The fallout from yesterday team time trial is still being felt among the teams with contenders for the yellow jersey. Clearly, Team Astana is in the drivers seat while hopefulls such as Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto), Carlos Sastre(Cervelo Test Team) and the Schleck brothers(Saxo Bank) have some catching up to do.
This morning at the stage start in Le Cap d'Agde I talked with a number of riders about the team trial and what the results mean for the days ahead.
Yaraslov Popovych was a key player in Team Astana's victory. He described the course and the resulting team strategy. "It was hard because it was a very difficult course. The road was really small. We had only one object, to not crash. We wanted to win, but we wanted to save the team for the next two weeks."
Lance Armstrong signaled out Popovych and Andreas Kloden as the two strong men during the ride. What was Popovych's reaction to the praise. "Everybody pulled very well. Alberto was good, everybody was good. This is a really strong team."
Cadel Evans and his Silence Lotto squad had a disastrous race. They waited for several of their stronger riders when one got dropped and the other flatted, but both came off, for good, soon after. In the end they ceded over two minutes to Lance and Alberto which does not bode well. I have a lot of time to make up on the guys from Astana. As far as a podium place goes I am really going to have to work at it."
When asked if he found the course difficult, Cadel replied "it wasn't hard for me. Just for my teammates."
Cadel's teammate, Charly Wegelius had a bit of a different take on yesterday's events. "First I have to say that considering everything that happened to us in the race yesterday the team performed quite well despite a lot of misfortune. The course was highly technical with corners that you didn't see very well how they were going to finish up. If you add into that the stress and the pressure of riding a team time trial at the Tour it was quite an explosive combination."
"If you look at the general classification we are not alone. We will be looking for opportunities to make up some time. Maybe there will be other teams who want to make movements with us, too," added Wegelius.
Cervelo Test Team rider Hayden Roulston, teammate of Carlos Sastre, echoed Wegelius' comments on what lies ahead. "I think it is going to be a very interesting race now. A lot of guys who are two minutes down are contenders so who knows what is going to happen. It might have just opened a whole new can of worms."
Frenchman Thomas Voeckler pulled a bit of an upset by winning solo into Perpignan on a stage that most thought would end in another sprint finish. Voeckler was part of a small breakaway group that had been off the front for most of the race. Columbia-HCT and Garmin contributed to the chase and things looked good for another bunch finish when Voeckler attacked his companions and while the peloton caught his breakaway mates, they didn't catch him. Sometimes persistence pays off and things don't go according to form.
I got to play technical service rep at the start. I am shooting small video clips for Saris Cycling (www.saris.com), the people who bring you Power Tap power meters. I was shooting a video with Cadel Evans when, afterwards, he remarked that his Power Tap wasn't working at the moment. He asked me, since I was working for Saris, to fix it and that I did.