Today is the first rest day at the Tour. What do the riders do on the rest day? These guys are professionals and each rider does what works for them. Some guys will actually ride up to four hours, believing that if they don't they will have stale legs. Others will spend as much time off the bike as possible, trying to send all their body's energy to help heal first-week road rash.
At last year's Team Phonak celebration party in Paris, Floyd Landis told me that the hardest he rode during the entire Tour was 470 watts for 10 minutes during the second rest day. He also mentioned, three days before he tested positive, that his numbers on the now infamous Stage 17 were nothing special, just like a normal training day in the mountains. But I digress.
The affable Chris Horner spent his second rest day in the 2006 Tour in a much different manner than Floyd. Horner, whose job it was to look after favorite Cadel Evans in the mountains rode poorly in the Pyrenees. His attempt at recovery for the Alps was to spend the second rest day lying in bed eating pizza and hamburgers and watching pay-per-view movies! Chris rode well in support of Evans in the Alps. Junk food might just be the ticket!
Switching gears, it was a "Tale of Two Teams" on the final climb to Tignes yesterday. Astana finally revealed that all their eggs are in the Vinokourov basket as they sent Andres Kloden back to help the struggling Kazakh on the ascent to Tignes. Kloden has twice been on the Tour podium (2004, 2006) while Vino only once (2003). But don't forget that the primary sponsor is a Kazakh energy concern. Sometimes (well, probably always!) you gotta make the sponsor happy.
I am still trying to figure out what our homies at Discovery Channel were doing on the final climb. At the pre-Tour press conference, I got Johan Bruyneel to admit that all the Disco eggs were not in the Leipheimier basket. You can't fault Johan. Discovery Channel is a U.S. company and it would be great for an American to be on the podium or even win. If everything goes well, Levi is clearly capable of doing just that, but it doesn't hurt to have a Plan B. With Michael Rassmussen five minutes up the road, I can't believe that Contador was going for the stage win. When he left the Leiphemier group it was probably to make sure he was in contention for the young rider (white) jersey. Hmm.
Anybody else got a theory on why Discovery split their forces at such a crucial time during the stage?
ps - best of luck to Rob and Marty at the Etape du Tour!