jersey to the laundry, Phil, to get rid of that stain this afternoon, because if he can get himself 12 points on a mountain stage, that really does take the biscuit, because this is a very brave move by a man who probably weighs in 10 or 15 kilos more than the guys in the group behind him, the climbers. He weighs in at 80 kilos … which is … I’m not sure … you can do the calculation … multiply by 2.2.
Phil: I will, yeah, when I’ve got time. It’s a lot.