Saturday, July 11, 2009

TdF stage 8: tactics

Stage 8 of the Tour de France was a good lesson in tactics. It was a mountain stage, but since the last climb was followed by 30 miles of downhill and flatlands, the major contenders mostly stayed together while someone from the breakaway won the stage (a Spaniard named Luis León Sánchez).

Stage winner Luis León Sánchez

You may have thought that Team Astana wanted the yellow jersey. It turned out today, however, that Team Astana thought it wise to save their energy by helping the current race leader to keep his maillot jaune. Since the team that has the yellow jersey is under more pressure to defend it, Astana wanted to wait for later. Of course, to some riders (everyone that can't plan on winning the Tour), the yellow jersey is always a bonus-- to the team, the sponsors, and their own bank accounts. Nocentini then obviously wanted to keep the jersey, but was unable to keep up the whole time, thanks to team Saxo Bank, which put pressure on Astana by putting favorites up the road. Astana had to chase to avoid losing time, but they sent one rider back to Nocentini to help him get over the climb. (I've never seen this before.) In the end, Nocentini keeps the jersey, and the general classification changed little.

Tomorrow's stage is quite similar to today's. It may or may not see some more change in the general classification.

Sprinters can win the sprinters' classification by amassing points in various parts of a stage. Cavendish (winner of 2 stages this year) couldn't keep up on the climbs, and lost his lead. Hushovd got in a breakaway and scored some more points, so he now leads in the race for the green jersey.


  1. I think tomorrow we will see some changes. I think other teams will test Astana's cooperation to see if they can cause a rift in the team. It maybe that one or more of Astana's members may once again need to prove a point.

  2. Well Daniel knows his cycling. Everyone staying safe. Tomorrow a rest day, then flat for several days.